What Having Children Old Enough to Understand the Gospel Taught Me about the Gospel

The moment we knew of our children, we began praying for their salvation, for we know this is their greatest need. By God’s grace, He saved Hunter in summer 2020. Before then, Hunter asked lots of salvation-related questions. Even now, Isaac is beginning to ask similar ones. We’ve spoken of the Gospel to our children long before they remember. They’re maturing now, though, and this stage where they begin to understand the Gospel has taught me much more about it, especially in regards to my kids.

It’s not up to me, nor is it about me. My main job as a mom is to disciple my children in the Lord (Deut. 6:6-9; Eph. 6:4). However, I’m not the Holy Spirit. I can’t convict my children of sin. I can’t flub an answer and eternally “mess them up”. I should be a student of God’s Word so I can answer their questions, but still, I’m imperfect and will sometimes answer imperfectly. I can’t save my kids! Therefore, I shouldn’t stress about if every word I say is perfect. That’s not possible, and God knows that! He uses me as His imperfect vessel, to the praise of His glory. Also, while it’s tempting to boast in our kids’ accomplishments, even the spiritual ones, Hunter’s salvation brought me to a place of humility. I’m a very imperfect parent. Our kids aren’t, nor will they ever be perfect. Any good they do for God is all due to His work in their lives, not mine. 

The Holy Spirit is our sovereign guide. After Gospel conversations with the boys, I’d replay them, again fearing I said something wrong. As a believer, the Holy Spirit dwells in me. He guides, leads, and helps me. He’s also sovereign. I had to trust the Spirit was sovereign over our conversations, and He helped me in the midst of them.

There’s no magic formula. For so long, Hunter had “head knowledge” of the Gospel, meaning he gave all the right answers. His sin and need for salvation hadn’t penetrated his heart, though. I often asked myself, “When will we know he’s ‘got it’?” Ultimately, salvation is between that person and the Lord. There’s actually no “sinner’s prayer” in Scripture we’re required to pray. Salvation comes when “You confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead” (Rom. 10:9). The truth is, we’ve seen many claim salvation because they walked an aisle, were baptized, or said a prayer. However, the fruit of their life never reflected a true confession of faith, or they later realized they weren’t truly saved. Now, if this is your story, then praise God He revealed to you your need for Him! All testimonies are miracles of God’s powerful, saving work! Still, though, we prayed for wisdom in this, desiring not to give a false-assurance. My type-A self would love a formula, but there isn’t one. Salvation is a heart-issue. We asked him open-ended questions. We tried not to ask leading questions, such as, “Do you want to go to Heaven?” because I think everyone would say, “Yes” to that! We want to be sure our kids have a true understanding that salvation isn’t just a “Get out of Hell free” card. Goodness, it was sweet to hear Hunter in his own six-year-old words give answers to things such as, “Why did Jesus have to die?” Salvation truly is a work of the Lord. There are no magic words. It’s a work God alone does in our hearts. Praise God! On this note, there also aren’t specific steps that if we follow, it ensures our kids follow Jesus. This would make their salvation up to us (and I’m so glad it’s not!). All we’re called to do is faithfully follow the Lord and disciple our kids.

Spiritual milk is fine at salvation. Hebrews exhorts believers to move from spiritual milk to spiritual meat (Heb. 5:11-14), meaning we should grow from elementary teachings of the Lord to deeper ones. This is an exhortation we all should heed, but I often reminded myself this isn’t necessary for salvation. Truly, I questioned if Hunter “got it” since he didn’t fully understand things like why Jesus had to live the perfect life. I remembered, though, that’s something I didn’t understand until several years ago, and I’ve been following Jesus a long time! Having a deep theology isn’t required for salvation, but simply having faith in Jesus and the work of His life, death, burial, and Resurrection. Now, salvation isn’t a “check” off the parenting goals. Our job to disciple continues, and we exhort them to move toward that spiritual meat as they grow in Christ.

The Gospel really is the power to save, and salvation is eternal. Being a mama is weird. I’ve trusted God with my salvation since I was 7. Trusting Him with my kid’s salvation is another thing, though. Do I really trust Him to seal them as He promises (Eph. 1:13)? I needed reminders of basic Gospel truths. It really is powerful enough to save, and salvation is eternal! Nothing can snatch us from God’s hand (John 10:28). If I can trust this for myself, then I can trust this for my children.

We praise God for the work He’s done in Hunter’s life, and continue to pray for his sanctification. We also pray for the rest of our kids and will keep sharing Jesus with them as much as we’re able. We aren’t perfect at this parenting or discipleship thing by any means. We fumble over our words, but we trust Christ is made strong in our weakness. Simply, we love Jesus deeply and want the same for our kids. I praise God that He uses my children in many ways to deepen my understanding of the Gospel!

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