Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Faith of a Child, Chapter 2- What God Says About Children and Salvation

First, the Bible teaches us that children are a gift from the Lord. Psalm 127:3 states that “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him.” I know there are times when our children try to try our souls, but they are our most precious resource to be cherished and loved with all our heart. They deserve our love and devotion in raising them up to be people of God. Don’t ever believe the lie of Satan that you would be better off without your children. God says they are valuable and a prize of His favor upon you (Psalm 127:3-5).

Our children are easily influenced and directed (30). Jesus recognized this as He would welcome them to come and rebuked the disciples for hindering their coming to listen in to what He was teaching (Luke 18:16). In fact He compared the Kingdom of Heaven to children because they simply believe and trust. We as parents have a shot at developing our children in their faith while they are young, before the peer and ungodly influences of the world get their skeptical worldview in upon them to sway and take away true faith. Make the most of your opportunity. Your days are numbered with your young ones. They grow up fast and you want them to establish their faith at an impressionable age. Train them up right and the proverb says that when they are old they will not depart (Proverbs 22:6).

Children are responsive and sensitive to the things of God (31). He is near their humble hearts. Children are teachable, dependent, obedient, trusting, faithful, absorbent, accepting, loyal, and submissive at a tender age (31). It is at this time in their lives that they can be easily led and influenced for God. This means that we as parents must be careful to teach, model, and discipline our children in God’s Holy Word even if it is demanding of our time and energy. Jesus indeed took time with children (Mark 10:16). He took the children in His arms and nourished them with a blessing. They were valuable to Him (32). It was Christ’s warning that we are not to hinder young children in any way (Matthew 18:6). If we acknowledge the value of young children and encourage and teach them from the time they are infants, they will be drawn to the Savior (33).

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, “4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

Notice here that verse seven says to “impress” these commands on our children. Winning your children to Christ begins at home! God expects and even commands that diligent action be taken to instruct your children in the ways of the Lord. Don’t count on church, a Christian school, or some religious media to train your child. You have the God ordained responsibility first and foremost to evangelize your children.

Now we must consider what the Bible says about the age of salvation. The Bible is plain that we are sinful from birth (Psalm 51:5). Even King David, who was a man after God’s own heart, could make this claim, so it would be unwise for us to think that our children are angels with a good nature. This is contrary to sound biblical teaching and our own experience when we think about it. But, God has a plan and is at work drawing them back to His side right from the beginning. One may ask, “When infants and young children die, do they go to Heaven?” 2 Samuel 12:23 gives us the best support from Scripture to say yes, indeed, they do go to Heaven. In this passage David has lost his infant son and came to peace with it because he knew that one day he would “go to” his son. This gives us indication that God receives young ones into His presence in what can be termed “an age of grace.” They will eventually reach “an age of accountability,” when they will be able to either accept or reject God’s plan of salvation of their own volition. Therefore, when children are old enough and start recognizing their sin and the things they do wrong before God and man, they need to be taught that these sins have consequences before a holy and just God. It is at this point that the plan of salvation can be presented to give them an opportunity to make a free choice on their own in favor of faith in Christ Jesus. We as parents must be careful not to force this issue, but children can be saved.

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