As a parent, the thing that caused me the greatest amount of fretting and anxiety was the salvation of my children. Our daughter came to saving faith at a young age (that’s the way it’s supposed to be in a Christian family, right?) But as she entered her early teens, there came a crisis of faith…and I became a mom wringing her hands in doubt, “What have we done wrong? What can we do to make sure she truly believes?” Then came our son. He was 15 and still had a heart in rebellion against God. That REALLY caused a lot of anxiety and thoughts like, “Lord, what can we do to change his heart? If we do (such and such), will you save him?” God, in His sovereign grace, did bring him to true repentance and faith, but it wasn’t in our preferred timing, or because of any merits within us as parents. So, although we are to faithfully instruct and live out the Gospel for our children in the hope that they will embrace saving faith, ultimately, our children’s salvation in the decisive work of God.
That is why I really resonated with this article by Tim Challies, “Setting Up My Kids for Salvation.” He writes,
I trust God with my soul. I do. I have no other hope in life and death but the confidence that I am in Christ for all eternity. I trust God with my soul, but for some reason have a much tougher time trusting him with the souls of my kids. I wonder if you can identify with the struggle.
I am convinced that God saved me by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. I did nothing to merit this salvation. There is nothing in me that turned God’s eye in my direction. There is no vestige of goodness that compelled him to look my way. I was not seeking him when he began seeking me. It was all of his grace without even the smallest bit of my merit. I added nothing to my salvation but the sin that made it necessary.
I believe all this about myself, but somehow find it more difficult to believe when it comes to my children…
When it comes to my kids, I seem to want to believe that God’s action is dependent upon my action. I believe that for God to save my kids, I first need to do the right things. If I want God to save them, I need to cross the spiritual “t”s and dot the spiritual “i”s. And if I don’t, well, their salvation may just be questionable. When it comes to their eternal destiny, it’s like he isn’t looking to their good deeds, but to mine, as if they will be justified by my merit or condemned by my lack of merit.
You can read the entire article here.
(Photo courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)