Part IV: Final Notes and Thoughts


Pain Killer
Super Moderator
In Romans 7, Paul makes some interesting comments related to the AoA. He says, “I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.” What does he mean, “I was alive once?” It means he was alive to God. The law had not yet condemned him. But, “when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.” When did the commandment come? What was it the caused Paul to recognize his own sinfulness before God? It is highly possible that this happened when he reached the age of twenty and now had to make atonement for his sin.

When the time came for Paul to pay his holy half-shekel, the law was there to help him examine himself. He was forced to recognize what part of the law he had transgressed and when he did this, he realized that he had been covetous. At that moment, he knew that he was a sinner and that his sin separated him from God. “For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.” (Romans 7:11) It takes a mature and developed mind to understand the law of covetousness.

Paul struggled with his sinfulness under the law. “But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.” (Romans 7:13) Once we recognize and fully appreciate our status before God as sinners, we can then cry out, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:54-25)

Can a five year-old truly comprehend what it means to be condemned by the law? He knows he will be in trouble for taking a cookie without asking, but does he understand why it’s wrong? A ten year-old might covet his neighbor’s bike, but does he have the mental capacity to realize that this is a sin? Maybe, maybe not. Thankfully, God will give these children time to grow and mature before He will hold them accountable. The problem with the idea that a young child can fully understand the message of salvation, is that the converse is also true and that he is therefore old enough to be condemned by the law.

Does a twenty-year-old AoA mean that a child is not a Christian or that he can’t have a heart for God? Absolutely not! Youngsters who are brought up in a Christian home may be very dedicated to the Lord. These are pure, innocent children who are genuine followers of Christ. Chances are very high that these children will commit their lives to Christ and will be sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Only when the executive portion of their brain has reached the capacity that God has determined to be sufficient for true understanding will He consider them old enough for condemnation and forgiveness.

On the other hand, if we foolishly assume that our children are saved because they once accepted Christ, we are doing them a terrible disservice. How many people do we know that as, a child professed Christ, only to drift away and even become enemies of God? It is much more difficult to get these individuals to return to Christ, when in the back of their minds they have been reassured of their salvation.

As responsible Christians, we need to recognize the innocence of children and take our proper role as caretakers, teachers, and disciplinarians. We need to know that this role doesn’t end when they reach the age of eight or even eighteen. In God’s eyes, they are accountable to us until they are twenty. The Bible tells us to, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) A child who is aware that his salvation is yet to come is a one who will actively prepare himself for that great and glorious day when he can enter into a mature relationship with God.