The sermon at church yesterday was titled “The Dangers of Growing Up in a Christian Home.” The basic premise was that children who grow up in Christian homes get to know about God at an early age. They are often spared from a lot of pain that the world has to offer because they learn right from wrong in their youth. This is a topic I’ve thought a lot about, and my basic conclusion is that knowing about God and knowing God are two different things.
There are a lot of people who claim to be Christians, who have grown up in the church all their lives but have no personal knowledge of God. It’s like knowing about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. You can read all the tabloids, see all their movies, join their fan clubs, follow them on Twitter, even get your hair cut to look just like them, but if you were to show up on their doorstep claiming to know them, you’d be promptly dragged away by their body guards, turned over to the police and imprisoned for harassment.
In the same way, Jesus says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
No child is going to heaven on their parents’ coat tails. Our greatest task as parents is not to teach our children about our heavenly Father, or instruct them in His ways, or to even model good behavior for them, though these are all good things we ought to do. Our greatest task, our greatest privilege, is to introduce them to our Father, the Almighty Living God, that they might become children of God too. What greater gift could a parent receive than to hear their son or daughter told, “Well done my good and faithful servant; enter in the joy of your Master”?