God’s promise of salvation for ourselves AND our children

July 18, 2012 | 4 comments

Wisdom from Murray {“How to Raise Your Children for Christ”}  series recap:

  1. The Family as God Created It–Earthly fathers reflect our heavenly Father (Adam & Eve)
  2. The Family as Sin Made It-How to remove seeds of selfishness (Cain & Abel)
  3. The Family as Grace Restores It–Abide in Christ to be near you is to be near Christ (Noah)
  4. The Child of the Covenant–How being a parent helps grow our faith (Abraham)

The goal of the book is to help parents who desire holy homes to see how God desires the same thing. To help believing parents focus on God’s purpose for the family and be filled with faith.

Before reading this chapter, I had decided my role in my children’s salvation was to faithfully share the gospel. But ultimately, I believed, salvation belonged to the Lord. If my children did not choose to be saved, that was part of God’s plan and I did not need to feel guilty about the outcome.

Andrew Murray presents a different Biblical conclusion.

He feels as part of the covenant given to Abraham God not only promises to be the God of Abraham, but also of his descendants.

“And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.” Genesis 17:7

He claims the following three parts to the promise:

  1. Certainty–This promise rests on God’s free mercy, almighty power, and faithfulness. We believe God will do what He says He will do (faithful to the promise).
  2. Condition–God offers this promise to the parent and the child under one condition: the parents must have faith in the promise. No belief = no blessing.
  3. Recipient–It’s one act of faith for two recipients. The promise is not based on the child’s faith. It’s “given in light of the father’s faith in assurance that the child will follow.”

His points are hard for me to swallow. Apparently he heard criticism against his conclusions, because he addressed the question, “How can one person believe for another?”

Murray offered this answer: if the basis for faith is God’s Word (the Bible), then why wouldn’t we take the Words of God to Abraham to be true.God’s word in this portion of the Bible is He will be Abraham’s God and will be Abraham’s descendent’s God.

The world gives us the general principle, “if you look for something eventually you will find it.” But our salvation isn’t based on a secular principle. Our faith comes from believing the divine principle, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find.” (Matthew 7:7). When we believe this promise (“seek & you will find”) we find the promise to be true.

“Whenever God comes with a promise, He expects faith to accept it at once.” -Andrew Murray

Just as I believe God will save me from sin. I can exert the same faith that he will save my boys from sin. That my boys are included in the promise, “I will be your God…and the God of your descendants.”

It’s hard for me to have faith in this area. Feels like I need to “do more”.Yet I didn’t need to “do” anything for my own salvation beyond extending faith. So why would I need to “do” anything for my child’s salvation beyond extending faith. So I pray:

“Give me the grace to take this promise and trust it with my whole heart…As sure as is the confidence I have that You have accepted me and are my God, may I be confident that you are the God of my children…I yielded myself all sinful to You, and You took me as Your own. I give my children, all sinful too, to You and believe You do take them as Your own. Give me grace to look on them like You do, as children of the promise.”

“This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.” (Romans 9:8)

What do you think about this chapter? Do you believe your faith secures God as the God of your children? Would LOVE to hear thoughts/arguments about this topic.


  1. Angie Massey

    Actually, I have just read the chapter you are referring to in Andrew Murray’s book and as much as I would like to believe that I can secure salvation for my children through my faith, it doesn’t seem to line up with the whole of scripture. Of course, there is nothing I want more in the world than to be assured that my children will spend eternity in heaven, but I have a hard time forcing faith in a old testament promise that was given to Abraham. Also, if I fail to have “enough faith” in the promise, does that mean that my children will not experience God’s free grace because of me? I have also been reading Spurgeon’s book entitled Spiritual Parenting and it speaks to this issue and gives insight against Murray’s view of “children of the promise”…

    Even under the old covenant there were hints that the true seed was not born after the flesh, but after the spirit, as in the case of Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob. That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. – John 3:6….Not a word in the New Testament shows that the benefits of divine grace are in any way transmitted by natural decent.” C.H. Spurgeon, Spiritual Parenting

    In the end, I will just keep praying diligently for the Lord to save them, putting the gospel ever before them and seeking by God’s grace to “train them up in the way they should go” and “raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”.

    Thank you for your post, It is so good to hear from others as we all seek the Lord’s grace for our children!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Thank you soooo much Angie for commenting. After reading that chapter I wished more than ever I could sit down with a friend and discuss the theology of what Murray was suggesting. I also agree it doesn’t appear to agree with the whole of Scripture. He implies if you are a believing parent you will have believing children. How does that explain friends growing up who had believing parents but they were atheists? Thank you for the quote from Spurgeon. Will definitely add “Spiritual Parenting” to my reading list. 😉 I agree with you. In the end, I will continue to pray diligently for the Lord to save them, keep putting the gospel before them and seeking God’s grace to train them in the way He wishes them to go.

  2. Deb Anderson Weaver

    I believe Scripture teaches the response to salvation is individual. We pray for them, we look for opportunities to plant/water seeds, and we trust in God. He wants people to turn to Him. He moves in their lives till their dying breath. He can be trusted to work in our children’s lives as we pray for them to respond.

    Deb Weaver

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Yes Deb, I completely agree. I had actually never heard of the “children of promise” idea until I read this chapter. Thank you so much for your insight. Truly appreciate it!

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