Have you ever wondered if your child is truly saved? I often have, and like all Christian parents, I desire for my children to come to a genuine, saving faith in Jesus Christ, passionately grasp the Gospel, apply its life transforming truths and bear fruit that lasts.
My heart resonates with the Apostle John when he states, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4). I am eager to hear them declare their undivided love for the Savior, and yet I have often struggled with knowing how to truthfully evaluate my child’s profession of faith. How can I know if my child has come to a saving knowledge in the Lord and is not walking in deception?
Recently after reading, “Your Child’s Profession of Faith”, by Dennis Gundersen, I received valuable insight on this matter. In a nutshell, Gundersen establishes that although some children are saved at an early age, it is generally difficult to discern true salvation in young children. It is usually during their teen years that a child’s faith (or lack thereof) begins to be revealed. Distinguishing between a child’s profession of faith is much like trying to distinguish the sex of your child at conception. It’s nearly impossible to know if the fetus is a boy or a girl until it has grown to a certain level of maturity. And then there is no mistaking the child’s sex. In the same way, a child who professes to be saved may or may not be and therefore, it is beneficial to wait until it is clear that he or she has genuine, saving faith.
Evaluating our children’s spiritual state is much like the process we use to evaluate their individual gifts and talents. For example, when my oldest son Joshua was about six years of age he expressed a desire to play the guitar. Upon his profession, I was eager for him to begin playing, but was also apprehensive being aware of the fleeting desires of children. Instead of going to Musicians Friend and ordering him a $6,000 Martin guitar, I visited our local Super K Mart, and purchased a ¾ sized acoustic guitar that cost me about thirty five bucks. After teaching Joshua three basic chords, I watched to see what he would do. Over time, he mastered the chords so I taught him three more. Although he was showing growth, it was still too early to know if my son would really be able to play the guitar. Because of his age, there were many variables I was unsure of. Will he be able to keep time and play rhythms? Does he have an ear for music? Will he grow tired and bored and move onto something else? Only after a season of growth and evaluation could I know.
For me, understanding this concept has been a tremendous encouragement! Instead of feeling the pressure to have my children make a profession of faith, I can daily instruct them to seek a living relationship with Jesus. Rather than trying to lead them in a prayer, I will continue to encourage them to come to Jesus, love God’s Word and instruct them in the Gospel. True salvation will produce a true profession of faith and it will become evident to all as he or she begins bearing fruit that accompanies their salvation.
In closing, I want to emphasize that the point is not whether a child can be saved at an early age. Rather, we are encouraged to be wise parents in our assessment of our children’s salvation so as not to falsely give them eternal hope when in reality their lives do not display enough discernable fruit to do so. I believe this approach will only serve to strengthen the church of Jesus Christ for generations to come!
Oh, and by the way . . . recently Joshua turned 13 and it is evident that he has the desire, ability and skill to grow in playing the guitar. Therefore I invested in a better instrument for him to play. And just in case you’re wondering, it wasn’t the $6000 guitar from Musicians Friend. As a matter of fact, I’m certain that he’ll never mature enough for me to buy him a guitar like that as long as he’s living under my roof!
Written by James Naisang