Part of Something Bigger
By Scott James
My children and I talk a lot about personal faith in Jesus. As they grow up in a Christian home, it’s important for me to make sure they understand they’re not automatically saved just because mom and dad are. Salvation rests in Christ, not the family into which you are born. So I show them where the Bible calls us as individuals to repent, believe, and follow Christ; I show them where the Bible warns us not to trust in our family tree or our nation of origin as evidence of redemption.
Balanced with that call for personal faith, however, I also think it’s important to teach my children that we are all part of a bigger story. God does not merely save individuals; He saves a people — the Church. When God saves someone, He saves him or her into a community of believers, a community with local, global, and eternal expressions. If I want to help my children grow in the faith, I need to lead them into “the household of God, which is the church of the living God” (1 Tim. 3:15), because faith is lived out in such a community.
Being an active part of this household of God is vital to my mission as a husband and father. I aim to lead my family away from an isolationist, “us first” mentality and into a rich participation in the covenant community of the Church. I see it as a matter of simple obedience, a way of considering how we can “stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another” (Heb. 10:24–25). I pray for my children to understand that following Jesus involves a life of committed love for his people, the Church.
Pressing in to this covenant community also helps us see how God is beautifully weaving our stories into His larger tapestry of redemption. When my family gathers with our local church in corporate worship, it is a tangible and powerful expression of how God unites people from different backgrounds and walks of life into one glorious body, all in Christ. My children need to experience this corporate unity and understand that following Jesus means adding their voice to the chorus. It’s the chorus of saints gathered with us on a Sunday morning, as well as all those gathered likewise across the globe; it’s the chorus singing down to us from church history, those already singing into eternity. And we get to be a part of it. As much as I want my children to take seriously the call to personal faith, I’m also praying they will find great joy in joining in with this chorus of the household of God.
Scott James is a pediatric doctor and a member of The Church at Brook Hills. He loves helping families grow together in Christ and is the author of several family worship devotionals and children’s books. He lives in Birmingham with his wife and four children.
This article originally appeared in ParentLife Magazine (January 2018) ParentLife.