In a month of considering how God uses generations for His purposes I am drawn to an easily overlooked verse in Acts 2. We often focus on 2:38 to talk about baptism but what about 2:39? Here is what it says,
“The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
God cares about generations as well as the nations.
Our Old Testament Example
The Jewish people have a long history of passing down faith through the generations (Judges might be an exception). And this goes back to how God designed things in Deuteronomy 6:4-9,
“4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
Our faith and love of God is to be purposefully passed down through the generations. This is to be done through the family. God didn’t say hire someone to do it. He said to the parents to do this with their children. Moses couldn’t do it for everyone either!
The new covenant promise in Acts 2 is for the generations. God didn’t design it for a one and done generational move. He embedded in the DNA of his people 1300 years prior (Deuteronomy and Moses) the idea of passing down the faith to the next generation. The same is true today. We, as parents, have a responsibility to pass our faith down to our children.
Sadly, it seems this is happening less and less. Are we in a Judges generation? Have a look at Judges 2:8-12,
“8 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt.”
We see that faith didn’t get passed along…that the ancestors didn’t do their job this time! When they died, there was a generation unprepared. And we see the results.
Are we going through something similar today? I sincerely hope not but sometimes I wonder. And I believe it goes back to the parents being the primary discipler of their own children. We have to get back to God’s biblical mandate on that front! There are many resources on how to do this that we will cover in a future article. Thank you for reading. God bless you.
PS – Did you notice in that verse that God was already laying out the breadcrumbs on reaching the Gentiles? (All who are far off). Have you noticed that Jesus did the same in the Great Commission (making disciples of the ethnos/nations)? The same in Acts 1:8 – “ends of the earth”. It just didn’t come to fruition until Acts 10!