Friday, February 22, 2013

Day 13: Parent, The Teacher, Part 3

*Disclaimer: This post is long. I know that. I'm asking you to consider taking the time to read every word, slowly. I really feel like this is the essence of Grace Parenting. It's the foundation all of the other thoughts, tips, and methods are built on. With that in mind, I'm asking you: Please don't skip this post. 

Last time, we talked about the importance of teaching our children in the areas of education and emotions.

Today we're going to talk about how we can teach our children spiritually.

Because, in the end, if we have gained the whole world, but lost the soul of our child....we have truly lost it all.


Many parents talk about God with their young children. It goes something like this:

"Johnny, what you just did was BAD. Jesus is sad now. You don't want Jesus to be sad, do you? Well, then, you need to obey."


"God hates lying. The Bible says 'XYZ' about lying. You better never lie again."


"God punishes me when I disobey Him. That's why I have to punish you now."

Each one of these scenarios (while mixed with some truth) is NOT giving our children the gospel of grace.

It is using God as a discipline threat.

We shouldn't be shocked that teenagers are running as fast as they can from a God who is viewed as nothing but a sad, angry, disappointed disciplinarian.

The question is, then,

How can we point our children to the true, living, grace-filled gospel of Jesus Christ?

First, we must define what the gospel IS and what it is NOT.


The gospel--in a nutshell--is that God, the creator of the universe, had a plan when He created everything.      The first man, Adam, was sinless until he ate of the forbidden tree. Every human since Adam has also sinned against God.

God set in place the beginning of His plan for mankind: a way of atonement, through a sacrificial system, to offer forgiveness for those who broke God's laws. A person would bring a lamb to the high priest to be slain for his sins. Atonement was found in the blood that was shed. (All of this is found in the first three books of the Bible.)

For thousands of years (as documented in the Old Testament), this sacrificial system remained in place. With a few exceptions, most believers in the true God were Jews. But all through the Old Testament, starting with the fall of man, we see the promise of a Messiah.

At the appointed time, God sent Jesus, His only Son (and equally God AND man) to this world, as He had promised. Jesus, the Messiah, became the once-for-all sacrifice that ended the need for the original sacrificial system. His blood was shed when He was crucified (He became the lamb) and He ended the need for a high priest. Believers can now come boldly to the throne of grace! 

Jesus died, was buried, and rose again, and seen by many before His return to heaven. He left us with a new promise, that He would one day come again and bring all believers to live with Him eternally.

Forgiveness of sins--for all people, of all nations-- is now found ONE way: through redeeming faith in Jesus Christ.

I love this passage:

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. BUT God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were YET sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath to through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that ALL have sinned....For if  by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the FREE GIFT came upon all men unto justification of LIFE. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered that the offence might abound, But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5)"

The Gospel: Jesus died, was buried, and rose again the third day. Forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven is found only through faith in the gift that Jesus offers.



The gospel is not found in church membership. Or baptism. Or communion. Or mass. Or good works. Or giving of your money. Or because your parents were Christians. Or by following the law.

There is NOTHING we can do to earn our salvation. 

It is a GIFT. It is not earned. We cannot do enough "good" things to earn our salvation. The work has already been done! Now, true saving faith will be known "by its works" other words, our faith is shown by our love and works for God, but only HE can do the work of redemption and forgiveness of sins.


      The Gospel of Grace In Our Parenting

I'm sure by now you're wondering, Where is she going with all of this?  

Stay with me, cause this is where it gets good. :) These thoughts revolutionalized our parenting and revitalized our relationships with our children.

Many parents give their children a rule (law) to obtain, blame it on the Bible, punish every single infraction of that law, and teach the child to try even harder next time.

Why is this so against the gospel of grace?

Because without the gospel, they will never be more than moral hypocrites, full of righteous pride, yet completely empty inside.
You see, if we cannot work hard enough to please God, why are we teaching our children that they should?
We are giving them the law--"Work very hard and maybe you will eventually please God and your parents."--instead of the gospel of grace: There is nothing we can DO to earn God's approval. It is ONLY through His power that we can choose righteousness.

We do right because it shows our love for Him and for others, not because it earns His approval or makes Him "happy".


Why is this so important?

Many children are raised in an atmosphere of perfectionism.

They never measure up to God or their parent's approval.

They spend their childhood frustrated that they are never "good enough"....and these feelings carry into adulthood, causing relationship and spiritual problems.

Perhaps this rings true for you. Maybe you remember all too well the feelings of inadequacy. If you were raised under a harsh, law-filled parenting style, you can vouch for what I'm trying to say. You know what it feels like to think that ADULTS can fail, but children must be perfect.You know the pain of not measuring high enough.

I believe part of the problem is that we make the mistake of teaching our children that they must succeed at being "good" in order to meet the approval of God and man.

The truth is, they will NEVER be truly good. Instead, they will spend their life failing, seeking forgiveness, and trying again. They will need to daily seek power and wisdom from the Holy Spirit, and even then, they will still fail.

