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When Conversion Does Not Take Place in the Life of the Godly Child
When Conversion Does Not Take Place in the Life of the Godly Child
Not all baptized children come into a personally experienced conversion and faith when they grow up. This should have a humbling, self-searching effect upon us who are Christian parents. Also on Christian teachers and preachers. Is it our fault? We have all done so little to reach the children with the right help and guidance during these critical years.
Nevertheless-even children from the spiritually strongest and warmest Christian homes, and those who otherwise have grown up under the most distinct spiritual guidance-even these must make a personal choice when they become old enough, even though they in the earlier stages lived the child-like life with God.
On this all-important point it breaks down for so many. They fail to choose right--sad to say.
As the children grow, they come more and more in contact with the evil desires they have in their sinful nature. And when then God's Word judges the evil desires as sin against God, and His Spirit then reveals some of "the pit of corruption in me" to them in the age of transition from childhood to youth--then they are moved forward to a definite choice.
Those who then bow in humility before the judgment of the Word, and the light of the Spirit, become brokenhearted and despairing over their sinful condition and are drawn to Jesus in their distress and helplessness--and are saved.
But not all humble themselves and come to the Savior.
In the first place we have those who allow them- selves to drift along into a worldly life and into their own sinful desires and gradually get lost in the great mass of worldly people. Alas, so many in this class!
But there is another class that is getting large in our midst--and dangerous, spiritually speaking.
These are they who in the age of transition get away from the experience of a broken heart and manage to pass by the pain and distress of conversion, but who just the same become the most interested and active workers in our religious church life.
Even these felt--especially in the beginning under the awakening work of the Spirit something unsafe and distressing in their heart, they had no longer the peace of their childhood faith. They began to feel some sinful stirrings in their heart, and they were not so sure any longer whether their relation to God was right. But this was as far as they came on this point. The callous flesh and the temptations of the devil made him stop there--without a deeper self-examination.
When in addition to this the soul-destroying comfort was given to them, that they indeed were the children of God on the basis of their baptism, and that they always had been ''good'' and never gone far away from God then they received a false courage to believe, and not to doubt, that they were right with God.
With this false imagination they settled down. They never allowed themselves to be awakened to a full realization of their sin and their lost condition. Neither did they feel   any real need of the full and free grace in Christ.
In this way the life they had received in holy baptism died out. But they did not know it.
These people are very often full of zeal and interest in all religious work-in Sunday school, young people's work and the different religious societies. They may even take a course in Bible- training and teach a Bible class. If the way is open to go to a seminary and become a minister or missionary, they are certain it is a call from God. Their early training, their religious nature, and pressing requests to be along in the work of the church-all pull in the same direction: To become secure in their own man-made Christianity and to do eager service in the religious church-life.
Off and on it does happen that the Spirit will be permitted to work some unrest and quiet distress in them. But then they construe it to be an assault by the devil-a temptation to ruin their faith.
The confessing Christians, indeed, speak often of these assaults and temptations. This they draw comfort from.
But this is about the only point where they can find a common ground with the true Christians. Otherwise they take a pretty contrary stand against the witnesses of faith.  
While the openly worldly people often have a deep respect and sometimes even a "tender spot" for those who are out and out for Christ, then these busy church-workers often go with a hard and bitter spirit against the earnest Christians. The converted people are really the last ones they can feel at home with.
They themselves are deceived into a false hope and they deceive others by their spirit, their instruction and their example.
How it is all-important that the godly child should be brought forward   to awakening and conversion--so it should not become a half-way, or an in--between--Christian, and gradually slide into a false imagination-slide in on a false foundation--and become a tool in the service of the devil.
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