Have you ever wondered, “Is my child saved?” All Christian parents want to know that their children are saved and on their way to heaven. But, in trying to determine our children’s spiritual states, we need to look at more than our children’s outward actions. Here are some things to keep in mind as you consider whether or not your child is saved:
1. Can your child articulate the gospel?
In Romans 10:9 Paul explains that confession of the gospel is necessary for salvation. We see in other texts that conversion can be boiled down to repentance and faith (Acts 20:21). An understanding of these two components is essential for salvation.
Here are some questions you may want to ask your children: “What is repentance?” “Who do we need to repent to? What do we need to repent of?” Our children need to be able to understand that it is their sin and their sinful state that has placed them under condemnation from God.
Don’t let the “right” words hang you up. You simply want to know if they understand the concept of repentance before God. They may only be able to articulate it in simple ways, for example, “I know that God is not happy with me because of my sin and I want to do better and please Him.”
You also want to ask them about the object of their faith. You could ask your child, “Who saves you from your sin?” or “How can you have a right relationship with God?” Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Our children need to identify Christ as the sole means of salvation. No other person and no work of theirs can allow them to have a right relationship with God, only Christ.
2. Is your child bearing fruit?
Jesus said in Matthew 7:18-20, “A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” By looking at their character and life, a parent should be able to see certain evidences that their children are Spirit-filled, producing fruit (Gal 5:22-23). Here are some possible ways you may notice change in your child:
- Are they more willing to obey even when they don’t want to?
- Do they respond with kindness to a sibling or friend when they normally would not have?
- Do they have a growing thirst to know God?
Compare the way they are living with the fruits that the Spirit produces.
3. Does your child have a conviction of sin — not just guilt?
Conviction of sin is another evidence that the Spirit of God is at work in your child’s life. Scripture makes it clear that the Spirit of God convicts the hearts of men (John 16:8-11). Conviction of sin means that your child recognizes who it is he has offended and what it is that he has done to offend God. When your children disobey you, do they see that they have sinned against God too? Are they convicted when they wrong a friend or hurt their sibling? Do they recognize other sins in their lives (e.g. pride, anger, selfishness, etc.)?
When the Spirit is at work in their lives, they will begin to see that the wrong they do doesn’t just make Dad and Mom sad, but it is also sin against God.
These are a few marks of a genuine believer. I wish I could provide you with a guaranteed test that would let you know if your children are saved, but I can’t. God causes our uncertainty over our children’s salvation to keep us dependent on Him. We must leave their spiritual condition in the hands of the all-wise, all-powerful, all-good, and loving God of the universe as we faithfully disciple our children and point them to Christ.
This guest post was written by Luke Bylsma, who serves as assistant pastor at Lakeshore Baptist Church in Grand Haven, Michigan. He and his amazing wife, Karin, have two children. You can follow Luke at The Pastor’s Blog.
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