The ABCs of leading your child to Christ, featuring the CSB Life Counsel Bible

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The new CSB Life Counsel Bible is full of helpful articles designed to guide believers through a wide variety of topics. There are many that are designed to help mothers in all seasons of life. But the most important aspect of motherhood is how to guide your child to Christ. In his article titled “Leading Your Child to Christ,” Marty Machowski says “Leading your children to Christ is as easy as A-B-C-D.”

A. Admit You Are a Sinner Separated from a Holy God

Children are born sinners, but they don’t often think of themselves that way. They may have often heard their parents or other relatives address them as a “good kid.” But we must help them understand their sin and separation from God.

Sin can be explained simply as wanting to be our own god and to live our lives apart from God’s rule. It’s more than just the bad things that we do. Jesus came because all the descendants of Adam and Eve “went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way” (Is 53:6). We are all born that way, and there is nothing we can do on our own to change and stop sinning (see Eph 2:1–3).

B. Believe in Your Heart the Good News of Christ

Trust is what opens our lives to Jesus and his blessings. Paul says salvation comes to those who “believe in [and with] your heart” (Rm 10:9–10). Believing is more than consenting to the facts of the gospel. James tells us that the demons, who are condemned, also know them (Jms 2:19). Salvation comes to those who know the truth about Jesus and completely trust in him. When our children see us trusting in God through trial, or hear us confess our sin, it gives our faith credibility in their eyes and the Spirit of God uses these moments to work on their young hearts.

Statements like “accept Jesus into your heart” or “make Jesus your forever friend” are unclear and confusing. It is better to use biblical language and speak of repenting or turning to the Lord and believing or trusting in him (see Acts 9:35; 11:21; 14:15; 15:19; 20:21; 26:18,20). Repentance means to change direction and turn away from the path of seeking our own way. Then we grow in our repentance as we are gradually made more like Jesus. We receive the gospel by turning from sin in our heart and trusting Jesus with our life.

C. Confess Your Faith in Jesus

Jesus said, “Therefore, everyone who will acknowledge me before others, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever denies me before others, I will also deny him before my Father in heaven” (Mt 10:32–33; also recall Rm 10:9). As Dennis Gunderson says, “Anyone who comes to Jesus cannot help but speak out of that which has filled his heart.” Once your children profess faith in Christ, encourage them to share their faith with others. Evangelizing others is a great test to help us understand what we believe, and seeing our children sharing their faith is a great demonstration of the grace of God at work in their lives (also see 2Tm 1:8–9).

D. Demonstrate the Fruit of Repentance (For You and Your Children)

The fruit of genuine faith and repentance falls into two categories, the “take offs” and the “put ons” (Eph 4:22–24; see Gl 5:19–26). The “take offs” are the sins we regularly committed as unbelievers apart from Christ: anger, selfishness, jealousy, disrespect of parents, indifference to God’s Word, and other such sins. The “put ons” are those marks of grace that grow in the lives of believers as we conform to Christ. When we see our children demonstrate an independent engagement in worship, prayer, Bible reading, a love for hearing God’s Word, a growing love for others, and a desire to serve in community with believers, we can be sure that God is at work in their lives.

Finally, when we understand that our job is to share the gospel, but it is God that does the saving, we can relax, look to do our part, and watch God work. The gospel is “the power of God for salvation” (Rm 1:16). By regularly sharing a clear gospel message, we can be faithful to the charge of Jesus, who said, “Leave the little children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to me, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Mt 19:14).

For more helpful articles on motherhood, including “Helping Children in Shame,” “Teens and Suicide,” “Mom Guilt” and more, be sure to get your copy of the CSB Life Counsel Bible today.

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