Children And Salvation
Children have many great characteristics that enable them to readily gravitate towards God. Most important is their inclination to readily believe. When it comes to salvation, a child’s heart is a fertile field to believe in and receive Jesus as their Savior. When we simplify the theology of salvation, even the littlest child will accept it. No wonder, Jesus said, “The truth is, you must change your thinking and become like little children. If you don’t do this, you will never enter God’s kingdom1.”
When we think of it, belief is the only prerequisite to salvation. Simply stated, believe in Jesus to be saved2. The children may not fully grasp the concept of sin or the theology behind the sacrifice of Jesus to be saved, and they do not have to. There is nowhere it says in the Bible that we need to understand the gospel to be saved. Most adult who are new believers cannot articulate the gospel of Jesus because they do not fully comprehend it; so why do we expect that of children?
Because of erroneous assumption that one must understand the gospel to believe it, many children are ignored in, and even discouraged from, taking the step of faith to be saved. And when we see the same children say the prayer of salvation repeatedly, we then conclude that children do not understand enough to be saved.
However, our duty is to share the gospel with everyone—adult and children. Age should not be a barrier. In sharing the gospel with children, we need to simplify it as the good news about Jesus. The younger the children, the simpler it must be. It is important that you pray and trust the Holy Spirit to guide you in sharing the good news about Jesus with the children. The truth of the matter is, regardless of one’s age, it is the Holy Spirit who grants conviction to the heart3.
The Good News About Jesus Tract4
The Good News About Jesus Tract articulates the gospel in a simple way to be shared with children. The text in the tract are in bold, and the explanation are provided. The good news about Jesus is based on God’s Word5, so Bible references are given. When you are sharing the good news about Jesus with the children, make sure to personalize it to them. In sharing the good news about Jesus with children, it is important to emphasis that salvation is not the end, but the beginning of bringing them into a living relationship with God. Hence the phrase: to be saved from your sins to live for God.
The good news about Jesus is for you to believe in Jesus to be saved from your sins to live for God.
This sentence is an age-appropriate definition of the gospel of Jesus in a nutshell. It summarizes the 4Rs of the good news about Jesus.
The good news of Jesus
Response: Is for you to.
Reason: To be saved from your sins.
Requirement: Believe in Jesus.
Result: To live for God.
To believe in Jesus, you need to believe these 4 things:
The central theme of salvation is faith in Jesus. Each point expands on what faith in Jesus means.
#1—God loves you and sent Jesus for you to save you from your sins to live for Him6.
The love of God is the foundation of the good news about Jesus. And this love is expressed by God sending Jesus for us to save us from our sins to live for Him. Everyone desires love. Children’s understanding of love is usually equated to what they are given. To the child: “My mummy loves me because she bought me a toy.” In telling children that God loves them, it must be tied to the fact that God sent Jesus for them—to save them from their sins to live for Him. As Romans 4:2 states, it is God’s goodness that leads people to repentance.
#2—You are a sinner7, separated by your sins from God and unable to live for Him8.
Many times, we throw around the words “be saved” without letting the child know from what. We are saved from our sins. We should not be afraid to state the truth of God’s Word no matter how unpleasant it sounds. The truth is that everyone is a sinner because God’s Word says that “all have sinned9” and “no one is righteous.10” We are sinners because we inherited the Adamic, sinful nature; and not because we do bad things. The right order is that we sin because we are sinner; not that we are sinners because we sin. God’s Word says that the wages of sin is death11, (or spiritual separation from God). The result of sin is separation from God and being unable to live for Him.
#3—Jesus died to save you from your sins12 and God raised Jesus from the dead for you to live for Him13.
The death and resurrection of Jesus are the very essence of the gospel. And both must be presented jointly in sharing the good news about Jesus with the children. Jesus had to die to take away their sins. Being saved from sin is not the complete result of salvation. That is why God raised Jesus from the dead so that they can live for God.
#4—You must believe in Him to be saved from your sins to live for God2.
While it is good for the children to know the above three points, they need to apply the knowledge. This tells them their own part in receiving their salvation.
God’s Word says: We believe in Jesus deep in our hearts… And we openly say that we believe in him, and so we are saved Romans 10:10 (ERV).
This Scripture tells them how to believe in Jesus – with their hearts and mouths. The Believe in Jesus prayer that they will be saying with their mouths must be based on what they believe in their hearts about Jesus to be saved. If possible, “read” this Scripture from a Bible to give a visual.
