Monday, September 10, 2012

“Acts 16:31 says, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ Does this verse promise my children will automatically be saved because I am?”

This verse is commonly misinterpreted to give Christians an ungrounded hope for family salvation. This verse does not conclude that if you are saved your family will automatically be saved. I know how for some of you this may be heartbreaking, but it is the truth and it should be said. There are two possibilities of this passage’s intended meaning, and neither of them are promising family salvation. One possibility is this verse is misunderstood because of how it’s deciphered. Paul could have been simply stating that if the jailer would believe he would be saved, and if his family believed they would be saved too. A modern translation could put the syntax as “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you’ll be saved, and the same goes for your family.” The other option would be that this is a word of prophecy, such as the case may be in Acts 11:14. What it comes down to is each person must individually decide to follow Christ or there will be no salvation. If that weren’t the case and the common dogma were true: that God forces every Christian’s family members into salvation, then by this time the entire world would have been saved by simple breeding (through birthright relative salvation). However, that clearly isn’t the situation. Pray for your family, and live a sold out life before them, but ultimately the decision is theirs to make.