The older we get, the more we realise that life is all about choices. When we were children, the hardest lessons were those choices we made with negative consequences. Hard lessons often came from wrong choices. The best way to train up a child is to teach, from an early age, all about the consequences of the choices we make.
Heaven is a choice. Every one of us can make this choice, unless there is something within our mental capacity that hinders us from making intelligent decisions. Some may have a mental handicap, and unable to understand reason. In the case of mental handicap, it is only to the extent of one’s physical ability (brain function) to comprehend the consequences of making decisions that we are held accountable. Yet, the ability to comprehend does not mean someone will comprehend. It is the ability, however, the capacity, that makes a person accountable (James 4:17, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.). Someone can wilfully refuse to believe something, or even refuse to comprehend something. That person who wilfully deceives himself is still accountable for his decision. His wilfulness may eventually render him unable to comprehend certain consequences, but his ability to reason, whether he uses it or not, makes him accountable. Children and infants do not have the ability to reason appropriately, “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things” 1 Corinthians 13:11. But for those who are at the age where they can discern between good and evil, right and wrong, they become accountable for their behaviour. Many young adults have to learn this the hard way. Some have a hard time growing out of their child like mentality, and hope to be excused from any accountability by claiming they did not know, or understand. To a child, “out of sight, out of mind” is an understandable defense, but for those who have the capability to see and know, they are without excuse. When we face a judge, the childlike defense for an adult does not work, it is unacceptable; we are tried as an adult, and not as a child. It is no different for us when we stand before the Judge of all Heaven and Earth.
We were created with the ability to think in order to make decisions. Choices are what this life is all about. Our first years in this world were formative years where we learned how to think, reason for ourselves. Our parents job was to provide a stable environment, and instructions, that we might learn to think. Proverbs 22:6 is all about training up a child to think well. “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Not that parents are to force a child to think as they do, but rather, to teach a child how to reason. The invitation from God is that we may all come to Him, and learn of Him. Isaiah 1:18 says to, ““Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though yours sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.” The training of children must begin with accountability, e.g. We are accountable for the sin in our lives.
How do we raise our children to be thinking, reasoning men and women? It is by teaching them, from an early age, the principles of accountability. When a child learns to think, he will not depart, that is, what he has learned will ever be with him. A man may still wilfully choose himself before God, but he is not deceived about it. “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD,”. The problem in many homes is that the parents themselves have neglected to “Come now”. The parent, or adult, in a child’s life must themselves be accountable to God for their own lives, before they can teach this to their children. Is it any wonder that generation after generation of youth led astray by every wind that blows through their world have no real concept of this, when the adults in their lives do not live accountable to God? We cannot teach what we don’t know, and yet, we are responsible for raising up our children in the way they are to go.
The Apostle Paul wrote in his Epistle to the Romans, chapter 1: 18-22, “18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.” God, as Father, fulfils what the scriptures call all fathers to do, and be, for their children. Just as parents are to “Train up a child in the way he should go”, God, our Father, gave us all that is necessary to make the right choices. He gave to us the ability to “Come now”, and learn according to the Reason of the Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. So, for any man to “suppress the truth”, it is a wilful act. It is not something involuntary, nor from some inability to comprehend. Just as a child can wilfully reject the teaching of his earthly father, even though what he learned as a child will never depart from him, because he has a free will, he can, and often does, choose to suppress what he knows to be true. The author of Proverbs 22:6 is an example of this (1 Kings 11). Solomon was the wisest of men, and yet he chose, at the end of his life, to suppress the truth in him. On the Great Judgement Day, even Solomon will be accountable for the unrepentant evil he chose.
There are many reasons why a child may suppress the truth in his life, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians how the company we keep, the friends we choose, can affect our willingness to “come now”. 1 Cor. 15:33, “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Peer pressure can be a powerful deterrent for young people, as well as old, to “come now”.
When God invites us to come and reason with Him, He is inviting us to come, and consider Jesus, His Word, both written (the Bible), and The Word that became a man. John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” The Word becoming flesh was for the purpose of our coming to Him in answer to His call in Isaiah 1:18. The book of Isaiah is a prophetic book concerning the Word made flesh. The person of the Son of God is the “reason” of God. If you want to know how God thinks, look to His only begotten Son. If you want to understand His Ways, look to the resurrected Lord Jesus. He has come to speak by His Holy Spirit, as the living Word of God, as the bases for Godly Reason. Hebrews 1: 1-3, “1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” The “reason” of God, Yeshua HaMashiach, was made flesh, and dwelt among us. Through Isaiah the Prophet of Israel, God called to all who would hear the call, to “come now and let us reason”.
Hebrews 3:1 “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;” Parents can “come now”, and teach their children to “come now”, and “consider Jesus”, who is the Reason of God. Parents can raise up their children to consider Jesus, and learn of Him. Jesus, the Son of God, the only Begotten of the Father, is the example we all have of being accountable to our Father in Heaven. He is the example of a son. He is the example we are to teach our children. And He is the example of who we are to be as adults in the world we live in.
Providing a legacy of accountability for our children is the greatest gift we can give. It is the way in which we all learn to make the right decisions in life. We cannot always make the decisions for our children as they grow up and leave our homes, but we can lay a good foundation for them, if we choose to.