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Summary: Children raised in a godly environment are advantaged in learning of Christ the Lord.

“I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” [1]

The way of salvation is taught by godly people; but the Spirit of God must make the dead individual alive in Christ. We cannot be educated into the Kingdom of God; however, we can witness the Faith lived out in the daily lives of righteous individuals. Witnessing such righteous lives, the Spirit of God can create the desire to come to life in Christ. A child raised in the presence of godly parents will not easily run from the Faith as that child matures.

Paul has written, “[If] any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy” [1 CORINTHIANS 7:12-14].

Paul is not suggesting, as some have erroneously argued, that children of Christian parents are saved because of their parents. Rather, he is stating that children raised in a Christian home have a significant advantage in the matter of coming to faith; they are raised in the presence of a righteous individual, witnessing the impact of the Faith on that parent or those parents. This is a significant advantage, even if it is ignored in contemporary Christian life.

For the benefit of our families, to encourage those who have influence over children or grandchildren, I present this message in hopes of making our family life stronger. My purpose is to encourage godly homes in which our youth come to faith in the Risen Saviour early in life.

PROVIDE A GODLY MODEL OF RIGHTEOUS RESPONSES TO LIFE’S CHALLENGES — Paul commends Timothy for his “sincere faith.” The word translated “sincere” [2] occurs but six times in the New Testament. The Apostle admonishes the Roman Christians, “Let love be genuine” [ROMANS 12:9a]. Paul appealed to several evidences when arguing for the validity of the message he declared; one evidence was “genuine love” [2 CORINTHIANS 6:6]. Earlier, in his First Letter to Timothy, recall that the Apostle attested, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” [1 TIMOTHY 1:5]. James will contend that the wisdom from above is “impartial and sincere” among other characteristics [JAMES 3:17]. And, finally, the Big Fisherman will urge believers, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart” [1 PETER 1:22].

From a philological point of view, the Greek term anupókritos means “lacking in pretence or show,” hence, “genuine” or “sincere.” [3] In the passages cited, this word qualifies love (either agápe or philadelphía). Thus, we see that Christian love arises from an open heart without ulterior motives. Likewise, when Paul uses this word to speak of the faith sought, it speaks of faith that is not affected by expediency. True faith grows out of the union of the believer with the Living Christ; it is rooted in the heart and is expressed by a transparent life.

Though it is not intended to be the focus of this message, I do not want to pass too quickly consideration of the type of faith that causes joy for the follower of the Christ. I believe it will be beneficial for us to note even briefly the quality of faith that should be sought in each disciple’s life. Godly faith, as is also true of the love Christians are to express, must be genuine. We are neither to feign love, talking a good game while refusing to live as though love meant much, nor are we to love in order to receive. The love we express to one another as followers of the Christ must not be contingent on how that love is received.

Much of what is identified as “love” in modern culture is offered on a quid pro quo basis. The concept is that I will love you so long as you are worthy of my love or you love me in return. Do we Christians need to be reminded that we do not deserve Christ’s love? He loved us when we were unlovable. Scripture is replete with passages teaching this truth. For instance, we are taught by Paul, “While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” [ROMANS 5:6-10]. God’s love was showered on fallen mankind, not because we deserved His love, but because He was revealing His love toward us through providing atonement for those who would receive it.

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