I love to write about parenting, because I am right in the middle of it. With two small boys, I am in the thick of learning how to parent. And God is faithfully teaching me.
Today’s parenting tip: Pray for your children.
So often it is easy for me to simply teach my boys to be good, a.k.a. morality. However, parenting is not just about having morally reformed children with good manners. Our parenting is meant to lead our children to be transformed by Jesus. Parenting is about ushering our children to the feet of Jesus, because He is the only one who can take their cold, hard heart and make them soft. Jesus is the only one who can appropriately deal with their sin.
Fitzpatrick and Thompson in their book, Give Them Grace, agree, “instead of transmitting the gloriously liberating and life-changing truths of the gospel, we have taught our children that what God wants from them is their morality. We have told them that being good (at least outwardly) is the be-all and end-all of their faith. This isn’t the gospel” (19).
If morality isn’t the Gospel, what is the Gospel?
The gospel is basically God glorifying himself by looking down through the hallways of time, and deciding to love his people. At just the right time, Jesus was sent down from the Father to become a human just like you and me. As a baby, Jesus entered the world, and then grew up to be a man. It was thirty years before Jesus stepped into ministry, and began to show people that He was God. Soon He did miracles, healed people, and taught the people. He showed people their sin and need for God. He instructed them on what God required.
As He taught, Jesus claimed to be God and because He did this, the religious leaders of his day sought to kill him. And in the end they sentenced him to death even though he had done nothing wrong. Jesus was put on trial. He was beaten, scorned and then disgracefully executed. Unjustly they killed him.
As Jesus hung on the cross all hope seemed lost, but what people didn’t know was that this was God’s plan. Even though it looked like Jesus had failed, God was accomplishing salvation for mankind.
Shortly after his death, Jesus bloodied and beaten body was laid in a tomb. For three days his body remained there. But on the third day as people came to care for his remains, they found that God was not dead. He had risen. He was alive. And after forty days, in physical form, Jesus was taken up into heaven. He told his followers he would come back in the same way that he had left.
In order to present the Gospel to our children we must know that they “need more significant help than you or any other merely human person could ever supply” (195). But this knowledge should not leave us hopeless, because Jesus is the person who can supply every need that they have. This is the Gospel.
Romans 5:6-8 says, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die– but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Christ died for us. He can transform us.
We are saved when we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Rom. 10:9-13).
Knowing the Gospel will launch us into prayer as parents, because we cannot do this for our children. Only Jesus can save our children. Here is a call to pray. I am so encouraged by James. He says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (5:16b).
Pray parents. God is faithful.
He is the one who can accomplish salvation for your child.
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