Your kids and heaven

Posted on · Posted in Gospel, Parenting

Are my children going to heaven?

This is the major concern for every Christian parent. If you look to human confirmation for the answer, life will quickly become a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs. The eternal destiny of our children is tied to the faithfulness of God. God alone does what is right and good. God alone, is the savior of people, including our children.

As much as we may want to, we cannot force our children to know God. Ultimately the hearts of our children can only be reached by the grace of God. They cannot earn their way to heaven. Our children, like us, began life as God’s enemies (Ephesians 2:1-3). But God is rich in mercy. He makes his enemies, including our children, alive according to his grace.

What this means for us as parents are at least three things:

Pray

First, we must pray for and with our children. Pray that the grace of God would overwhelm them so that they see that Jesus Christ is their only hope of heaven.

Present the gospel

Second, with great compassion and love, we must courageously and meekly present the gospel to our children in how we live and speak to them. Loving compassion directed by the sword of God’s Spirit is perhaps the most underused weapon in our mission to shepherd the hearts of our children towards Christ. Your children should hear about the gospel constantly. There should never be an occasion where discipline is administered without the gospel. Here is an example of how this works in real life:

Sarah, I know you can’t obey by yourself. I know that. But that is why Jesus died on the cross because we can’t do it ourselves. Remember the Bible says that Jesus died so that we would have new life. You can’t obey in your own strength, but you can obey in Jesus’ strength. Let’s pray right now and ask Jesus to help:

“Dear God, please help me to obey you and love you. I just can’t do it by myself. Please forgive me for hitting Brandon. Please help me to trust you. I know that you are the only one who can help me be different and turn my heart to you. Please help me to obey Mommy and to obey you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Live by grace

Third, live as one who has been rescued by the grace of God from your sin. Your credibility as a Christian and as a parent is tied to your pursuit of God. Jesus says no one can serve two masters. No one has a better view of how real your love for Christ is than your children. You must live as one who has been rescued by the grace of God. Don’t be driven by your own aspirations, pride, grudges, idols, lusts, or by human praise. Your children will know the difference.

To be sure there is more that must be said. However, I am confident that we must start with these three basic concerns. God commands us to live as those who owe everything we have to his grace. May we then extend that grace to our children. We can be confident of God’s faithfulness. What is impossible with us is possible with him. So, to rephrase the question – will God be faithful to you and your children according to his goodness? The answer is yes! To trust this answer requires faith. We don’t know what he will do, but we do know that whatever he does, there is nothing better.

Related resources

Instructing a Child's Heart

Instructing a Child’s Heart

 

Shepherding a Child's Heart

Shepherding a Child’s Heart

 

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.