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The Children of Christians Are Christians


Copyright © 2004

It is generally acknowledged that when Paul wrote letters to churches, he expected his letters to be read in the worship service to the congregation. It is interesting, then, that when Paul wrote letters to a congregation he could feel free to address children and tell them to obey their parents. Obviously, he expected children to be in Church. He didn’t say “Please copy this down as a memo and read this in the Children’s Church.” He knew that they would be in the congregation as members of the congregation.

In fact, Paul is quite plain that he views the children of Christians as Christians themselves. “Children,” he writes in his letter to the Ephesians, “obey your parents in the Lord.” If children are to be expected to do anything “in the Lord” it can only be because they themselves are “in Christ.” In his letter to Colossian Church, when Paul writes children, he does so for the same reason that he writes husbands, wives, fathers, masters, and slaves: because they are “those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved.”

Because Paul views the children of Christians as Christians themselves, he instructs parents to disciple them as Christians. Fathers are to raise their children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” In other words, we are to disciple them.

It isn’t hard to guess where Paul gets the idea for this sort of command to parents to raise their children as Christians. Consider Deuteronomy 6.1-15:

Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you shall eat and be satisfied, then watch yourself, lest you forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him, and swear by His name. You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the Lord your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the Lord your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.

Here we have it all spelled out for us. Parents are to immerse their children in God’s love and grace and way. They have the covenant promises of God to assure them and their little ones that God loves both them and their children. They must educate their children on how one should live as God’s special possession.

Parents today sometimes resist this because they know that not all children of Christians grow up to continue in the Faith in which they were raised. But text above, from Deuteronomy addresses that issue. God’s love can turn to jealousy if people grow up to reject it in unbelief. The New Testament contains plenty of warnings against this as well. In John 15.1-11 Jesus both assures the disciples that they are, metaphorically, fruit-bearing branches growing out of him, and warns them that if they stop abiding in him that they will be cut out as fruitless branches. In Romans 11.17-22 Paul insists that believers are members of God’s covenant people but warns them of being cut off if they were to become unbelieving due to arrogance. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells them that they are part of the body of Christ and each members of it, but also warns them against idolatry, reminding them of how many God destroyed in the wilderness when Israel was going to the Promised Land and lays before them the threat of provoking the Lord Jesus to jealousy.

We should raise our children as Christians, encouraging both them and ourselves to run the race set before us (Hebrews 12.1).

Copyright © 2004


  1. Yes, but here “in the Lord” means NECM in the Lord not ECM in the Lord (ala GreenBaggins). Can we change our language to be more biblical? NECM= Christians who apostatise and ECM= Christians who persevere?

    Comment by BlackNTanInTheAM — February 9, 2008 @ 5:33 pm

  2. The Bible teaches that evildoers never repented since birth. How then that an evildoer who is grown up say that he/she was a Christian as a child?

    Comment by The Bible teaches that evildoers never repented since birth. how then that an evildoer who is grown up will say that he/she was a Christian as a child? IRISH — September 4, 2014 @ 5:17 pm

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