I became a Christian when I was four years old. I was still playing pretend, learning new words, and wearing pigtails at that age. I hadn’t even started kindergarten yet.
You might be wondering how I could have become a Christian as a four-year-old. I have no idea. I just know that God gave me the faith to trust Him, so I trusted Him. And ever since I was four years old, I have belonged to Jesus and He has belonged to me.
Re-saving, Re-dedicating, and Re-doing
Sadly, most Christians who genuinely came to Christ at a young age have the urge to get “re-saved” or to “re-dedicate” themselves to Christ. It’s not sad that Christians want to have assurance of their salvation or commit more seriously to following Jesus. But their decision to “actually become saved” or to “actually follow Christ” or to “actually repent from sin” when they’re older is often based on the belief that the first time they trusted Christ didn’t really count.
“It wasn’t enough,” a voice tells you. “It wasn’t real. You need to do it again.”
As a girl who prayed to trust Christ as my Savior countless times after I initially did as a little child, I know that voice well. I completely understand the urge to “re-do” my salvation. But the belief that the first time we asked Christ to save us wasn’t enough is often a lie from Satan. Here are a few of the top reasons that Satan gives for why our childhood salvation wasn’t enough:
Lie #1: “You weren’t old enough to understand the gospel.”
My belief is that if children are smart enough to start preschool when they’re toddlers, they’re smart enough to know that (1) they’re sinners and (2) Jesus saved them. Children know that hell is scary and that they don’t want to go to it. And I think Jesus recognized that simplistic but realistic motivation when He invited the children to come to Him.
Now they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for the little ones, saying, “Allow the children to come to Me, and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” (Luke 18:15-17 NASB)
Lie #2: “You weren’t sinful enough to need saving yet.”
First, if you’ve ever played with little children, you know how selfish they are. One of the first words that babies learn is “mine.” And the last time that I checked, selfishness was considered sinful by God. Second, all human beings—no matter how old they are—are sinful because they were born with a sin nature.
So then, as through one offense the result was condemnation to all mankind, so also through one act of righteousness the result was justification of life to all mankind. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:18-19 NASB)
Lie #3: “You didn’t truly repent from your sin when you were little.”
Satan tells me that although I sinned before and after my salvation, I sinned more after my salvation than I did before my salvation, thus trying to prove that I didn’t truly become a Christian as a child. For this lie, Satan uses Bible verses like John 15:8 to say that I should be bearing more fruit—not less fruit—as a Christian now. But we have to read that verse in context, and we also have a defense against his schemes. After all, we can’t let the father of lies be the judge of our fruit-bearing or lack of fruit-bearing. Satan only points out our flaws, but God sees the righteousness that He gave to us at our salvation.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin in our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:20-21 NASB)
Here’s the Thing…
No matter how many times Satan tells you otherwise, your salvation isn’t based on what you do—on having perfect understanding of the gospel, on recognizing every sin in your life, or on making sure your repentance was sincere enough.
Yes, evaluate your salvation. Know what you believe. But don’t underestimate God’s saving grace for children.
What if you really believed that the first time you trusted Christ for salvation—no matter how young you were—actually brought you into God’s family? What if you didn’t second-guess God’s desire for you to be saved? What if you simply followed Jesus’ words to come to Him like a child and receive His wonderful kingdom?
Then Satan wouldn’t have a hold on your faith anymore.