Will My Kids Be Saved?
One of the most significant concerns for Christian parents is the salvation of their children, and it is often this matter that leads many to question their ability as parents. The Bible certainly acknowledges that there is a tendency of children to turn their back on the faith of their parents, and many proverbs warn young people about this very thing (Proverbs 1:8, 3:1, 4:1, 5:7, 7:1). What I want to do in this article is present some practical things that we can do, and some things our children need to avoid as well, to help lead our dearest family members to God.
It might seem really obvious, but the first thing that we can do to help our children become Christians is to teach them the Gospel. It is very easy to assume that because we bring them to church every Sunday for a decade or two that they will just naturally be exposed to sufficient Gospel teaching. No truth echoes in a child’s heart, however, quite like the one coming from his or her own parents. An elder or preacher or Bible class teacher may say something every Sunday, but the words of a parent will always be more penetrating. Have you ever talked about baptism at home? Have you deflected questions because your own knowledge is lacking? Do your children know what the Gospel is because it is a major part of your life?
Not only in discipline and rules, but in lifestyle as well, do we need to be consistent. Let your children see that you are the same person in private that you are in public, and what the brethren see at worship is what you are at home, at work, etc. “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22). It is so easy to deceive ourselves when we are not walking the walk, but we are typically not deceiving our children. They are sometimes more perceptive than anybody else, including elders or counselors. Practicing what we preach would include:
Being involved in your own regular Bible study (2 Timothy 2:15);
Having an active prayer life;
Extending hospitality (Romans 12:13);
Faithful in worshipping with other Christians (Hebrews 10:24);
Involved in saving the lost. Children are going to sense that something is wrong if we are talking about how much the world needs the gospel but they never see us personally reaching out to anyone with it;
Rejoicing in the fact that we are saved and have a relationship with God (Philippians 4:4), rather than seeing religion as a burden;
Rejoicing in the fact that we are members of the local church, rather than putting on a smiling face in the building and then endlessly complaining and gossiping about church members during the car ride home.
Acknowledge “Right” and “Wrong”
I have witnessed many examples of children who either fall away or are never even converted simply because mom and dad never clarify the difference between right and wrong. Certainly, they talk about making good choices, but their children are left to ponder, on their own, what is actually involved in making them. For example:
• Be clear with your children that drinking alcohol is wrong (Proverbs 23:29ff, Habakkuk 2:5, Ephesians 5:18, Galatians 5:21). Parents who dismiss the seriousness of drinking parties act so surprised when trouble or tragedy hits. A teenager who sees a definite line and never drinks at all will never be caught up in its dangers.
• Be the un-cool parent who draws a line when it comes to your child’s “romantic” relationships. Teenagers should not be left at home unattended, bedroom doors need to stay open at all times, and a clear plan and curfew should be in place for date night (“Where are you going? With whom? When will you be home?”).
• I am amazed at the casual attitude that many parents have when they discover or suspect that their teenage children have become involved in some sin or questionable activity. “We want them to figure it out on their own” or “Boys will be boys” are often excuses offered. Yet discipline and structure are the things that will teach kids the lessons they need to become mature Christian adults (Proverbs 13:18,24, 23:13-14, Hebrews 12:7-11).
• Just as the Bible writers often used illustrations to prove their point (Proverbs 24:30-34, Jude 5-8, Hebrews 3:16-19), keep an eye out for practical examples of the lessons you teach your children. Watch the news with your kids so that they can see what happens to drunk drivers, drug addicts, and other criminals. Sensitively address tragedies in the community and point out the implications of the poor decisions they witness.
Do Not Sacrifice Their Eternal Future For The Present
When you make choices concerning such things as a career, place of work, where you live, etc., remember the impact that those decisions have upon your children.
• Wherever your career takes your family, make it a priority to get involved with the local church right away.
• Make the effort to get your kids to get-togethers and activities that involve other Christians their age.
• Take them to gospel meetings, youth lectureships, and organize classes for their age group.
• Limit the amount of time that you are away from them. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you are such a “cool” or talented mom or dad that you can turn out faithful children and neglect the principles in passages such as Deuteronomy 6:7. Have regular and deep spiritual conversations with your children.