Elena asked us a little over a week ago. Just out of the blue, at the dinner table. We carefully answered her, explaining that He doesn't but that He does for those who believe in him.
When I was a kid, the Evangelical church had been taken over by the invitation, walk the aisle, "repeat these words after me," mode of evangelism. Terms like "accept Jesus into your heart" were the norm.
As I have grown as a Christian, and wrestled with my first profession of faith at 4, after being led in a tract and a sinner's with my Mom versus my later profession of faith, when I was 13 after my world had been rocked by suicidal thoughts and actions and gross rebellion, I've realized saving faith is more complex, and more simple than a sinner's prayer.
Was I saved at 4 at 13? We may never know. Of course, if we are living in a world of "spiritual birthdays" this is a most disturbing thought. What if I wasn't saved either time!? What if I didn't say something right!? Or do it right!?
Or course, that begs the questions, what does an expression of saving faith look like?
Paul and Silas knew what it looked like when the spoke to the jailer:
Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.
Paul in Romans:
For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Or just Jesus, in the most famous of them all:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
The central issue is our belief, our trust. It's not about repeating certain words, or making sure that "repentance" or "submission to Christ's Lordship" or "accepting Jesus into your heart" (more to be said about this term in an upcoming blog) are part of some equation. Did the thief on the cross hit all the high points of a sinner's prayer on his way to paradise?
So instead of writing a massive blog tonight, which no one would probably read to completion, I'll start with this and post more thoughts in what will hopefully be an upcoming series of blogs on children and salvation.