Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lie No. 30: I Know My Child Is A Christian Because He Prayed To Receive Christ At An Early Age

I'm going to deviate a bit today from parenting and address this from a more general standpoint. Since Patrick is not old enough for this to be something I can relate to as a mother, I am going to talk about what I can relate to, and what I think we all will be able to relate to, no matter where we are in life. So as you're reading today, think about how this message applies to your friends, your family, your children if you have them, and even yourself. While we can know with absolute certainty that once we make a true profession of our faith and a true conversion takes place within our hearts, we can never lose that secure salvation, we must ask ourselves and evaluate honestly whether that genuine conversion ever actually took place or not. And I think we would all be shocked at the number of professing Christians out there who quite possibly never really surrendered their lives to Christ and are in danger of spending eternity apart from Christ.

Here are a few quotes from DeMoss's book on the issue:

"However, the Scripture is clear that a person may know all about God, say all the right things, and even have deeply religious experiences- without ever being converted....

The essence of true salvation is not a matter of profession or performance; rather, it is a transformation: 'If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!' (2 Corinthians 5:17). The man or woman who has been truly converted has a new life, a new heart, a new nature, a new allegiance, and a new master: 'For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves' (Colossians 1:13)....

For parents to assume that their children have been born again when their lives give no such evidence can have several dangerous results. It can lull those children into a false sense of security about their eternal destiny. It can keep parents from praying appropriately and waging spiritual battle on behalf of their children's souls. It gives rise to a form of 'cheap grace' that demeans the person and blood of Christ. It fills our church pews with members who think they are OK. They believe this even though they have no relationship with Christ and their lives are blaspheming the Word of God and causing the world to wonder about what Christianity really is.

It is certainly possible for those who have been truly converted to disobey God or to have a period of backsliding. But no true believer can sin willfully and habitually without experiencing the conviction of God's Spirit.

The Truth is, no matter how 'house-trained' a son or daughter (or a mom or dad!) may be in spiritual matters, no matter how fervent they may have appeared to be at one time, if they do not have any heart or hunger for God, if they have a consistent pattern of rejecting the Word and ways of God, they need to be challenged to reconsider whether they were ever really converted in the first place."

The evidence of true conversion in a person's life can be seen in the fruit that they bear. And that fruit, in the simplest terms, can be found in Galatians 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." One test of a true conversion in a person's life is to look for these character traits as evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in their life.

Here are some other verses that tell us what the evidence of a true conversion looks like:

"For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end." Hebrews 3:14 Has that initial "spark" faded? Was there perhaps a strong emotional experience that occurred at one time that lacked a true conversion? We all go through dry spells at times, but if there is a brief time period of extreme excitement followed by an unending period of complacency or a return to old habits and priorities, it may be safe to assume that this person never really committed their life to Christ.

"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him." 1 John 2:3-5 As I have stated many times before, our actions or lack thereof, do not save us. However, faith without works is dead, and if we are truly a follower of Christ, that will be reflected in whether or not we obey his commands. This is a sensitive area because there have been many people, especially in current times, who would like to try to redefine the definition of sin as it applies to our lives today to make it more relevant, more culturally acceptable, and more comfortable. I will say it again: WE MUST USE THE BIBLE AS OUR ONE AND ONLY STANDARD, and we have to be honest with ourselves about what God considers to be sin, which is a much more broad definition than most people would like to believe. A lot of people have tried to narrow sin down to only be the really "bad" things, excusing away all the rest of it as just being "human." Please be very careful in how you define sin. Sin should never be comfortable, and if you have the Holy Spirit living in you, you should sense that conviction when you are doing something that is displeasing to the Lord. Just because you have justified something to yourself does not mean that God doesn't see it differently. And if you are living your life in repeated sin in a particular area, and not experiencing that inevitable conviction, you may be in danger of not actually having the Holy Spirit within you. It is also quite possible to willingly push that conviction aside, but that is a topic for another post.

Be very discerning when making assumptions about whether or not you or someone you love is actually a Christian. Never simply assume that the people you love are eternally secure. Pray fervently for your children, your family, your friends, and be honest with yourself about your own walk with God. It is a very healthy and normal thing to wonder about these things. In fact, if it never occurs to you to ask these questions, even if you think you already know the answers, your salvation may not be as secure as you think. YOU CAN NEVER LOSE YOUR SALVATION, but it is very possible to believe you are saved when in fact you are not. This is not an issue to take lightly. It is the single most important thing in your life. Treat it as such.

"For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person- such a man is an idolater- has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient." Ephesians 5:5-6

1 comment:

  1. This is very true, Tarrah...every year on Amy's and Molly's spiritual birthdays we had a party at home...a re-dedication if you wlll...I would get them a new Bible, video, and as they got older a CD or a book they wanted. Now I do gift cards to the Christian store. Not to say there was nothing the rest of the year, but yes, the fruit must be there always. That was just our way of acknowledging the first time they invited Jesus in their hearts as they were so young...Amy (4) and Molly (2)