How do our children come to faith in Christ? I am blogging on a series of six interviews with Jim Elliff on the Family Life Today radio broadcast. Ryan Kelly, who has linked to this whole series, writes
I cannot recommend these talks enough to any parent wanting to be thoughtful, careful, and prayerful in the salvation of their children. They are also helpful for thinking through the gospel, conversion, and assurance for ourselves and at any age.
In this interview they discuss specifically how children come to faith in Christ. Jim and Dennis focus upon how we live out the gospel before our children.
Dennis: Jim, illustrate from your life what it means to you to live the Gospel out in front of your kids. You’re just not talking about taking them to church and doing good works in front of them. It’s much more than that, isn’t it?
Jim: It is much more than that. I like to say sometimes that we really live out before our children the implications of the Gospel. For instance, if we say our response to the Gospel should be one of repentance. Well I have to ask myself, “Am I a repenting person? What sins have I repented of?”
This conversation gets into a number of practical examples of this truth, of living out the implications of the gospel. But they also touch on the risk of not living out what we tell our children. Bob Lepine, the co-host of this program, asks this question:
Bob: I want to ask both of you a question, and, Jim, I’d ask you to respond to this first. What is the implication of a mother or father who is doing a good job of explaining and teaching the Gospel to her children or to his children but failing in this area of modeling the Gospel? In other words, they are getting the message through, but they’re not living it out consistently. What’s going to happen to those kids?
Jim: Well, they’re actually doing a very negative thing. The momentum is moving in the wrong direction, for to speak the truths of the Gospel and not to live them is to really damage the child. The child will then become hardened and will see the hypocrisy, learn to live with it, be comfortable with it, will start modeling it, will think that’s what the Christian life is all about. It’s just speech and no life. The truth is in the reverse, isn’t it? It is a life, and part of that life is the speech, which flows.