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Building up believers and the New Testament church

Education of Children

Character Versus Life

There is one more foundational area which we need to mention regarding the training of our children. It is a major area and we cannot expand upon it here, but it is the question of what makes a person a Christian. We cannot train our children to be Christians. Only God can make them Christians, and He does that by making them partakers of His life. Jesus said that He came to give us life (John 10:10). New birth by the Spirit is what brings us into the life of God, and only God can accomplish this work as our children respond to His dealing in their lives. Each one must deal personally with God, and our children are no exception.

One of the major things that we do in preparing our children to meet God is to teach them to submit to authority when they encounter it. When they encounter the authority of God in their lives by the Spirit, the example of our lives and the training we have given them will be strong encouragement to submit their lives to God and partake of His life. However, neither we nor God can force that choice. It is a love relationship entered into willingly, and anything that makes salvation other than a love relationship in the Spirit is not salvation.

We can prepare our children for God in much the same manner that the temple of the old covenant was built under the direction of God to prepare for the presence of God coming to abide. We can build character to a certain point, but then the Holy Spirit must enter into the heart and continue building in a deeper way than parents can. For example, we can teach honesty, but only the Holy Spirit can bring godly honesty into the heart. We can teach our children to be loving and caring to a point, but only the Holy Spirit can bring the real love of God within.

People that have not been trained properly by their parents have a great deal of "unlearning" to do when they come into the life of God. However, if the proper training has taken place, the Holy Spirit can continue the work already begun. Remember, it is the Holy Spirit who is working through the parents in the beginning, so there will be no inconsistency if we are sensitive to God.