Pillar Journal

Our Duty to Bring Children to Christ

Here are ten aspects of our duty to bring our children to Christ.

How do we bring our children to Christ today? Before they are born, we should bring them to God in daily prayer; after they are born, we should present them for baptism and reception into the fellowship of the visible church. As they grow, we should engage our children in daily family worship and bring them to church each Lord’s Day, training them to take part in the public worship of God. And we must not give up when faced with the many discouragements that will emerge along the way, persevering in our pleading with Christ for the salvation of our children and asking the Holy Spirit to bring our children into saving union with Christ. We must persevere in bringing our children to Christ despite opposition even from fellow believers who argue from an overly intellectualized view of the gospel that children must attain a certain age, stage of mental development, or level of education before they can repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here are ten aspects of our duty to bring our children to Christ:

1. Be fully convinced that our children need Jesus and His salvation. We can send our children to Christian school, take them to church, and even teach them the rudiments of the Christian faith, but the heart of these efforts must be this message: “Children, you need to be born again; you need Jesus.” As offspring of Adam, our children are conceived and born in sin, are “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3), and therefore cannot enter the kingdom of God unless they are born again (John 3:5).

2. Realize that our children belong to the Lord. Like Hannah we must be conscious that our children are gifts from God to us (1 Sam. 1:20). On the one hand, we must never presuppose our children’s regeneration. On the other hand, we must see that our children are born into a position of advantage: hearing about Christ from birth, being raised in a godly home, and growing up in the fellowship of the church and under the sound preaching of the word. In other words, we give our children back to God, who gave them to us.

3. Surrender our children to the Lord. When we rise in the morning, we bring our children to Jesus Christ, commending them into His hands. Throughout the day we lift up their names to Him in prayer, asking Him to keep them from sin, preserve and protect them at school, and draw them to Himself. When they come home in the afternoon or evening, we receive them with thanksgiving in His name. When we go to bed at night, we bring to God everything our children have done that day, surrendering their sins, our poor family worship, the blots of our entire day, asking for Christ’s forgiveness and cleansing from sin and God’s continued protection (Pss. 66:8–9; 121:7).

4. Speak to and live with our children in a Christ-centered way. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matt. 12:34). It is important that our children know that “the abundance” of their parents’ hearts is faith in Christ, love for Christ, and desire to live for Christ. If we fail at this point, we fail in all, for we show that we are only blind guides and hypocrites who “say, and do not” (Matt. 23:3). Let us model a continual coming to Christ, so that when hard times come, our children will see us seeking Him for “grace to help in time of need,” and when good times return, our children will see us walking by faith (Heb. 4:16; 2 Cor. 5:7, respectively).

5. Strive to make a godly impression on our children with our lives. The Puritans used to compare children to softened wax that takes the image impressed on it by a metal seal. Our children absorb the pathos, ethos, emphases, and realities of who we are—for better or worse. May our lives impress on them the likeness and image of Christ.

6. Show our children reverence and joy toward God. When we commune with Jesus Christ, heart-stirring joy should mingle with godly fear (Ps. 33:18). Our attitude should convey to our children that there is joy, peace, freshness, and reality in our relationship with Christ—not something stale or drowsy, but stimulating. We should instill in our children that the Lord’s Day is the high point of the week, that prayer is a delight, and that singing psalms fills us with spiritual joy.

7. Teach our children the whole counsel of God, both law and gospel. We must teach our children the law to convict them of sin, but we must also show them the fullness of the gospel. The best way to do this is to begin in family worship—eventually reading through the whole Bible with them, instructing them daily in the Word, and looking for situations in daily life to reinforce our biblical teaching. In particular, we should let both the law and the gospel determine the way we administer discipline in the home.

8. Offer our children Christ-centered views of current events. In calling attention to world crises, our community’s needs, and developments in popular culture, we should ask our children, “What does Christ think of that?” We need to let our children speak freely, even if their ideas are childish or wrong, so that we can know what is in their hearts. We can then help them learn the difference between empty worldly values, motives, and endeavors and godly ones that are of real profit. As they are bombarded with negative influences from peers and electronic media, we must teach them by our own choices what is good and profitable and what is at best a waste of time or harmful.

9. Lovingly warn our children about being outside of Christ. Our children must know that even if they are straight A students, the best athletes, good looking, and popular but are without Christ, they have nothing of abiding value and are on their way to hell (Pss. 49:20; 73:27–28). We must lovingly tell them, from the depths of our souls, “You must be in Christ or you will perish.”

10. Become spiritual mentors for our grandchildren. Perhaps your children are grown and out of your home and you are filled with feelings of helplessness about bringing them to Christ, let alone your grandchildren. Take comfort in God’s promise to be merciful to those who fear Him generation after generation, even to their children’s children (Pss. 103:17; 128:6). Teach your grandchildren the ways of the Lord, and who can tell but that their coming to Christ will lead your children back to faith. It is never too late to have an influence for Christ on your children.

Excerpt from
How Should We View Children in the Church?
By Joel R. Beeke

How Should We View Our Children in the Church? – Cultivating Biblical Godliness Series (Beeke) (2051 in Stock)

MSRP: $3.00 $2.25


How should we as parents view our children in the church as we are tasked with bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? How should we as congregants view the children in our churches, whom we have a solemn responsibility to evangelize and instruct? In this booklet Joel R. Beeke discusses theological and practical foundations for raising and nurturing children in light of the covenant of grace.



Encouragement Through the Covenant

Children of the Covenant

The Covenant Promise

Rearing Children by Faith

Bringing Children to Christ


Series Description

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said that what the church needs to do most all is “to begin herself to live the Christian life. If she did that, men and women would be crowding into our buildings. They would say, ‘What is the secret of this?’” As Christians, one of our greatest needs is for the Spirit of God to cultivate biblical godliness in us in order to put the beauty of Christ on display through us, all to the glory of the triune God. With this goal in mind, this series of booklets treats matters vital to Christian experience at a basic level. Each booklet addresses a specific question in order to inform the mind, warm the affections, and transform the whole person by the Spirit’s grace, so that the church may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.



Joel R. Beeke (PhD, Westminster Seminary) is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary; a pastor of the Heritage Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan; editor of Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth; editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books; and a prolific author.



How Should We View Our Children in the Church, by Joel Beeke, is a brief and concise exposition of a paedobaptist and Reformed perspective of children and the covenant. Marvelously concise and practical, this is an ideal gift for parents bringing their children for baptism. There are treasures here to encourage parents in the task of nurturing children for Jesus.” — Derek W. H. Thomas, senior minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina