Article: A Study on “Children” in the Bible | Roshan Benzy George
There are many instances in the bible which discusses insightful statements about children. This article aims to look at such instances in the bible; take insights out of it, apply it to real life scenarios and discuss the spiritual meaning behind some passages.
To start with, the first instance in the bible in which the concept of children appear is the blessing to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28. The first chapter of the bible itself makes it clear that children is a blessing. This concept is further elaborated in the coming chapters of Genesis. Also in famous pslams like pslams 127 and 128 (read these pslams) these blessings are discussed in detail. So every child of God has to give thanks to God for their children, care and nurture them and discipline them in the laws of God. Now let us dive into the insights in the bible about this blessing and learn something about how to guard this blessing.
The Verses about Children
Since children is a blessing, they need to be taken care off with special priorities and also be guarded and disciplined. So let us look at a verse which explicitly states that most of the parents look after them children without any external pressures. Jesus Christ said that, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11
Now, God’s word don’t leave children with no duties. There are called to obey their parents as it is written, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” (Colossians 3:20)
In God’s house everyone have duties of their own.
How to Guard Children
There is no doubt that a parent will protect their children from physical attacks. But how many of the parents guard their children from ideological and spiritual attacks?
Here, parents need to realize on thing. It is impossible to fully guard their children by their own effort. Only God can fully guard their children. As it is written, “Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” (Psalms 127:1). Here the word ‘city’ can be considered analogous to a ‘house’. So every parent trust in God and pray to God for their children continually. In doing so you are entrusting your children in God’s care.
Apart from prayer parents can do one thing. That is to have discussions with their children about God and his plan to save the world through Jesus Christ. Nowadays there is a increasing pressure on the church to accept philosophies and ideologies of this world. As stewards of God entrusted with the blessing every parent should talk to their child about God. Why should a parent keep silent about God when all the world is competing to propagate their worldly ideas on children and youth through media and in the name of educational material?
Parents should say that God is there for his people in each and every situation no matter what it is. By doing it children will feel confident enough to pray and connect with God in all their situations. Parents must also be there in every hard situations of their children, help them in that and direct the to our Eternal Helper and remind them about Jesus Christ’s words, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
The concept of discussing things about God goes back to the Old Testament. Israelite parents were commanded to God’s laws to their children. As it is written, “Teach them [God’s laws] to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 11:19).
In the New Testament, it is written, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4).
As followers of the New Covenant, the parents in church are to raise up their children in the instructions of our Lord Jesus Christ. They should do these things in God’s love and not with strict rules and regulations their children can’t follow up. They should also cultivate in there children a love for God and love for people as it is the most important commandment as Jesus said, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29
Parents should also discuss the gospel of Jesus Christ and the salvation that comes through faith in Jesus because only after ‘getting saved’ their children will be able to do that ‘most important commandment’.
To do these things and instruct their children parents should themselves be in God’s love and to says instructions in God’s word, they themselves must read it and obey God. If parents don’t do it, how can they say it to their children? Parents must first obey and love God, then they will have the life giving presence of the Holy Spirit to guide them in the process.
Applying Biblical Principles in Society
As mentioned earlier, God is not oblivious to the abuses done against children. The society that we live in today has all kinds of wickedness against children from mental assault to sexual abuse. As God has said, “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them.” (Malachi 4:1). God will judge the evildoers who doesn’t repent of their sins and bring them to a wretched end. But what is the church supposed to do in the meantime?
As it is written, “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” (Psalms 9:9) So the church needs to rise up guided by the Spirit of God to, “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.” (Psalms 82:3) in their areas and pray for them.
If they have earnest desires, the believers in Jesus Christ can also give a little gift to christian humanitarian aid organizations which support child development in rural areas. Before giving to such organizations a believer must check it’s authenticity, accountability and follow up whether the gift reaches the needy hands.
Act when it is time to act, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” (Proverbs 3:27). If you are a teacher and you find one of your students depressed, comfort that student. If you are a rich believer and finds a poor child, lend a helping hand. If you see a lost child or a child seen uncomfortable with strangers, report it to the authorities their, even that is an action taken in the right time.
Now what are the rewards for generosity? As it is written, “They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing.” (Psalms 37:26) and “Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.” (Psalms 112:2)
Spiritual Meaning of ‘Being a Child of God’
There is a deeper and profound thought that God connects with the concept of children. Yes, it is the truth of salvation. As people are born in this world as children, “children of God” are born in the kingdom of God . For God’s word says, “Yet to all who did receive him (Jesus Christ), to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
Jesus Christ gave us right to become children of God through his death on the cross as an atonement for our sins. Jesus’ death was the ransom for our sins and by believing in Jesus Christ as our Lord we are made children of God. Jesus Christ was God incarnate who came down to the earth to die for His creations. That was God’s way of love without compromising His justice. If God gives heaven to every sinner and oppressed, He is not being just to the oppressed. So God poured out his judgment on Jesus Christ and decided to freely forgive sinners. This is called grace. In the kingdom of Jesus Christ, sinners are made into new beings as ‘newborn children’ through the blood of Jesus Christ. Their sins are remembered no more, they have passed from death to life, from judgement of God to grace of God, from bondage of sin to freedom and from darkness to light of God.
Under this new covenant in Jesus Christ sins are freely forgiven to those who believe in his name, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12) and they are adopted as children of God “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “ Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15).
This is what Jesus Christ was saying to Nicodemus, “Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. ” (John 3:3) Yes, Jesus Christ meant what he said. No one can “get saved” without being born gain by believing in Him.
This is a wonderful event in a person’s life; that is to become child of God. What must a person do to “get saved” or be “born again” ? It is the grace and gift of God. As it is written, If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
All religion says that salvation or entering heaven is based on “good works” but gospel of Jesus Christ alone says that it is a free gift of God. All a person have to do is believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord who died for their sins. Now anyone reading this has not gone through this experience. I request you to pray to God today itself in the Name of Jesus Christ. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Here is a prayer you can follow; (Jesus Lord, I am a sinner; but Jesus Lord, I believe that you died for all my sins, wash me clean Lord, I also believe that you were raised to life to live forever. Please be with me forever to guide me in your path Lord. Let your will become my will. Father God thank you for extending your grace. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.)
Connecting All These Things with Our Pentecostal Heritage
In Kerala, pentecostals had a triumphant journey connecting all these concepts discussed earlier. Earlier pentecostals in Kerala considered children as a blessing, they trained children in instruction of the Lord because they themselves understood the instruction of the Lord. Many of them, considered God over everything else and had the guidance of the Spirit of God. Earlier pentecostals taught a clear teaching of salvation in Jesus Christ, need for repentance and need for the Holy Spirit. Most of the pentecostal parents themselves walked in holiness, righteousness and in testimony that affirmed miraculous signs. Some parents even discussed prophetic events with their children before things happened in relation with their family. In such cases, children of such parents often understood that God was there and supernatural things where at work. Such children were able to stand against all worldly ideologies and philosophies. Earlier pentecostals showed the world the working of Holy Spirit in their lives, by taking care of the poor, defending the oppressed as they could, even though majority of them themselves were poor and needy. These pentecostal parents prayed to God for their children against all the scoffing and contempt their children and themselves got for their faith in Jesus Christ. God didn’t turn away his ears. God kept his promises to those who fear his name and keep his commands. As pslams 122:2, puts it forward, the generation of the upright will be blessed. God blessed the generations of earlier pentecostals. And we are that ‘blessed generation’ now.
But as it is always when blessing increased , their children slowly began to turn away from their God. Now there are people within a small movement within pentecostals of Kerala who attack holiness, teachings of the bible and the laws of God. But let us not fall into their traps. Let us check everything in alignment with God’s word like the Bereans in Acts. The Bereans didn’t believe everything that Paul said, they checked it to see whether it was true and Paul commented them to be ‘noble’ , “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11). Like the Bereans let us check the word of God against all the worldly ideologies and philosophies that infiltrate the church. Let us be children of God and guard our coming generation. Let us walk in the Spirit of God and be an example for the children in the church. Let us pray against all the evil in the society against children in the Name of Jesus Christ and also act when it is our time to act.
At last let us pray to our God who has richly blessed us in Jesus Christ, to pour out His Spirit on us so that we can live a life as ‘as true children of God’ who knows the compassionate Eternal Father (1 John 2:14).
Roshan Benzy George