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Children Are Eternal

John Chrysostom (A.D. 340-407) wrote: "We take care of our possessions for our children. But of the children themselves we take no care at all. What an absurdity is this! Form the soul of thy son aright, and all the rest will be added hereafter" (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 13, 1st Series). Our children are one of the most precious possessions we attain through the creative power of God. In the act of procreation we glimpse the shadow of creation as the Creator formed man with His mighty power. "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7).

When a man and woman decide to bring a child into the world, a marvelous thing happens: an eternal being is created. The birth of a child is more than a child that develops to adulthood and then matures into old age. The birth of a child is the creation of a being that is created by God as an eternal person. Death is the separation of the body and the spirit (James 2:26) but the eternal nature of that person continues on. Every child that has been conceived in the womb since the birth of Cain (Genesis 4:1) still exists whether in an abode of joy or place of torment (Hebrews 9:27). All those created prior to the coming of the Lord will exist eternally — without end.

The psalmist declared, "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward" (Psalm 127:3). There is great joy in the birth of a child and there should also be the fearful realization that what is now held in the hand of a father and mother is a person that is largely dependent upon those hands to guide them in the right way. Manoah (father of Samson) understood the gravity of the birth of his son: "O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born. What will be the boy's rule of life, and his work?" (Judges 13:8,12).

As parents, we have one opportunity to frame the lives of our children. Those years pass so quickly. We may have dreams for our children to be successful and happy in many aspects of life but the most important role we have with our children is to guide them to a path that will take them to eternal life. How can we rest at ease when our children are not going to Heaven? The wise man said, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). That is our banner of faith and our work of love to our children. Often the reason we delegate this proverb to a "maybe" is because we are failing in the first part. God meant what He said when He wrote Proverbs 22:6.

While our children are in our home, we have authority over them to train them (Ephesians 6:4). When they leave home, we lose that authority but we still have responsibility to them to guide them. As a parent, you will never lose the God-given role of nurturing and admonishing your child in the way of righteousness (Deuteronomy 6:2; 2 Timothy 1:5). Children inherit our DNA and our manner of speech and while we try hard to dissuade them, they still grow up to be a lot like us. Righteousness is taught; not caught. Our role as parents is to train our children to be eternal people of truth.