One of the saddest thoughts in the world is that Christian parents, who have been genuinely born again and are on their way to heaven, will raise children who will end up dying and going to hell.
Is this possible? Of course it is. Salvation is not hereditary. We are not saved because our parents or grandparents are saved. It is not something we inherit. We are not Christians because our family members are Christians. Salvation is entirely personal. God does not have any grandchildren – only children, those who have personally received Jesus Christ as their own Saviour. Without that personal faith, there has been no regeneration, no salvation, no giving or receiving of eternal life.
- John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
It is foolish and unbiblical for the Christian parent to believe that his or her child will go to heaven (of course!) without a personal salvation experience. My children were born sinners and needed the same salvation as every other sinner who has ever lived; the only thing they inherited from me was a sinful nature (Romans 5:12). The reason my kids are saved today is, first of all, by the grace of God; but humanly speaking, it is because they were taught the scriptures, kept in an environment that emphasized salvation, and when they understood the gospel each one made the decision to receive Jesus personally and individually.
Sadly, however, many parents do not show much concern for the eternal well-being of their children (and even their grandchildren to come). The parents are saved, but they are out of church. The parents heard the gospel, but the kids never do. Oh, maybe they drop in somewhere for Easter or Christmas – but this often only serves to harden the heart, equating religiosity with repentance and regeneration.
- 2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
- 2 Timothy 3:14-15 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; (15) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Timothy was saved because his mother and grandmother kept him in the scriptures, which made him wise unto salvation. His mother and grandmother took responsibility for his eternal well-being, and made the difference.
How can we raise up our children so that they will be wise unto salvation?
I.TAKE YOUR CHILDREN TO CHURCH.
Start this Sunday. Put them in Sunday School. Put them under the influence of godly people and a constant gospel message.
II. KEEP YOUR CHILDREN IN CHURCH.
I believe in childhood conversions. I also believe that some childhood conversions are as worthless as monopoly money at Walmart (frankly, some adult “conversions” are as well). I know this because many times these kids, as teenagers, while at youth camp or in a revival, suddenly get convicted and saved, and then say that sometimes they can’t even remember what happened when they were little kids.
The sad thing is that some young parents stay around church just long enough for their five year old to make a profession of faith – and then they drop out of church.
My children have grown up in church and all made early professions of faith – but I kept praying for them as they got older – just in case! I prayed that if their childhood professions were not real that they would come to a place where they truly exercised repentance and faith. I know that goes against the philosophies of some, but when it comes to my own child’s eternal destiny, I wanted them to BE SURE. And to know it, and not spend years doubting it. Or worse, to not get saved at all, and just grow up to be an unsaved Baptist. I believe some of the prodigals we pray for are not really prodigals – they are not saved. We ought to be praying for their salvation, but instead we are trying to pray lost people back into our church memberships.
I have seen teenagers come under conviction, say that they were not saved and needed to be saved, and get genuinely saved – only to hear the parent say, “Oh no, he got saved when he was four – I have the baptism certificate to prove it!” Oh, we must be careful when it comes to the souls of our children!
Keep your kids in church. Keep them under gospel preaching, and take them to revivals, and send them to youth camp. I want my kids to hear as much Bible preaching and as many gospel invitations as possible.
III. HAVE A CHRIST-HONORING AND GODLY HOME.
It’s not just going to church. Just going to church produces hypocrites, if we aren’t practicing anything at home. Set the example for your kids.
IV. KEEP PRAYING FOR YOUR CHILDREN.
Never, never, never get so lukewarm and backslidden that you cannot or do not pray for your children.
How awful to be a born again Christian, and not to be concerned about the eternal welfare of our own children! If you are out of church, I encourage you to get back into a good Bible-preaching church immediately. Get in and stay in. Make the difference for your children and grandchildren, like Timothy’s mother and grandmother.
Thank you for reading. God bless.