Can Christian parents save their children?
Christian parents, generally have one common goal for their children. They want their children to be saved.
Can parents do something to make sure their children get saved? Can anything be done to ensure they make that decision to follow Christ?
Most Christian parents care more for their own children than they care about themselves. They want their kids’ lives to be better than what they had. Salvation, knowing Jesus, helps make that possible…not only in this life but in eternity.
How can we save our children?
Can we save them by taking them to church?
Can we save them by having the children’s pastor pray for them?
Can we save them by sending them on that youth retreat the church plans every year?
We can’t save our children nor can we ensure they will ever choose Christ.
I wish it weren’t so, but it is.
It’s God’s work.
The salvation of our children is God’s work.
Moses and Paul the Apostle each made amazing appeals to God when dealing with loved ones who didn’t follow God. They both offered to trade places with people they cared about and take their impending punishment. Moses offered on behalf of the sinful Israelites who worshipped the golden calf. Paul offered to take the punishment for Jews who refused to believe the truth about Jesus.
Both of these men offered to give up their own eternal security in order to save others who were deserving of punishment. God’s answer to both of them was the same.
“Offer not accepted.”
No one. Not Moses, Paul, or great Christian parents can get anyone into God’s Kingdom by their own persuasion or conviction. Moses couldn’t save the Israelites and you and I cannot save our children.
Our children can only be saved when they make a personal decision to follow Christ and leave the temptations of the world behind. When God brings our children to the place in which they see for themselves that the world has nothing better to offer them, they will then be ready to place their faith in Jesus. Even then they still have to decide. We cannot decide for them. As parents we can’t get them saved by taking them to church, having family devotions, or sending them on exciting youth trips.
We can’t save them. It is God’s work, not ours, so we should stop trying to save our children.
God has a better idea…
Moses, Paul, and many parents are very similar. Those leaders cared deeply for others and parents care deeply for their children. Many parents would trade places with their kids in order to ensure their eternal home.
Saving yourself might be your child’s best hope.
Even during times of friction between parent and child, the parent still has a much greater influence on the child then is often thought.
Paul made a very strong point to his young protégé in 1 Timothy chapter four.
Meditate upon these things;
give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them:
for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
1 Timothy 4:15, 16
The point is clear.
Work hard at your own salvation; give yourself wholly to it and in doing so you can save yourself and them that hear you.
But wait… doesn’t Paul tell Timothy he can save others by living a dedicated life and preaching about it?
Still, the answer is no.
Salvation is always an individual decision. The greatest influence on unbelieving children is usually their Christian parents but the kids still make the choice. All of us are born without Christ. We decide to follow when the time of decision becomes unavoidable.
Let’s look at some of the great advice Paul gives to Timothy in Chapter four, verses eleven to sixteen. Let’s apply it to our children.
- Teach the Word to our children.
- Be an example to our children.
- Reflect Christ in our words, manners, love, faith, and purity.
- Give attention to reading and studying the bible.
- Spend time thinking about God’s Word and do our best to live it.
- Continue in what we learn and not be a Sunday only Christian.
Many of us are familiar with the phrase, ‘so heavenly minded they are no earthly good.’ I’m not talking about that type of religious fanaticism which some Christians display. That turns people off, and drives many kids to leave the faith when they leave home. Paul taught Timothy how important it is to live a life wholly devoted to Him, but in sincerity.
I think it is one of the best things we can do for our children. As a parent I can choose to follow Christ more closely and set a better example of godliness, or I can ask God if I can take the punishment if my child refuses to follow Christ. God will only allow the former. I will try to save myself instead, because God says that is the choice He offers me. I don’t actually save myself but I can make the decision to follow Him. In turn, I can pray my children will do the same.
Heavenly Father, please save my children. I ask that the life I live will reflect Christ and not be a hindrance to his/her decision to follow you. Help me to set an example in my daily life that points my kids to Jesus, not me. Save my kids Lord! I know you are the only One who can. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
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