Saturday, May 17, 2014
A friend was curious, quite some time ago, about my interesting view of the state of my children's salvation. Because, you see, I don't profess that many of them are saved. The query has floated around my ever pondering train of thoughts for months until I attempted to put together a response on why I don't pretend that my children are saved.
First of all, it doesn't glorify God to fake our standing with Him. God doesn't mince words, and He's not kidding. This is His kingdom, and He'll run it any way He wants. He says He's jealous, holy, all powerful, wiser than any wisdom we can fathom, and more glorious than we can imagine.
The deeds of mankind, at our very sin-saturated cores, on the other hand, are likened to a woman's menstrual rag. We are called blasphemers, haters of God, wicked and only capable of more wickedness. A somber understanding of ourselves is necessary to realize that a Savior is needed. What transpired in the Fall, and the continuous suffering that resulted because of it, cannot be underestimated. We are sinners. You and I, our sweet dumpling little children as well if they came of our wombs. The church has sanitized our position to the point that we forget who we are.
Until you look down the barrel of your own wickedness, you can not appreciate a Savior who would stretch out His arms and bleed for you, even while you were the enemy, the one wielding the whip and spitting in His face. As sin was put upon the perfect Lamb of Jesus, Holiness turned away so that our sins could be forgiven and we could be welcomed into an eternal Kingdom. Looking at Scripture, acknowledgement of sin is a precursor to salvation. If an understanding of our position with God is not understood, repentance will never be needed.
God takes great delight in how and when He works salvation in His children. It is done on His time table, in His way. The robbing of that privilege is not our place, while at the same time Scripture tells us to seek the Lord and He will be found. God says that it is His glory to conceal a matter and the honor of kings to search them out (Proverbs 25:2). To point out truth to children is to point out their sin, alongside a glorious God who promises salvation, but not on our terms. It is His gift to grant.
Secondly, it doesn't benefit them. Salvation, at its core, from our mortal standpoint, is a very selfish thing. Who do you know that wants all glory to go to God, in all circumstances, even in choosing His elect, even if that glory is most clearly revealed through the unimaginably horrendous truth of the doctrine of Hell? One day every one of us is going to stand before this just God all on our own to give account. Even if the Bible underestimates its inferences to an eternal punishment, none of us wants to get close to the flaming fires that are described. We're all for sliding in to the pearly gates at the end of a self satisfying, lengthy existence here as long as there is an eternity of self satisfaction to look forward to.
But a life that is not clearly being transformed to treasuring Christ does not equal salvation, no matter how many times said person has signed a paper or raised their hands at the Bible camp campfires. Salvation does not depend on mans decision, but on God's. For my children to pretend to themselves that God has saved them, or worse yet, for me to pretend for them, does them no good now or, especially, eternally.
Lastly, pretending that they are saved when there is no evidence, has no benefit to others. If, as a Christian, I attempt to raise my children according to what Scripture says, and if I allow anything else but the Bible's description of salvation to be portrayed while I am toting the good life, and if I neglect to confront them on their own state of salvation, I have not only damned them but anyone else that they have one iota of a godly influence on in their young lives.
Take Trent's life for instance. People assumed that because he was young he went to Heaven. That isn't what Scripture says. Try as I might, I can find no verses that say all twelve year old boys go to Heaven. I do find verses that say that salvation is only offered through the atoning blood of Christ, it is granted by God, by His grace, and the result is a professing of our mouths and lives that reveal the work God has done. That work was revealed in my son's life through his confession of his sinful state and the realization that he wasn't right with God. The confession of that sin, and his desire for a Savior, was the work of the Holy Spirit so that this young boy could boast in nothing but the grace of God.
It's pretty simple: No transformation, no salvation. Our carefully scripted prayers have nothing to do with providing salvation other than to point to the grace of God. They are not the means, but the result, of God's preordained work. That is why it is so glorious, because it's all about God, not us.
Am I my children's judge? By no means. Am I their mother, who has been given the task of pointing these young people to their only hope for salvation as Scripture lays out? Absolutely. Do I strive as in labor pains for the transforming work of the Spirit in their lives, being brought to my knees in tears begging that God would grant them hearts for Him as their ultimate delight? Every day. Why? Because there is no greater joy that I long for them to have than to know their Holy Creator.
Monday, May 5, 2014
Sometimes, life has a way of zooming on by without bothering to ask if we can keep up or even looking back to see if we're buckled in for the ride. The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of exhausting, amazing, satisfying, God filled, as well as plenty of mundane, activities. One of the highlights of those frenzied activities was running the 5k race.
I survived. I did not come in first. I did not come in last. I did take a wrong turn and instead of running 3.1 miles, I ran more than 3.1, but whose counting?
On so many levels, the activity of running grows and stretches a person. It was growth far beyond the new muscles and the shin splints that kept this middle aged woman putting one step in front of the other. Some stubborn determination to finish what I said I'd do was definitely a part of it, with perhaps some pride mingled in to show the kiddos that I could actually make it. But the best benefit was the spiritual aspect.
Out there on that course it is only your sheer determination that gets you to that finish line. Only the hope of actually seeing those flags flying, possibly around the next bend, keeps you from laying down in the ditch and instead forces you to keep going. Half way through the race I was overwhelmed with why I was out there. The race was in honor of keeping the legacy alive of another little boy who left his momma's arms sooner than she expected. It was a race to honor our children who are not with us.
I was a mother running in honor of my son.
My arms raised as my soul felt again the impact of that reality. That finish line became synonymous with the ultimate finish line of Heaven and the sting of that strained muscle in my thigh became the ache of grief; the ache that hasn't dissipated even after three years and I assume will probably never totally dull. But as it has been a joy to look back upon the accomplishment of crossing that finish line, so will it be a joy to cross over the finish line of eternity when God calls. To look back, to see the ache as a vague memory that was nothing compared to the victory, to look ahead to glory.
So I'll keep running, both physically and spiritually as God leads, because eventually, possibly around the next bend, I'll see those flags flying.