My Son’s Salvation

I know that I’m like many parents when I worry about the salvation of my sons. This is nothing new to any believer that has children. I think though that my worries stem more from the fact that I have so little time with them, now that their mother and I are now divorced. I fear what my absence from them, and the divorce will do to their faith.

However, I was encouraged by an article by Kevin DeYoung reviewing the book Families and Faith by Vern L. Bengtson on two points.

The first point the book makes that gives me hope is the section entitled “fervent faith cannot compensate for a distant dad.” I know, the distant dad part does worry me. But the other aspect of this gives me hope. Here is what DeYoung writes:

“Fervent faith cannot compensate for a distant dad.” It’s important for children to see religious role modeling in their parents. But personal piety is no substitute for the quality of the parent-child relationship. Parents who are warm and loving are more likely to pass on the faith than those that are distant and authoritarian. This is especially true when it comes to fathers. A relationally and spiritually distant dad is very difficult to overcome, despite the religious zeal of the mother.

I know there is a lot of distance between me and my boys, but I’m hoping that the LORD will use the aspect of warm and loving to compensate. My inclination has always been to be an authoritarian father, but honestly, I never was very good at pulling it off no matter how many books I read.

The second area that was encouraging to me was the reality that when children grow up to become Prodigals, we should not give up.

“Don’t give up on Prodigals, because many do return.” In Bengtson’s sample, the prodigals who came home were the ones who knew they had parents waiting for them, ready to accept them if and when they returned to their roots. Don’t give up parents. Keep praying and keep on loving.

We need the reminder that just because a child strays here and there, we still have hope that the LORD will bring them back to the faith. Not that my sons have strayed. I hope they never do, and I pray that they will not remember a time when they didn’t trust in Christ. They do confess their trust in them, but I still worry: how much of their confession is genuine faith or just pleasing Dad?

Ultimately, however, my trust in my boy’s salvation is in the LORD. I’m trusting in Him to save them, regardless of all the short comings I may have as their Father. In fact, the more I think of my short comings, the more I trust in the LORD. He is faithful and trustworthy. This is the finality that all parents face. We pray, teach, encourage, point, share as much as possible. But in the end, we must turn to the Father to draw our children to Him.


10 thoughts on “My Son’s Salvation

  1. GOD ALMIGHTY created Adam and Eve and they sinned and GOD is Perfect in all ways so Praise the LORD that HE can us our imperfect life to bring glory to HIM. Salvation is not passed on but it is given by the LORD. It depends on HIM . May we not hinder what HE wants to do in those around us. HE is the heart changer !!!!


  2. FWIW: I am always sorry to hear one Christian downplay another. Doug Wilson is a Christian, does not teach heresy, and though one may disagree with him on this or that, it is wrong to discount him.


  3. If you stacked all my worries up in one pile, and stacked this specific worry up in the other, there would be no comparison. As one who takes Heaven and Hell seriously, I know that the stakes are extremely high. I tend and wait to see what the Lord will do. My son is exceptional when it comes to behavior. He loves to go to church. He is considerably knowledgeable about the Bible, but it is clear to me at this point that is religion is his father’s religion. All boys must transition from their father’s religion to their own real and tangible faith. Until that transition happens, which, in my opinion is near the mid twenties before it settles in, and we know that they are going to be orthodox and not atheists, Rob Bellites, osteenites or pew warmers. I am with you all the way with your concerns my friend, and when I pray for my children I will pray for you and yours as well.


  4. “Ultimately, however, my trust in my boy’s salvation is in the LORD.”

    It is important to remember. I know a father who has a son who walked away from the Lord after appearing to be thoroughly saved. This father knows the Scriptures and reads, “Bring up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” He concludes, “My child has departed. Obviously I did not bring up my child in the way he should go.”

    There are a lot of things we fathers must do and there are no perfect fathers. So we do what we can, do our best, pray our hearts out, even fail when we fail, and ultimately trust in God for the outcome because we don’t determine that. God does.

    The question we have to ask ourselves, in the end, is, “Is that okay with you?”


    • Stan, that is a tough question and I am resting in God’s goodness and wisdom on the matter. I know whatever He does will bring Him glory. But I still pray that He is and will move in their lives and their faith in Christ will be their faith and not mine.


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