The good news of the Gospel of Jesus is that He came to seek and to save the lost. We could never hope to save ourselves; we could never fulfill the law perfectly. Jesus took the full weight of that responsibility and offered us grace upon grace! Out of gratitude, we as believers seek to obey all that He has commanded in response to this amazing gift.

As a Christian parent I have been introduced to many popular books and ideologies about Christian parenting. I have been disheartened on more than one occasion at the lack of gospel in many of them; it often seems that they are overrun with law, fear, and shame tactics that will supposedly bring the children of believers to repentance. I wish I were exaggerating; one popular parenting book suggests… “Your correction must hold the standard of righteousness as high as God holds it… The alternative is to reduce the standard to what may be fairly expected of your children without the grace of God. The alternative is to give them a law they can keep.” And again… “Your children’s souls are in danger of death – spiritual death. Your task is to rescue your children from death. Faithful and timely use of the rod is the means of rescue.”

Holding our children to a standard that they cannot keep, and then expecting to rescue them from spiritual death with the rod is a works based salvation that lacks the costly grace that Jesus offers us by his death on the cross. We as parents cannot rescue our children from spiritual death; it is the work of Christ alone that can do that. We cannot spank the sin out of them, we cannot shame the sin out of them. We can point them to the love of our heavenly Father; we can demonstrate the kindness of God, which we are told in Romans 2 is what leads us to repentance. We can encourage them to turn to Christ as the only way to be saved… we cannot save them ourselves.

Be encouraged today that your job as a parent is to steward these precious gifts that God has given you with great care; tend to their spirits with the good news of Jesus. Encourage them in the Lord when they fall short of His goodness. Their salvation rests in the hands of Christ alone, not in your ability to make them good enough.

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