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One balmy Summer day in 1997 Rita Rupp (57) from Tulsa Oklahoma, was on a lengthy road trip with her husband Floyd (67). For no reason in particular, she began to sense that they may be in danger. She started thinking, ‘What if someone hijacks our car and kidnaps us? No one even realize we’re missing for days, and no one would come looking for us.’ So she hatched a plan.

James S. Stewart wrote that “union with Christ, rather than justification or election or eschatology, or indeed any of the other great apostolic themes, is the real clue to an understanding of Paul’s thought and experience” (A Man in Christ [Harper & Bros., 1955], vii).

John Calvin said that union with Christ has “the highest degree of importance” if we are to understand justification correctly (Institutes 1:737).

John Murray wrote that “union with Christ is . . . the central truth of the whole doctrine of salvation. . . . It is not simply a phase of the application of redemption; it underlies every aspect of redemption” (Redemption—Accomplished and Applied [Eerdmans, 1955], pp. 201, 205).

Over the past year of ministry I’ve come to recognize a troubling tendency in myself. It’s a tendency toward what you might call vicarious faith. My confidence in the power of God’s Word—of its truth, its beauty, its relevance—is far too closely tied to the visible faith of those I serve as they respond to the Word.

When people connect with what I preach or teach or counsel from Scripture—when they get it and love it—my faith in the Word is strong. When what I say doesn’t seem to resonate—when it comes off as abstract, unbelievable, impractical—my faith in the Word tends to shrink.

I call this vicarious faith because it’s mediated and indirect. It’s not faith rooted in the Word itself. It’s faith tethered to the results of the Word I can see with my eyes in the faith of others.

This is a plea from the younger generation to the older. We desperately need you.

Please don’t phone it in just when the King’s about to call. Don’t retire on the world’s terms and abandon your long-time local church.

As the tsunami of the Baby Boom begins to flood the shores of retirement, please don’t leave us Millennials to fend for ourselves and make the same mistakes all over again. Join John Piper in rethinking retirement, and complete the course, all the way to the finish line, proclaiming Jesus’s might to another generation (Psalm 71:18).

Knowing we are not God and cannot see the heart, I believe there are still evidences we can see and know to help us discern a child or teenager’s conversion in a similar way we try to do the same with adults.   In the spirit of Jonathan Edward’s 5 signs of true conversion, here are 5 evidences that I try to use as a template as both a parent and pastor in wrestling with this issue.