As a parent, one of the things I am profoundly aware of is that the salvation of my children is entirely in the hands of God. For this reason I pray daily, asking God that they would grow up knowing and embracing the truths of the gospel. Another thing I am profoundly aware of is that the grounding of my children in biblical truth is in my hands. It is up to me, as their father, to teach them great truths about God. It is up to me to bring them to church where they will hear the gospel proclaimed. It is up to me to teach the Bible to them. Indeed, all of this is done within the context of the church, the covenant community of God, but as their father I ultimately either help or hinder their grounding in the truths of our faith.
Their salvation is in God's hands. Their grounding in biblical truth is in my hands. Therefore, I must pray hard and teach hard.
The calling to pray hard and teach hard is applicable not just to parents, but to the church as well. I was reminded of this this morning as I read these words from Starr Meade:
In the first manual of pastoral practice ever written, the apostle Paul defined the church as the "pillar and support of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15). For many of today's churchgoers, a pillar and support of truth is not necessarily what they seek when they look for a church. The first concern may be the warmth of the welcome, the style of a church's music, or the number of weekly activities from which to choose. Faithfulness to biblical doctrine is becoming increasingly rare as the first thing people seek in a church.
The supreme test of a church, however, at least from the perspective of the New Testament writers, is this: Is the church the pillar and support of the truth? Is it thoroughly acquainted with the truth of the gospel as given in the Scriptures? Does it exalt God's Word, giving it the place of preeminence in all its worship and in all its activities? Does it defend the truth at whatever cost, proclaiming it without compromise in a world of confusion and falsehood? Does it call its people to know God's Word for the purpose of faithfully living by God's Word?
In each generation, the church's most critical task is to uphold and proclaim the truth as it was delivered to her by her Lord. One important aspect of this task is the diligent preparation of the church's children to continue to be the support and pillar of the truth in the generation to come. God calls the church of each generation to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). When our children replace us as contenders for the faith, will they have a clear grasp of the faith they must defend? When they replace us as supporters of the truth, will they know the truth well enough to articulate it clearly and to recognize counterfeits?
Starr Meade, Training Hearts, Teaching Minds: Family Devotions Based on the Shorter Catechism (Philipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2000), 1.