PROVERBS 22:6 (NKJV) ~ “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Can children understand the Gospel and not know the exact meaning of eternal life or the word saved? In Matthew 18:3, the Lord Jesus said, ““…“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”” Therefore, the answer is yes.
The Gospel is the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins, He was buried and rose again on the third day. Children find it difficult to decipher the meaning of particular words. At times, by pointing to their heart, children meant to express a certain word, phrases or gestures such as, “Jesus loves me”, “Amen”, or by holding their hands in prayer. As adults, we cannot expect a child to use all the lingo or grammar we use to explain salvation. That is why, it is very important that we are always prepared to be able to explain and help them understand specific terms in the Bible. However, I have seen some people who expect a child to know every doctrine in the Bible, I mean literally, have the child memorized the Bible, before they can be allowed to know Christ as their Savior. This may not necessarily mean, that it is wrong to teach children to memorize Scriptures, I believe it is a good thing. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) —I see, that the most effective way to remember a particular verse other than by just simply memorizing it, is by meditating on it, asking God’s Holy Spirit for discernment, allowing God to speak to you through that particular Scripture. Obviously, we cannot expect a child to meditate by himself or herself, so we need to involve them in our meditation. Set aside a time for them in our daily devotions, or start a family Bible study at home. The Bible says in Romans 10:13, “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” If God expected us to understand every word in the Bible then none of us would be saved.
As adults, we may easily understand the meaning of multiple words in the Bible and may also expect a child to automatically comprehend them the way we do. Normally, children think through visualization. In numerous instances, when leading a child to Christ, it is wise to use an object or imagery to explain a word. The word saved may not make a lot of sense to a child, but exemplifying it through the use of an imagery may help them understand a very important Bible terminology. They may not exactly understand the meaning of eternal life, but using an imagery may help them understand that we are saved forever.
There are children, as young as the age of five, that the Holy Spirit of God is convicting about salvation, and as adults, we need to make sure that we are not standing in the way of a child knowing Jesus as his or her Savior. Not only that we need to make sure we are not expecting them to know the exact word, but we also need to make sure they are ready to be saved. As parents or Bible teachers, never give a child a false hope. Be mindful that questions do stimulate and search the heart and mind. Ask the child questions about what they have learned in school or at home through personal or family devotions and you might be amazed how a little child answers. In lots of times, they give answers in ways that convict us.
God loves the little children. Therefore, dealing with them is not something that we should be afraid of, “...but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4). During the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, in many instances, He referred to the faith of a child or used a child to picture out the kingdom. Children can and will show great faith in the Lord. So, when those words that seem to be highfaluting for a child come along and a child looks at you like you are from a different planet, patiently take time to explain to them what the word means. The Lord Jesus is ready to save every child that desires to put their faith in Him. But see to it that we are not expecting those highfaluting words to block our way from molding our young minds into Godliness before we allow them to trust Christ as their Savior. I hope that you have entrusted God to be your partner in molding your children into Godliness and obedience.
I am very thankful that God made His plan of salvation simple for us to comprehend. My heart beat is that: I hope you do as well.