With our doctrinal understandings secure, we can now do the fun part of theology; apply it. This space will hopefully become an area where issues of the day can be dealt with; Biblically.
This week, let’s apply our theological understanding to the idea of parenting.
Let’s get our basics out-of-the-way and use what we know of God and the world to frame our relationships; then we can put that knowledge to use (application, the stuff after the bold text).
We know from Theology proper that God rules and reigns over creation and has made this world to function in a certain way. We know from soteriology & Christology that every person must give an account to God for their: life, action, and response to sin. We know that the Holy Spirit dwells within us to empower us because our continuing growth in holiness (sanctification) is dependent upon His revealing and convicting and our putting to death of sin. We also know that God has built a community of faith (ecclesiology) that helps us keep moving forward until the final salvation of God redeems even the fallen creation (eschatology).
How does this all relate to children? Your children are not an accident; they were given to you by a sovereign God for your good and for His glory. Like you, your children will one day stand before God and account for their dealing with Christ in regards to their sin and His provision. You have been given the task (and ability) to disciple and discipline your children so they both know and serve the God who made them. As you grow in your holiness in living and love of Christ you will better see the sins of your children and better know ways to remedy those sins. You have been given a great help in a church who loves you and the Lord you serve and seeks to aid you in training and raising your children, knowing that we will all give an account at the end.
So what?!?? You said this stuff was going to be important to my life!!!!!
Are you viewing your children this way? That is the question we have to ask on a daily basis. Too often as parents (me included) we turn away from a theological understanding of family and to a worldly one when raising our kids. Ultimately God has placed those children under your care so that you would glorify Him by the way you raise them and testify to Him. That means they learn to follow God as they follow you.
That should terrify and free you. It should terrify you because of the great responsibility it places upon you as parents to lead them in maturing into disciples and not heathens. But it should free you to do what is good and right in training your child(ren) because the responsibility does not originate in you, but in God. God as author of life has given you this task, therefore by His grace and with his help you may complete it. Your children need your: love, teaching, grace, and compassion; but they also need your: discipline, resoluteness, law, and toughness. They learn to follow and love God as they learn to follow and love you, because you train and love and discipline them as God trains and loves, and disciplines you.
Parents do not forsake the blessings of Godly parenting; they are legion. And do not let this crush you; as Christians we are called to faithfulness. Ultimately as we stand in the completed kingdom one day, we will praise the great God who has saved us and rejoice in our fidelity to Him. You are a successful parent as you are faithful to raise children in a way that honors Him and not you or them. Does that always end well or turn out how we hope, no. That is the stain of sin on this world. But be assured that the race we run is one of hope in the God who has redeemed us.