The fourth point and Scripture verse serve four purposes:
1. As a bridge: sin separates from God and unable to live for Him -> believe in Jesus -> saved from sin to live for God.
2. Demand a positive response.
3. Ground the response in God’s Word.
4. Tell how to believe in Jesus.
If you want to believe in Jesus to be saved from your sins to live for God, then say openly with your mouth the Believe in Jesus prayer to God and truly believe it in your heart.
Soliciting an immediate response from the children is necessary. Unlike adults, most children are not thinkers, they are doers. Their attention span is limited. Most children will respond positively to the invitation. This should not be belittled or discouraged because it is the work of the Holy Spirit. However, there will be children who are hesitant or will not respond. That is okay as well, you should not force any child.
Believe in Jesus prayer
Dear God, I believe that You love me and sent Jesus for me to save me from my sins to live for You. I believe that I am a sinner, separated by my sins from You and unable to live for You. I believe that Jesus died to save me from my sins, and You raised Him from the dead for me to live for You. According to Your Word, with all my heart, I say openly that I believe in Jesus to be saved from my sins to live for You. Thank you, God, for saving me from my sins to live for You because I now believe in Jesus. Amen.
This Believe in Jesus prayer is the personalization of the good news points. You may ask the children to repeat the prayer after you. If possible, lead the children to Christ one-to-one.
Assurance of Salvation
"Anyone who calls on the Lord will be saved" – Romans 10:13 (NCV).
God’s Word promises that any person, which is you, who believes in Jesus will be saved from their sins to live for Him. And this was what you just did when you said the Believe in Jesus prayer. Now that you believe in Jesus, you are saved from your sins to live for God because God says so in His Word.
After the prayer, it is our responsibility to use God’s Word to ground them in their faith. You can ask the children to tell you what just happened to them. This is particularly important as the conclusion to sharing the good news about Jesus with children. Not every child will be able to articulate properly what just happened. Whatever answer a child gives you, make sure you repeat it before summarizing what just happened to them by saying, “You, (their name) now believe in Jesus to be saved from your sins to live for God. And because you believe in Jesus, you are saved from your sins to live for God because God says so in His Word.”
Below are Scriptures to share with them to assure them of their salvation:
· And the Spirit Himself speaks to our spirits and makes us sure that we are God’s children—Romans 8:16 (ERV).
· My Father is the One who gave them to Me, and He is greater than all. No one can steal My sheep out of His hand—John 10:29 (ERV).
· Whoever has the Son has life, but whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write this letter to you who believe in the Son of God. I write so that you will know that you have eternal life now—1John 5:12-13 (ERV).
· I assure you, anyone who hears what I say and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life. They will not be judged guilty. They have already left death and have entered into life—John 5:24 (ERV).
· I can assure you that anyone who believes has eternal life—John 6:47 (ERV).
· Yes, I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love—not death, life, angels, or ruling spirits. I am sure that nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us or nothing below us—nothing in the whole created world—will ever be able to separate us from the love God has shown us in Christ Jesus our Lord—Romans 8:38-39 (ERV).
Note: Going over these Scriptures to instil assurance of salvation in the children should not be a one-time thing. After all, faith comes by hearing (continuous tense), and hearing by the Word of God—Romans 10:17 (NKJV).
I _________________ (name) believe in Jesus to be saved from my sins to live for God from today __________ (date).
It is a great affirmation for the children to record the date of their salvation. Having it in writing will help remind and assure them of their salvation.
Live for God
Now that you believe in Jesus to be saved from your sins, here is how to live for God:
As stated earlier, living for God is the result of believing in Jesus. Let the children know that they live for God every day when they know and do these things:
Know that you are a child of God and live as such.
Rely on the Holy Spirit to help you.
Read God’s Word daily and do what it says.
Talk to God often. Thank Him and ask for His help.
Show Jesus to others by what you say and do.
Tell God you are sorry anytime you do wrong.
Help others who need help.
Have friends who believe in Jesus like you do.
Meet with others at church regularly.
Encourage the children to tell their family and friends that they believe in Jesus and are saved from their sins to live for God. Keep praying for them.
1. Matthew 18:3 (ERV)
2. Acts 16:31
3. And when [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment—John 16:8 (NKJV).
4. See page 92
5. God’s Word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and the spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and our bones. It judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts—Hebrews 4:12 (ERV).
6. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life—John 3:16 (NIV).
7. When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned—Romans 5:12 (NLT).
8. It is your sins that separate you from your God. He turns away from you when he sees them—Isaiah 59:2 (ERV).
9. Romans 3:23
10. Romans 3:10
11. Romans 6:23a
12. God sent him to die in our place to take away our sins... - Romans 3:25 (NCV).
13. So, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the wonderful power of the Father, we also can live a new life—Romans 6:4 (NCV)