Bible Answer

Can we influence our children’s salvation?

Since we are chosen by the Father before we existed, does that mean we cannot influence the salvation of our children?

Once we understand from the Bible that the Lord is sovereign in all matters, including in the redemption of souls, we naturally wonder about our opportunities to serve Him through our witness. Can we influence others for the sake of the Kingdom?

The answer is clearly yes. We see evidence of this happening around us all the time. In fact, evangelists would have no purpose in the body of Christ were the answer otherwise. Remember Paul’s words:

Eph. 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
Eph. 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

Paul says the church has been equipped with individuals who possess a gift of evangelism, so clearly human beings have the potential to influence others for the sake of the Gospel. Timothy, for example, possessed this ability:

2Tim. 4:5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Likewise, the Bible promises parents they will have opportunities to influence the direction their children take in their spiritual lives: 

Prov. 22:6  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Psa. 78:5 For He established a testimony in Jacob 
    And appointed a law in Israel, 
    Which He commanded our fathers 
    That they should teach them to their children,
Psa. 78:6  That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, 
    That they may arise and tell them to their children,
Psa. 78:7  That they should put their confidence in God 
    And not forget the works of God, 
    But keep His commandments,

So clearly the Bible tells us that we have opportunities to lead others into faith. At the same time, we have many Scripture that teach the Lord alone determines the fate of a person’s soul. So how do we reconcile these two truths? 

The answer is that we are called to witness so that we may influence others, and as we obey this call, the Lord moves behind the scenes to change hearts according to His will. Moreover, He tells us in His word that He is inclined to move positively in response to our obedience. So when an evangelist perseveres in serving God in his gift, the Lord is pleased to move hearts in response to the evangelist’s work. Similarly, when parents obediently and faithfully raise up children in the fear of the Lord, the Lord is pleased to reveal Himself to the hearts of those children. 

His inclination to bring faith under these circumstances is not a guarantee He will do so, of course. Wen know that not everyone an evangelists meets will become a believer, and not every child brought up in a Christian home will come to faith. Ultimately, the Lord is responsible for determining each outcome, nevertheless the Bible calls us to serve obediently in confidence that the Lord is able to save and is included to do so. 

Therefore, as students of Scripture, we understand the Lord is sovereign over outcomes, but we also recognize the Lord’s inclination to bring positive outcomes as we share our faith in obedience to His call.