Kids’ answers fall into three categories: the smilers, the hopeful and the performers. I call the first group the smilers because Ashley, 9, says: “Yes!! You will definitely go to heaven if you are a Christian and sin!"
The hopeful are represented by Josh, 7: “Yes, you can go to heaven if you sin, but if you sin too much, you might not go to heaven. I hope I go to heaven. "
Finally, Kris, 9, represents the performers: “If you ask for forgiveness, yes. If you don't ask for forgiveness, no. "
Oh! I almost forgot. There's one more group represented by J. B. , 7: “Yes, because I don't know. " The people in this group believe their reservations for heaven are secure, but they don't know why.
Both the hopeful and the performers depend upon something they do to secure a place in heaven. When Josh says if Christians sin too much, they might not make it, the question that comes to mind is “How much is too much?"
Can you imagine hearing a pilot of an overseas flight announce to passengers that he “hopes" there's enough fuel onboard to cross the ocean? Why should we be any less precise about our eternal destination?
Kris is emphatic when she says you must ask God for forgiveness when you sin, or the pearly gates will shut in your face. Kirsten, 8, concurs and provides an example: “Say I push somebody down, and I did not say I am sorry, God would not forgive me. "
Wow! Push somebody down, and you could find yourself down and out forever.
Not so, says Rachel, 9: “Even if you are a Christian and you sin, you will still go to heaven. Once you are saved, you can never be unsaved. God holds you tight in His hand, and no one can pry His hand open. "
Rachel was probably thinking of the time Jesus spoke of his sheep, those who have trusted him as their savior. Of them, he said, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:28).
Besides being kept in the all-powerful hand of the Lord Jesus, Justin, 12, understands the totality of God's forgiveness: “If you are saved, and you really mean it, no sin can turn you from heaven because when God died for you, he died for all your sins, even the ones in the future. You should ask God for forgiveness. "
What's going on here? Why does Justin ask God for forgiveness if all his future sins are forgiven?
Justin understands the difference between entering into a family relationship by birth and enjoying harmony within a family. Justin entered God's family when he trusted Jesus as his savior. The spiritual part of him that had been dead was born into life. A spiritual birth can't be undone any more than a physical one. However, his harmony with God depends what he thinks, says and does. God wants all his children to experience life to the fullest.
Wise children enjoy the blessing of their parents because they obey them. God is the perfect father. He blesses and disciplines his children.
Remember Jesus’ story about the prodigal son? Even when the son was wasting his father's inheritance in a distant country, he remained a son - a wayward one but never an orphan.
"If you are a Christian, you will go to heaven, " says Austin. “God is in your heart, and he won't leave. "
Point to ponder: Jesus will never leave or forsake his children.
Scripture to remember: “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:28).
Question to consider: Are you confident of your eternal destination?
Carey Kinsolving is a syndicated columnist, producer, author, speaker and website developer. To see Carey's Kid TV Interviews and more, visit http://www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org/ The Kids Talk About God website contains free, online content for children and families. Print free lessons from the “Kids Color Me Bible" and make your own book. Watch for free the adventures of an 11-year-old girl traveling around the world, visiting missionaries in the Mission Explorers Streaming Video. Print Bible pictures drawn by kids that illustrate Scripture verses. Receive a complimentary, weekly e-mail subscription to our Devotional Bible Lessons. Bible quotations in this column are from the New King James Version.
Copyright 2006 Carey Kinsolving