In the church we have two rather distinctive groups of members which we call first and second generation christians.

By definition, first generation christians are those of us who were called out from the world into the church. Second generation christians, on the other hand, are those who were raised up in the church by parents who themselves came into the church from the world.

There are several variations to this grouping of members in the church. Some of those variations include -:

What are some of the differences between first and second generation christians?
In Revelation 17:14 we read the following: "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." We know what faithful means in this passage – to be faithful to God's ways to the end or when Christ returns but what do we mean by someone being called and chosen?

Does being called mean the same thing as being chosen by God? We can find the answer to that question in Matthew 20:16 where we read, "So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many are called, but few chosen." It says the many are called not the few and only a few are chosen. So we see that being called by God is something completely different from being chosen.

My own personal view on this is that the calling is a general invitation to all our young people in the church from God where God gives them a partial understanding of His truth. It's a partial opening up of their minds with an invitation to become a converted member. It's then up to those who are called to respond to that calling at their own pace and if they respond enough then God chooses them and gives them a much fuller understanding of His truth.

If you have been raised up in the church what things can you do to deepen your conversion and know that you're ready to be baptized?

First of all, you need to prove the doctrines of the church and not just assume they are correct. Cultivate a love for all the areas of God's truth and not just some here and there. Have a love for all of the doctrines and prophecy as well as God's way of life. Second generation christians need to believe the doctrines and keep God's laws because they've proven them right and not just accept them because their parents believe them.

How can you tell whether you are merely accepting the doctrines of the church and God's way of life because your parents believe them or because you believe in them? Well, I would ask you a simple question, "Is what you believe a conviction or is it merely a preference?" A conviction is a belief or a standard of behaviour that you will hold to no matter what. A preference is merely something you prefer to do that you might change under different circumstances.

You can ask yourself if all your family and best friends left the church would you stay and hold onto the doctrines of the church and still live by God's way of life? Many young people of my generation got baptized because it was the thing to do or because it was expected of them. When the trials of life came later on and when the church changed its teachings they gave up the truth and God's way of life simply because it was a preference and not a conviction. How about you? Would you do the same thing under those circumstances or are you truly convicted of God's way no matter what happens?

If God's way of life and the teachings of the truth are something that you are committed to, no matter what, then you do have the repentance required for baptism no matter how you feel. Attitudes of the heart and the Holy Spirit are spiritual and not something that you can feel so don't get hung up on waiting for a dramatic calling accompanied by great feelings. Only when you receive God's spirit at baptism are you officially eligible for the first resurrection by having God's spirit in you and not just working with you.

If you want to deepen your feelings and appreciation for God's truth then remember contrast is a big key. For those of us who were called into the church many of us know deeply what it's like to live without the hope of God's kingdom and many of us have had first-hand experience at how awful life can be not knowing or living by God's way. Our appreciation comes from the great contrast of knowing what life is like without it.

There is no need if you've grown up in the church to leave the church for a while to prove God's way is right. In Proverbs 1:20 we read that "Wisdom calls aloud outside; she raises her voice in the open squares." It says that wisdom cries aloud in the streets. There's enough evidence in the messed up lives of people in the world, including unconverted friends and family, to prove God's way is right and the world's way only brings pain. If you do leave the church and come back later you will still have to wear the consequences of living by the world's ways. If you speak to those who have done it you'll realize that it's just not worth it.

It's far better to learn second-hand from friends and family in the world as well as people you read about in magazines and see on TV just how bad life can be without living by God's way than to experience it first-hand. You'll spare yourself quite a lot of scars and regrets if you do. If you want to deepen your feelings and appreciation for the truth and God's way of life spend some time seeing the deep contrast of life without it through the lives of others. You'll soon see what a pearl of great price that you have in your hands to know God's truth and be invited to be in the first resurrection if you do your part.

Another point to deepen your conversion if you are a second generation christian is to get to know people older than you, from those in their 20's and 30's right up to our senior members. In Proverbs 13:20 it says, "He that walks with wise men shall be wise." My own observation over the years is that the maturity of young people is often directly proportional to the time they spend getting to know people older than them. Those who spend virtually all their time with their peers tend to be more shallow and less mature.

I would encourage parents to regularly encourage their kids to get to know people of all ages in the church, not just their immediate peers but also those in their 20's, 30's and older and young people, if you spend time getting to know those older than you, little by little, you'll be quite surprised just how enjoyable and helpful those friendships can be.

In 2 Timothy 1:5, the Apostle Paul wrote the following to the evangelist Timothy, "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." We see here that Timothy was himself not a second but a third generation christian having both a mother and a grandmother in the church.

The calling for those who have grown up in the church is totally expected and not so dramatic but it can and should be just as profound. Those of us who came out of the world should appreciate the calling of second generation christians just as those brought up in the church should appreciate the calling of those of us who were called from out of the world.