Friday, June 4, 2010

Sharing the Gospel with our Children

I have three daughters and of course I love them very much. One indication of our love for our kids is to protect them. Another is to prepare them for life. However, we should also be concerned that we are also preparing them for death. Now this may sound a bit harsh or morbid, but we should be diligent to share the gospel with our children and urge them toward faith in Christ alone for their eternal salvation. This is the only adequate preparation for leaving this life. Death should not be a topic that is off limits. After all, death is part of life for each one of us.

I received nearly 20 free books at the T4G conference, one of which was Jonathan Edwards on Heaven & Hell. I have only read portions of the book. But one particular section struck me. I want to share a bit of it here. It is an excerpt from a letter that Jonathan Edwards wrote to his daughter Esther in 1755. (It is still possible to write letters in case you have forgotten.) In this letter Edwards was straight forward in his presentation of the gospel. Additionally, he was intentional about reminding her of the inevitability of death. The reason he wrote was to inform his daughter of the death of a dear family friend. Here are his words:

"Though you are at so great a distance from us, and from all your relations, yet this is a comfort to us, that the same God that is here, is also at Onohquaga; and that though you are out of our sight and out of our reach, you are always in God's hands who is infinitely gracious; and we can go to him, and commit you to his care and mercy. Take heed that you don't forget or neglect him. Always set God before your eyes, and live in his fear, and seek him every day with all diligence: for 'tis he, and he only can make you happy or miserable, as he pleases; and your life and health, and the eternal salvation of your soul, and your all in this life and that which is to come, depends on his will and pleasure." pg. 48-49

After sharing the news of their friends death, Edwards makes this direct statement before his closing words:

"We hope that God will preserve your life and health, and return you to Stockbridge again in safety; but always remember that life is uncertain; you know not how soon you must die, and therefore had need to be always ready." pg. 49

These are not harsh words. These are loving words. If we truly love our children we will share the gospel with them often. Moreover, we will do all that is within our power to see that they are prepared to leave this life and enter the presence of our gracious Heavenly Father.

[The house pictured above is The Mission House in Stockbridge, MA built about 1742. It was not the Edwards home while there, but it was around during his time ministering in the area.]

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