Most parents, pastors and theologians would agree that there is no easy way to determine if a child is saved. There’s no simple two question test.

But determining if a child is not saved – I think there are some useful indicators of that.

Five signs that your child is not saved:
(Obviously, there are exceptions to all of these.)

1. She can’t spell out the gospel
An eighteen year old will be more able than a four year old to explain the significant ideas in the gospel, but all saved children will be able to lay out the basics of the gospel in plain words.

2. He can’t explain how the gospel applies to him
Any demon can lay out the classic four points, but what does this child believe their situation was before they were saved? What has God done for them? What is God doing for them? What does their future look like.

3. She has never made a decision for Christ / prayed a prayer of faith
Let me be clear: a sinner’s prayer doesn’t save anyone and there are many unsaved people who’ve come forward at an altar call. But almost all saved children will have prayed a prayer – accepting Christ as their savior – at least once. And they will probably regularly saying something like a sinner’s prayer – admitting they’re sinful, asking forgiveness, asking Jesus to be Lord of their life. Here’s a corollary: If they said a sinner’s prayer yesterday (perhaps repeating after an adult*), but today can’t tell you what it was, then there is a large possibility that they aren’t saved.

4. He doesn’t feel the weight of his own sin.
A child who is continually defensive when confronted, a child who shakes off her sin like it is negligible, a child who doesn’t feel grief when thinking about the disobedient act they’ve done – this child is probably not saved.

5. They show no Fruit of the Spirit.
This is a tricky one because it’s so subjective. But it’s also very Biblical. You should see changes in a saved child. You should see more Love, Joy, Peace. … You should see Christ working in their lives, changing their hearts.

Only God knows our hearts. But Jesus said we would know a tree by its fruit, so it’s not wrong for a parent to do some “fruit inspection” from time to time.

I have eight kids. Three or four of them exhibit these signs of still being lost. As they get older, this causes me more concern. It should cause you concern for your children as well.

So what should a parent do if they see these signs in their child?

1. Pray
2. Teach them the Gospel
3. Live out the Gospel

But you should also do this with your children who are saved. For your entire life.

One final note – there are others that come close to being on the list –

He doesn’t want to pray
She doesn’t want to read the Bible
He has no heart for the lost
She has a sin that doesn’t seem to be going away

– But I think these all a matter of sanctification.

What do you think? Did I miss any? Did I add too many?

* I’m on record as being not in favor of altar calls for children.

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