What exhortation do you have for young Christians?

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I’d say two things. The first is that these are very challenging days for young people. It’s a very different world from the world in which I was a young person. If you grasp your identity in Christ, you will find that simplifies and clarifies your life. It will make you stand out more and more from your contemporaries who aren’t Christians because they’ve been told: “I have no idea who you are. You have no idea who you are. You’ve got to decide. You’ve got to find your identity.”

To know who you are already in Christ is invaluable. You belong to Him. Any persecution you experience, any demeaning you experience, yes, it will be sore, but you can look up to Him and say: “Lord, I belong to You, I’m Yours, and I know this is about You. You will help me cope with it.”

The other thing I would say is really get to know your Bible. Psalm 119 was written for people your age. That’s why it says, “How can a young man keep his way pure?” (Ps. 119:9). Psalm 119 teaches us that if we hide God’s Word in our hearts, it will not only protect us from sinning, but it will make us wiser even than our teachers. That doesn’t mean you’ll know more than a rocket scientist, but it does mean that you have the clues to the meaning of life and that you learn in Scripture first principles that will enable you to negotiate your way through life. That is such a tremendously stabilizing force.

I would also advise that you really seek to understand Christian doctrine. Understanding Christian doctrine gives you a framework of reference, and most of your peers have no idea of their framework of reference. They don’t have any roots. They don’t have any first principles of which they are conscious. They are awash. They’re blown around, as Paul says, by any teaching that comes along. There is “cool” teaching that you’ll come across—for example, it’s cool to be an atheist today just like it was cool to smoke fifty years ago. But just like it was cool to smoke fifty years ago, being an atheist is going to kill you.

There is a tremendous strength in the Christian gospel, and one of the things our conference time does for youngsters is give them a sense that the gospel has its own intellectual power, and we don’t need to be ashamed of it.

This transcript is from a live Ask Ligonier event with Sinclair Ferguson, and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, email ask@ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.