Are they really saved?
When I started talking with the children about their testimonies, I discovered that all three had a similar misunderstanding about salvation.
I asked them about asking God’s forgiveness for sin, and at different occasions, they all seemed to think that since God forgave them in salvation, they didn’t need to ask God to forgive them any more, ever again. Basically, in their mind, asking for forgiveness was equal to asking God to save them. I think because we wanted them to understand that they don’t have to get saved multiple times, we might have inadvertently communicated that you don’t pray about sin ever again after salvation. It’s also possible that they’ve heard in church discussions about people who profess salvation but continue in sin. We don’t want to encourage false professions, but it’s possible that we’re confusing children who are particularly sensitive to sin in their own lives, and are troubled by their own consciences.
That’s humbling! And a little scary. I asked myself, Does that mean they weren’t saved? Do we see anything in the Bible about saved people who had some misunderstandings about salvation? Certainly! The first chapter of Galatians is instructive. First Peter and First John also address some questions and misunderstandings about salvation. So then, I can trust the Holy Spirit with my children’s salvation, and continue to teach. As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.
So as we teach them about sanctification, we learn more about it ourselves. We talked spent some time one morning talking about first John (If we say we have no sin, the truth is not in us). We agreed that this book was written to believers, and fellowship with God was important. Something that helped them understand was discussing the relationship between a father and child. When you first ask God to forgive your sins and save you, he does forgive your sins, but he also makes you part of his family, you become a child of God. When you sin after that, you don’t stop being God’s child, any more than sinning against mom makes her not your mom. What changes when we sin after salvation is our fellowship. I asked them if they have ever hidden from mom and dad when they sinned. They all have. It’s a good picture of how fellowship is broken. They don’t want to get too close to mom and dad, because they’ve done wrong. They don’t want their sin exposed. Likewise, when we sin agains God after we’re saved, we don’t fellowship with him until we make it right and ask forgiveness. And God promises to do that!
If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship on with another.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.
(I John 1)
I think they understood. The discussion is helpful for us adults as we wrestle with sanctification and salvation, too. Fun conversations ensue all around.