Some people seem to have the absurd idea they are Christians simply because, as they put it, “they were brought up in the church.” They mean by this that their mothers and fathers were members of the church and as children they regularly attend the services of the church. They may be as spiritually ignorant, as hogs, as spiritually cold as proverbial cucumbers, and as worldly minded as infidels, yet because they were “brought up in the church,” they assume the Lord has a reserved seat for them in Heaven.
This reminds me of a joke we read in a recent publication. The story is this:
A man was giving a government clerk information for filling out a required form. When the clerk came to “nationality,” he said, “you’re French, aren’t you?” “No, English,” replied the citizen. “Both my father and mother are English.” “But you were born in France,” protested the clerk. “What’s that go to do with it,” demanded the exasperated citizen. “If your dog had puppies in a stable, you wouldn’t call them horses.”
Some of these “brought-up-in-the-church” folks, on the basis of their reasoning concerning their spiritual state, would very probably call the puppies “horses.”
Brother J. D. Tant, Sr. once told us of an experience he had with a man whose wife was a member of the church. On meeting Brother Tant, he advised him that he was a “brother-in-law to the church.” Brother Tant asked, “How is that?” The man replied, “Well you see, my wife’s a member of the church.” Brother Tant then said “In that case I suppose one could say your wife is a sister-in-law to the Devil.”
Some of the most useless members of the church we have ever known have been those who could have laid claim to being “brought–up-in-the-church.” Fortunately, ancestry in the church is not the standard by which God judges His people. Fidelity to the Word of God is the determining factor in being listed in the divine “Blue Book.” “The Lord knoweth them that are his,” and it is no accident that inspiration appends to this fact the admonition, “let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (II Timothy 2:19).