Monday, December 15, 2008

Handed-down faith

II Timothy 1:5-7
That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith--and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you!

Can we make a new version of this verse and make it "handed down from your Granny Mabel to your mother Debbie, and now to you?

Handed-down faith is dangerous in most instances. I have heard so many people tell about the faith of previous generations in their family like it is some kind of guarantee that they are "saved." That is not what scripture says. Faith is personal, it cannot be a vicarious experience. We can't look at our moms, dad, grandparents, husbands, or wives and claim to be a Christ follower. No one will get to heaven on another's faith.
On the other hand, I have also heard many people tell about the judgemental, hyper-critical, impossible to please parents and grandparents who professed Christianity and turned their children and grandchildren away. I can't think of anything more heartbreaking.
Though faith can't be handed down, the impact of living a life of faith should speak volumes to our descendants. They should be able to look at our lives and see strong evidence that we followed the teachings of Jesus. The important thing is that the ones watching us want the same thing for themselves. As much as we would like, we can't be saved for anyone else.

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