How children know God
Most children come to know God through their parents
Children raised by godly parents are greatly blessed. It is natural for children to love and trust their parents. Children who are loved and secure trust what their parents say about Jesus Christ.
Jesus says we must become like children to enter the kingdom of God
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is really the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
He called a little child and had him stand in front of them. “I tell you the truth,” He said to them, “if you don’t change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. If you become humble like this little child, you are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And if you welcome a child like this in my name, you welcome me.”
“If anyone leads into sin one of these little ones who believe in Me, it would be better for him to have a big millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the lake where it’s deep. Woe to the world because it tempts people to sin! Temptations to sin must come, but woe to that man who tempts others to sin!” Matthew 18:1-7
Let’s pause and reflect on this for a bit. In the setting, Jesus was speaking to Jews. He called a little child from their midst. Although God loves and would have urchins come to Him, this child was not a rebellious urchin. The child was humble as Jesus said. “If you become humble like this little child, you are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And if you welcome a child like this in my name, you welcome me.”
God-fearing parents had raised this child. Jews spoke highly of God to their children and spoke godly blessings to them at least weekly in their own homes during their observance of the Sabbath. We can do the same.
They also taught their little children about the good and bad behavior of the people of Israel and encouraged and disciplined them to choose good behavior. So, this little child knew about God, knew his or her heritage and honored, trusted and obeyed his or her parents.
Little children are curious, open to new ideas, have a very active imagination and are creative. They trust and obey their parents. Jesus said “these little ones who believe in me.” He also said, “if you don’t change.” When we trust in Jesus, we change and become like humble and obedient little children, enter the kingdom of God and come to know Him.
God is the Father of families
God our Father helps us get to know Him through our natural heritage and roots. His love builds families. He loves us in and through our natural families and connected families. The very words, family and patriotism are derived from the Greek word “pater.” Pater is translated Father and patria as family or clan. Paul says our Pater in heaven is the Pater from whom every group on heaven and earth gets the name patria. As we live as His children, we get to know Him better.
For this reason I kneel before the ‘Father’ from whom every group in heaven and on earth gets the name of ‘family’ and ask Him, as He is rich in glory, to give you this; that His Spirit will inwardly strengthen you with power, Christ will live in your hearts by faith, and you will be firmly rooted and built up in love, so that you and all the holy people can grasp how broad and long and high and deep love is, and know how Christ loves us—more than we can know–and so you will be filled with all that is in God. Now to Him who by the power working in us can do far, far more than anything we ask or imagine, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all ages forever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21
Timothy was blessed with a mother and grandmother who knew God. Paul wrote to him, “I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well” (2 Timothy 1:5).
I came to know the Lord through family. From my earliest recollection, I have known the Lord. I was extraordinarily blessed because I was born to parents who knew our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My Missouri Synod Lutheran parents started and ended each day with family prayer. Most mornings right after breakfast, dad or mom would read the daily devotion from Portals of Prayer. We prayed before each meal. “Come Lord Jesus be thou our guest and let this food to us be blessed.” We went to Church every Sunday. Mom and dad often spoke highly of God to one another and to my three sisters and brother. What they believed took. I could feel God’s love through the gentle touch and hugs of my mother. I could see my heavenly Father’s character through my earthly father’s character, especially his reverence of God and reliance on the Bible for the truth. Even though I couldn’t say what it was then, I could feel God’s love pour into my heart by His Spirit. I especially felt wonderful joy when singing hymn praises and praying. God conveyed His love to me through my parents, siblings and God’s family. I was brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph 6:4). It felt real good to know God.
How believers came to know the Lord
From my observations, I think the majority of believers came to believe in the Lord by believing the gospel their parents taught them in word and deed. An ad hock survey I observed bears this out. One time around the year 2000, I was with Judy at a conference in Colorado Springs with about 4,000 fired up believers. The speaker asked for a show of hands on how they first believed, or got saved. Was in through the gospel Billy Graham preached at one of his crusades? About 10 hands came up. Was it at any other kind of Christian Crusade or Conference? About 10 hands came up. Was it by hearing the gospel your pastor preached? About 100 more hands came up. Was it by being led to the Lord by someone you knew other than your parents? Around 500 hands came up. Was it by believing the gospel one or both of your parents taught? More than 3,000 hands came up.
All Scripture quotes are from An American Translation AAT