There is much being said by Christian speakers about “claiming” various things. These things range from needs, to wealth, to health, to souls. But is all of this scriptural? Is any of this scriptural? To “claim” means to seek to possess on the basis of right or authority. To claim without the right or authority will get you nothing. But do we have the right or authority to claim things?
This “claiming” should be based on the word of God and is an outgrowth of our “faith”. When we have faith, we can then claim. The scriptures say, “……faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Therefore, when God speaks and you hear and you believe Him, that’s faith. If God has not spoken, you cannot have faith for faith is believing what God has said. You can’t believe what you haven’t heard. Many, without hearing God, mistakenly still have what they call faith. But that is not believing God, since He has not spoken. Believing what someone else has said or what we feel, does not give us the right or authority to claim anything. It is God’s word and our believing Him that gives us the right or authority to “claim”.
All claims, when based in faith on the Word of God, get the results that God has said. If a claim doesn’t get results, then either the person claiming doesn’t really believe God, or God has not spoken concerning the thing being claimed. God’s timing is another factor you should consider. Sometimes God’s provisions aren’t given until God determines that the time is right.
God’s Word says that we will be given food, clothing and shelter if we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness first (Matthew 6:25-34). Therefore, if we believe God and seek His rule first, then we can claim these things and we will receive them. But we cannot claim wealth, for scriptures don’t provide that; and they don’t provide healing in every instance, therefore we can’t always claim healing. Anything that God says we can have (joy, peace, victory over sin, needs met, etc.) we can claim through faith; but if God hasn’t said it, we have no right or authority to claim it.
God does speak to us in many ways other than the scriptures. Jesus said His sheep would hear His voice (John 10:27). If God truly speaks to you in a manner other than the scriptures – it will be in agreement with the scriptures – and as you have faith in Him you can claim the results He has spoken. If you get no results, maybe God hasn’t spoken concerning what you are claiming. Or maybe you are hearing someone else. Or maybe timing is a factor. Faith in what God has spoken, in God’s timing, always brings the results that God has said.
The salvation of others is often claimed, but without a sound scriptural basis. We can’t claim souls (their salvation). The idea of “claiming” souls comes from a misinterpretation of Acts 16:30-34. Paul, in answer to the jailer’s question, “What must I do to be saved?” said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household.” Some suppose that these verses teach the salvation of the whole household, if the head of the household is saved. This is contrary to other scriptures, for it takes away the individual’s freedom to chose for himself. Rather, these verses say that the jailer would be saved if he would believe, and his household would be saved if they would believe. The jailer’s believing would not save his household. Verse 32 says that Paul and Silas spoke the word to the jailer and to all his household. Verses 33 and 34 say that the jailer and all his household were baptized because the jailer believed in God with all his household. The jailer believed, and all his household believed. Therefore, they were all saved. But if any of his household had rejected the word that was preached to them and not believed, they would not have been saved even though the jailer did believe and was saved. This rendering brings these verses into harmony with the rest of the scriptures.
The Word of God clearly teaches in many places that each man’s destiny is determined by his own choice. Romans 6:16 says, “to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness.” If one person could “claim” the salvation of another, this would remove that person’s right to choose for himself whom he would serve. This freedom of choice is God’s irrevocable gift to man. Because of this freedom of choice which God has given to each person, even God cannot claim souls. The Bible says in II Peter 3:9 that God is, “…..not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”. But all will not come to repentance, for the Word also says in Matthew 7:13: “…..wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many who go in by it.” Comparing these two scriptures we can see that even God does not have His way in every situation because of man’s freedom of choice. Therefore, when people try to “claim” a soul they are trying to do what even God does not allow Himself to do.
Surely, history testifies of godly parents having ungodly children who never repented. Many of us can see it in our own families. Though it may be comforting, it is a false hope to think that because you are saved that they necessarily will be also. Rather, be comforted in that your godly example may cause them to hunger for what you have.