Where Do My Young Children Stand Before Jesus?
Hi Lauri...greetings : )...Thanks for asking and caring.
First of all, the “sanctified” or “made holy” children (because of the faithfulness of the believing parent) that Paul spoke of to the brothers and sisters in Corinth simply means that God smiles on a household and protects it and loves on it, and provides for it for the sake of the parent that is His. The children are “set apart,” or “chosen,” or “smiled upon” for the sake of the one that is His. This is the same reason that He loves us so much...because of the faithfulness of His Son that we hide ourselves in. Many times God made choices for all of Israel for the sake of “My servant David”—or Moses—or Abraham. Not because they themselves had been faithful, but because He had such love for those that were His, that He smiled upon those that belonged to those that were His. This is not to be confused with “the children are therefore saved because of the parent.” This is NOT the case, as MANY other Scriptures, old and new Covenants, portray clearly. But He does offer His love and provision.
As for how you deal with unsaved children, the major thought is that God CAN hear their prayer if they are sincere and have responded as far as they are able at this point in their lives, as demonstrated by Cornelius. The man was unsaved, yet had an angelic visitation that few saved people have had. God HAD heard his prayer and seen his self sacrifice for God’s sake. However, had he not responded to the Truth from Peter, there is no question whatsoever that his days of being heard by God would have been over.
Application? When our children stop responding to what they know, God’s favor will no longer be with them as it had been. When innocent ignorance (“sins committed in ignorance” as the Hebrews writer put it regarding the children of Israel) is replaced with selfish rebellion or apathy, the problems start.
One of our primary jobs with our children is to reflect God’s character in the consistency and unbiased nature of our love, and the consistency and unbiased nature of our discipline. Another primary responsibility is to let them know, from the time they are very young, that the good news of Jesus’ birth and life and death and coming to life again...means that there is hope to be saved from the penalty of their sin—WHEN they give their lives to Him in the future sometime. Someday, we will tell them again and again, they will realize how terrible their sin is and how much they need a Savior. And then, we tell them again and again, He will come to live inside of them and live His Life through them. This is the good news and the “new deal” that He made with men and children that could not obey God, or their mommy and daddy. So, we tell them they have something very exciting to look forward to. And so, we point them towards the future as we guide and correct and nourish their present.
Just had a minute, but if you will think and pray through what I have written here, you’ll see that I’ve answered all of your questions that you have written, either directly or indirectly through application. I’ll ask God that He give you the liberty and strength and wisdom to raise His children all the better as time passes! Love in Him,
**Note: Some people will say that 1 Cor 7:14 says that children of even only one sanctified parent are “holy before the Lord” and are therefore “saved because of the parent.” Who says that this Scripture has anything to do with Salvation??!! Whoever teaches that does not know the Scriptures or the Power of God. It is totally errant in both logic—and the Greek language. If you read that Scripture to declare that a child is SAVED (rather than “sanctified” as it actually says)—then the UNBELIEVER IS SAVED TOO, by the presence of the Believer. And surely we can figure out that THIS can’t be so! Read it again. This is an inescapable and yet ridiculous conclusion! It is the same word in the Greek! Now how can THAT be??!! Obviously, it cannot, and your definition of “sanctified” (“made holy”) must then be incorrect. It CANNOT mean “saved” (and it doesn’t), or else the unbelieving spouse would also be “Saved”! Soooooo, what DOES the word ACTUALLY mean, if the unbelieving spouse, and the children, BOTH have the same word attached to them (“sanctified” or “made holy” because of the Believing adult in the home)? IT MEANS “SET APART”—just as it always has. It means that God is willing to bless and protect the entire household (not SAVE them all!) because of the Chosen one in the home. He gives his Grace, His favor and kindness and provision to the ENTIRE home, for the sake of the Saved one. This has always been His Way. “For the sake of Abraham, I Will........” “For the sake of David, I Will.......” But in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM is a child “SAVED” because of another—Ezek.18, John 1:12-13—NOT of physical descent, NOT of a father’s faith OR sin.