Assurance of Faith, For Our Children

Dear Reader,

In a previous post I talked about how we tend to struggle with our assurance of salvation and how this reflects our lack of trust in God’s ability or willingness to preserve us as His people (that 5th point of Calvinism: Preservation of the Saints).

For myself, I sometimes ask myself “am I really saved?” since I see my own failings and lack of sanctification. But I find that I do not question other people’s salvation very often if at all. Somehow it is easier to see the progress or holiness of others. Or perhaps it is just less easy to see their inner failings.

But when it comes to our children, I think we all view things differently. Our children are close to us, and we are all naturally concerned to see them saved, to know they are and will continue to be safe with their Lord. This need for assurance on the part of parents leads many to obsess about whether their child has made a real commitment to the Lord. So we encourage them again and again to commit their lives to Christ.

A lot of this of course comes from a  wrong theology to start with. Our children cannot save themselves nor can we save them no matter how much we may want to. Just as our salvation was a work of God from start to finish so must theirs be. And as with all His works, God will not quit halfway.

I believe that God is faithful to families. He instructs us to come to Him by households; He includes our children in His covenant. For this reason we baptize our children, as a sign of their covenant membership. But we must also treat them as members of the covenant. We must not always be calling them to join a club they are already part of. Instead we should be treating them as members, discipling, training and teaching them, but not continually calling them to sign their membership cards anew.

I fear that if we are always expressing our own misgivings that we may turn them into people like so many of us, who question ourselves (and our God) at every turn.

Now I don’t want to go too far with this. There is certainly plenty of room to stumble on the other side of the fence too, to trust in our own perceived virtue or church attendance or family and to become spiritually proud. Paul said we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling. And as usual, he has probably said it best. There is something to be fearful of here. We must not take God’s work in us for granted. But at the same time, we must behave as saved people (and treat our children as saved people) and keep moving forward rather than always seeking assurance by turning backwards to the milk when we should be chewing on solid food.

Nebby

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