Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Christian Children: Airbrushed covenant robots OR loving disciples of Jesus?

My friend, Toby Sumpter, has some very wise words for parents who realize they have not been parenting faithfully.  No matter who you are, if you have children, this applies to you at least some of the time... and I know it certainly applies to me.  Specifically, he calls parents to recognize God's means and ends in how parents discipline (lovingly train and disciple) their children.  Here's a short excerpt:
"Remember, the point of discipline, the point of parenting is to train up disciples of Jesus who love Jesus with you. The reason why unruly, undisciplined, and misbehaving children is a problem is because those habits and sins are training for breaking fellowship with God, Church, and Family. But don’t lose sight of the goal. The goal is not children who have their shirts tucked in all the time. The goal is not children who never speak out of turn. The goal is not a pile of airbrushed covenant robots. The goal is children who love God with all that they are. Our goal is children whose hearts have been changed by the Spirit. Our goal is children who are driven by the gospel of grace, whose hearts are overflowing with joy and gratitude and gladness and thanksgiving."
There is more to say about biblical parenting than Toby says in this post.  There is certainly much to say about the proactive teaching of the Word of God in the family setting and the positive aspects of training and discipling our children - things like teaching our children the promises of God for them in the gospel (in parallel with his 4th step). However, Toby's intention is not to give an exhaustive treatise on what godly parenting looks like but rather some biblical counsel and wise words of application for those times when, holding up God's Word next to how we've been practicing our vocation as Christian parents, we see some ways that we have been unfaithful.

You can find his good words here

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Augustine on the Father's love for us in Christ

"How great was your love for us, good Father, for you did not even spare your own son, but gave him up to save us sinners!  How great was your love for us, when it was for us that Christ, who did not see, in the rank of Godhead, a prize to be coveted, accepted an obedience which brought him to death, death on a cross!  He who alone was free among the dead, for he was free to lay down his life and free to take it up again, was for us both Victor and Victim in your sight, and it was because he was the Victim that he was also the Victor.  In your sight he was for us both Priest and Sacrifice, and it was because he was the Sacrifice that he was also the Priest.  By being your Son, yet serving you, he freed us from servitude and made us your sons.  Rightly do I place in him my firm hope that you will cure all my ills through him who sits at your right hand and pleads for us:  otherwise I should despair.  For my ills are many and great, many and great indeed; but your medicine is greater still.  We might have thought that your Word was far distant from union with man, and so we might have despaired of ourselves, if he had not been made flesh and come to dwell among us."

                                                                              - Confessions, St. Augustine

                            -  Romans 8:32; Philippians 2:6-8; Psalm 87:6 & 88:5; John 10:18; Romans 8:34; John 1:14