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Can an "illegitimate" child, one conceived out of wedlock, be saved?

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Some readers of the Bible have erroneously believed that a child born outside of marriage cannot be saved. This has traditionally been based on a passage in the Old Testament that reads, "No one born of a forbidden union may enter the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of his descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD" (Deuteronomy 23:2). However, this verse speaks of those excluded from the assembly, referring in that context to the tabernacle. It does not speak of salvation.

Instead, Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Our salvation is based on God's grace through faith, not on the situation into which we were born. John 3:16 further notes, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." These words indicate that "whoever" believes can be saved and does not exclude based on the situation in which a child is conceived.

In fact, the Bible indicates that those who believe in Jesus begin a new life: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17). As followers of Jesus we are all equal. Galatians 3:28 notes, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

Further, a person who comes to Christ by faith becomes part of a new family and is now a child of God. John 1:12-13 shares, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." God is both our Lord and our heavenly Father (Matthew 6:1, 6, 8, 9, 14).

Psalm 139 even shares how God knits us together in the womb. John the Baptist was given a special calling even before his birth. God created works for us to do before we were born (Ephesians 2:10). The prophet Jeremiah was also told, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you" (Jeremiah 1:5).

Our status at birth does not determine whether we can become a Christian. A person born into a family with a mother and father and a child born into a family apart from marriage both stand in need of God's grace and can come to know the Lord by faith in Jesus Christ. It is the Lord's desire that no one perishes, but that all who believe in Him will receive eternal life (John 3:16).

Related Truth:

What must I do to become a child of God?

Is salvation by faith or works or both?

Is there an age of accountability in the Bible? What happens to babies that die?

What is the eternal destiny of those who have never heard of Christ?

What is the Truth about salvation?

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Truth about Salvation

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