The goal, then, is not perfection. It is a right relationship with both us AND God.

With this in mind, it is SO vitally important that we raise our little ones in an atmosphere of grace, second chances, forgiveness, and restoration.

We need to teach our children that they will always fall short of God's perfect standard but that HE finished the work of salvation at the cross, and that His love for us is not altered by our behavior. Our treatment of our children should mimic His.

God wants willing hearts, not perfect actions. We must focus on their hearts, not merely their behavior.

We cannot afford the high price of teaching them a false gospel---their very souls are at stake.

Thank you for sticking with me in this long post. :) My heart longs to offer encouragement to you on your parenting journey. Blessings!


  1. I love your heart for your children. I appreciate how your example and willingness to share is effecting (my) growth in my home.

    Sorry, I'm still on the same page/thoughts as my comment on your Day 12 post b/c I'm reading these at the same time. That said, I have to challenge your doctrine which actually is quite contradictory...

    Christ loved and died for all, yes? Will all be saved/in heaven? Matthew 7:13-14

    If his death is all that was required to save souls then why would anyone be lost? Was he not powerful enough to "snatch" everyone out of Satan's hands?

    It's such a fine line/strait gate and Satan only needs us to take one tiny step off of the path of truth to be walking in a direction that leads away from the gospel of Christ...

    We agree: Jesus's death was sufficient to save all. There's is nothing a human can do to save themselves. It is the Holy Spirit that woos us to come to repentance in the firs place.

    So I have to ask again, WHY will people be lost??

    While good works are a result of a relationship with Jesus there is still choice involved. We don't become robots once we accept Christ's sacrifice in our stead. (BTW, Jesus IS our high priest. Hebrews repeats this many times. The sacrificial system did not save anyone it was only pointing forward to Christ. It was God's way of explaining to/showing the people then HOW he was going to save them. Salvation has ALWAYS been thought faith... Old or New Testament.)

    Jesus saves, but he requires willing hearts. We are supposed to know people by their fruits. Matthew 7:16-20 If we do not choose to undergo the transforming process that Christ wants to do in us then we will not have good fruits. There are not "corrupt trees" because Jesus' sacrifice was insufficient. Predestination is a doctrine of the Devil.

    Faith and works is such an easily misunderstood/hard to comprehend issue, no wonder it was covered repeatedly by the Apostles.

    I challenge you to take another look at the version of the gospel you shared. You cannot have faith without works. You cannot have works without faith. The two are stuck together like glue. That is the gospel. If "works" are such a by-word then these verses don't make sense:

    "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Revelation 22:14

    "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12

    I understand what you're saying... that we can't hold our children to a certain standard and judge them by works only. God does not judge us by works only. However, He does not judge us by faith only either and that is such a dangerous doctrine to teach.

    I personally did not realize the difference or that there were basically two different and distinct gospels that make up the Christian church. This video/sermon/lecture fully explains both and if you watch it I think it will better explain where my belief differs from yous. I would truly like to not be misunderstood, but I think I've already kidnapped enough space in your comment section. (I don't pretend to be perfect or have complete understanding.)
    If the link doesn't work just seach on for:
    Dennis Priebe Will the Real Gospel Please Stand Up

    1. Jessica,

      Thank you for taking time to post and for your kind words. My heart's prayer is that this blog is an encouragement to other mothers on their parenting journey.

      It is natural that my faith and doctrine come up in my posts---they are my foundation after all. :) I know we come from two very different denominations. I am not completely educated about 7th Day Adventists, but I am somewhat familiar with your doctrine. I'm sure we both realize that our doctrine does not line up with each other. I'm happy to share what/how/why I believe what I do, but I think that would be a conversation best held in a private setting. I don't desire to have a huge doctrinal debate during my parenting series. That being said, I'm stil glad you commented. :)

      Okay, the faith/works thing. I believe we are SAVED by faith in the true gospel of Jesus Christ (that is, that God came to the world in human form-Jesus-, lived a perfect life on earth, that He took the sins of the whole world on His shoulders when He died on the cross, that He rose again the third day and later ascended back to heaven). We cannot do enough good works to work our way to heaven. "For by grace are ye saved through faith, not of works lest any man should boast." Eph 2: 8,9

      I agree, however, that we cannot and should not live a life unto sin, simply because we are already saved. Romans 6 clearly addresses this issue, "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid". We are called to a life of godly "works" after salvation. But the works are not saving us, and they are not keeping us saved. Only faith can do that. If someone lives a life of open sin and rebellion against God and yet claims saving faith, perhaps they are not truly saved in the first place....saving faith WILL produce good works.

      The thief on the cross entered into paradise immediately upon his death. He had done NO works after his salvation---he simply had faith.

      Blessings to you, sweet friend.

  2. Hi, Just hoping that you are all Ok, missing your catch ups!
    Regards Kaz UK

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I welcome any and all comments as long as they are Christ-honoring. Please let me know what you think!