Do Not Ride Your Parents’ Faith

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 15, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

There is an entire demographic in many churches today in grave danger of hearing the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23: “I never knew you.” Jesus talked about the difference between true and false converts more than any other topic. Most, if not all, of his parable had to deal with that issue. I want to address one particular demographic of false converts: those who claim to be Christian by riding the faith of their parents.

I was reading through the kings of Israel and Judah, particularly studying what their choices and actions were, when this topic got dislodged, and I’ve simply been waiting on the Lord for the right time to address it. The first Bible I ever got was an “Adventure Bible” in the NIV, with commentaries geared for kids. One of the charts in this Bible was on the kings with who they were, how long they reigned, a brief synopsis of their reign, and whether they were a good king or not. That chart had always stuck in my head and as an adult, I am not convinced at the accuracy of that chart, because one king was listed as good, but in actuality was not very good: Joash.

2 Chronicles 23-24 covers the details of Joash’s reign. His rise to the throne is a great testimony of God’s protection of David’s line. Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, followed well in her parents’ footsteps. She sought to wipe out the entire royal family when her son died, and only Joash survived because he was hidden from her. Athaliah ruled wickedly for six years. Joash in the meantime was raised by Jehoiada the high priest.

When Joash was seven, Jehoiada made his move to remove Athaliah and instill Joash as king. She was executed and the idols to Baal were torn down and worship of the Lord was reinstated. It was a great day because wickedness was met with justice, and a king who could lead the people in the ways of the Lord was in power. Joash initially set out to do this. He is one of the few kings who is recorded to repair the temple after years of disarray because of false idols being put there and worse things taking place within those walls. Joash is considered a good king for this, however there was one thing that stood out to me.

We see this in 2 Chronicles 24:2: “Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest.” This is different from any of the other kings who were listed as good. Those kings did what was right all the days of their lives. Joash did not do that which was right ALL his days, and his apostasy began the moment Jehoiada died. He led the people away from God and right back to idol worship. Joash even killed Jehoiada’s son for confronting him. In the end, Joash was assassinated and the end of his reign was so bad he was not even given a proper king’s funeral.

What led to Joash’s demise? It was not because he did not have a good mentor. It was not because he listened to bad advice. It was because he was truly a false convert. The Bible never says Joash sought the Lord. The closest it gets is saying he sought to repair the temple. He did works for God, but never sought God personally.

The man who raised him, Jehoiada, was a good man. He sought the Lord, sought to protect Judah, and taught Joash all the ways of the Lord. He was an old man too and died at age 130. Joash rode Jehoiada’s faith. He followed God’s ways because the man who raised him followed God’s ways, but God’s ways were never his ways.

Ken Ham wrote a book a few years ago called Already Gone. The book addresses the issue of countless youth being raised in the church then leaving it as young adults. Many blame secular education, especially at the high school and college levels for turning them, however Ham suggests the real reason they are leaving was because they never were there to begin with. They knew the language, but they never knew the Lord. They followed their parents’ rules but they never embraced them, and the moment they left the house, their faith was left behind with them… because it was never theirs. This is a pretty good summary of the bulk of the “ex-Christian” testimonies I have heard. The problem is they cannot be ‘ex-Christians’ because they never were Christian to begin with. 1 John 2:19 tells us they came out of us but were never of us.

Teenagers, your parents cannot save you. You will not make it heaven because your parents are Christians. They can teach you the truth, but you must embrace it for yourself. You must own it. You cannot claim to be a Christian just because your parents are, or even just because you go to church. Do not be a Christian in Name Only. It is going to show. Christianity is not a label to wear; it is not statement of beliefs to hold on to. It is a completely new identity, a new nature, and to be very frank, it will make you very different from everyone else. You cannot be a Christian and be popular with the world and be consistent in your life. Pick one to follow, but a word of caution. The world will dismiss you the moment you are no longer beneficial to them. They don’t actually care about you. If you follow God, it will be hard, but he will never abandon his own.

Parents, your kids don’t come with you to heaven just because you are going. They are going to make it on their own accord, on whether they have been born again. Parents, you MUST stop trying to find any remote hint of a sliver that your kids might be saved if they are living godless lives. You cannot hope on the day of judgment that their profession of faith as a seven-year old is going to be sufficient; you are deceiving them and deceiving yourselves. Teach your kids how to walk in faith when you are not around. If your kids have back-slidden, there is a good chance they never were saved to begin with. Teach them what true salvation is and live that faith by your own lives. And this is going to be difficult to hear, but if your child, after doing everything in your power to showcase Christ, still rejects him, that is his/her choice, and it is NOT your fault. If you have sought the Lord in your own life, showcased it before your kids, and they still refuse to walk with Christ, do not blame your failures. It is on them. Keep praying for them, but in those cases, do not pray for them to return to the Lord. Pray for them to meet him in the first place and if that means handing them over to Satan to be brought to rock bottom, then let it be so. That being said, if your children as adults walk with the Lord and seek him, then praise be to God.

Do not be as Joash who only looked God’s direction while Jehoiada was alive. Do not use your parents’ faith to do your work for you. Learn from them, but make your faith YOUR faith. Our kids will face the world one day and I have seen so many, Christian and non-Christian, show up totally unprepared to face it and get swallowed alive. The only way to face this world and survive it is to be deeply rooted in Scripture and anchored to the Shepherd. Your parents can train and prepare you, but they cannot fight your battles in your stead. They can fight with you, but not in your place. Place your faith in Christ, nor your parents’ faith in Christ, and you will see victory. In the day of Judgment, you will hear these words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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