Acts 2:38 is a verse I have heard quoted thousands and thousands of times in my lifetime. “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (NIV) When I place this scripture beside all of the conversion accounts in the New Testament and the meaning of the original Greek word for baptism, two things become clear. Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins is clearly a command and the person who is baptized must understand and be capable of repenting.
In Christian circles, the age when a person is capable of understanding sin and repenting of it so they can be baptized for the remission of their sins has become known as the “age of accountability”. Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t give us a specific age when this accountability kicks in, although it does tell us it exists.
Recently, I found the most interesting scripture while I was reading my Bible. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.” (Isaiah 7:14-16 NIV Emphasis mine.)
Clearly this is a prophecy about Jesus, the coming Messiah. What to me is really interesting is the part I italicized. Evidently, even Jesus had a point in his childhood when he did not know enough “to reject the wrong and choose the right”. In fact the verses go on to imply, Jesus reached that age earlier than most (if not all) because he was still eating curds and honey when he reached that “age of accountability”.