As I was reading through 2 Timothy today, something Paul said to Timothy stood out to me, and I’d like to share my thoughts about it with you.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

2 Timothy 1:5 (NIV)

It might appear here that Paul is talking about faith as something that could be handed or passed down from one person to another. After all, we know genetic qualities can be passed on to children and grandchildren. Some even claim behavioral traits are literally passed on through genetics as well. What comes to mind is this verse from Proverbs.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)

This verse in Proverbs tells me that there’s more than one way to raise a child. It also tells me that a child isn’t going to turn away from the way they were raised. Even when they are older. There are plenty of people who were raised one way yet have turned away from the way they were raised. I know this verse from Proverbs to be something many Christian parents think about when they’re thinking about their children. Even those that have reached adulthood.

The faith Paul is telling Timothy about is something that he saw in Timothy’s grandmother Lois and his mother, Eunice. How did Paul see their faith? Isn’t faith internal?

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

James 2:18 (NIV)

We see here in James, that faith is quantifiable based on what we do in faith. Our works. However, we know that we are not justified by our works but by our faith. What’s the difference between works done in faith, and not in faith?

But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

Romans 14:23 (NIV)

In the context of Romans 14, Paul was talking about those who have weak and strong faith. How those with a stronger faith ought to behave, concerning food, around those with a weaker faith. Hence, the statement here in verse 23 about eating. However, Paul could have stopped with his exhortation in verse 23 by saying that their eating is not from faith. Yet, we see he does not. Paul says everything that doesn’t come from faith is sin. This is a universal statement.

Faith brings glory to God.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God.

Romans 4:20 (NIV)

Therefore, everything we do in faith brings glory to God. The nice things we did for people before we were saved are good examples of things not done in faith. Sure, it’s great to help an elderly lady cross the street with her groceries, but when it’s not done in faith, it’s not for the glory of God. How could someone, an unbeliever, do anything to the glory of God when they do not believe?

This is the difference between good works and works done in faith. I can do ten billion good works, and they mean nothing and have no value for salvation if they’re not done in faith. However, when I “declare with [my] mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in [my] heart that God raised him from the dead, [I am] saved (Romans 10:9 NIV). This could be the first act of faith for all who believe.

Therefore, the faith we demonstrate to our children when we raise them is something they can learn from and eventually obtain, to exercise when they are saved. We can take them to church, force them to pray, and read the Bible. However, without their faith, these are just meaningless works. This is where I think there’s a problem with what we see when we raise children.

If I tell my son to read his Bible and he reads it, is he doing it because I told Him to do it, or is he doing it because he has faith that, when he reads the Bible, God will do something in him? It’s great when our children do the things we tell them to do. However, I submit to you the idea that an obedient child who does the things we tell them to do isn’t necessarily faith-filled.

If our children see us making decisions and living our lives based on Godly principles and faith we are effectively training them up in the way that they should go. Conversely, if we tell our children one thing; I love God and have faith in Him, and do not show it to them by how we live, we’re training them to be effective hypocrites, not faithful Christians. Should we be surprised when they leave home and turn away from God? The truth may be that they never were turned toward God, so how could they turn away?

So, when Paul tells Timothy he believes the same faith he saw in his grandmother and mother is in Timothy, it’s because Paul saw them demonstrate their faith. If Paul saw it, then Timothy did too. They effectively trained Timothy up in the way of being faithful.

Do you know God? God knows you, and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.