Saturday, January 28, 2006

On Becoming a Christian

I have two sons—3 years and 6 months—and like many Christian fathers who believe in the reality of eternity, I pray regularly for their salvation. But rather than praying that they would become Christians, I pray that they already are Christians. If what it means to be a Christian is really more about knowing Christ, rather than simply knowing about Christ (i.e., cognition of mere doctrinal propositions), then whose to say that my sons haven’t already met him? Could it be that they might already have relationally encountered the present, living Christ even while yet unable to fully comprehend exactly who or what He is? (And who really has full cognition of such mysteries anyway? Certainly not their father. Our whole life is always only one of “faith seeking understanding.”)

A baby may not be able to understand cognitively, but he can certainly understand relationally. Even as newborns, my sons already knew who their mother was. To be sure, they couldn't cognitively articulate—to others or themselves—exactly what a "mother" was, but they knew her—her person. And they knew that they wanted to be with her more than they wanted to be with anyone else.

If eternal life consists primarily in our "knowing" God through Christ via the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, then how old must we be in order enter into this eternal life? It seems to me that the defining mark of salvation occurs when we personally encounter the risen Christ in such a way that we intuitively know in our spirit that joyful submission to this One—this Lord—is our only appropriate response. We are wooed by his goodness and thus open ourselves to him, receiving his very life into us.

And so I pray for my sons—that Christ would come to them even now, revealing himself to them through his Spirit and wooing submission from their little hearts. If this little guy could knowingly rejoice in his Lord while yet in the womb, whose to say that my sons can't do the same even now?

Perhaps as parents we have not because we ask not.

1 comment:

The Cubicle Reverend said...

Not exactly a bad thing to pray for. Makes me wish I had knonw Him in my younger and more foolish days. Perhaps I wouldn't be such a foolish adult.