It’s May! And so our 3 month discussion of the popular Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson in the Family Discipleship Facebook group has begun! It’s not too late to join us if you would like to. Check out the schedule below, and then let’s talk about the foreword, the introduction, and Chapter One! 🙂
I absolutely love the quote Pastor Tchividjian begins the foreword with from Michael Horton in Christless Christianity:
What would things look like if Satan really took control of a city? Over half a century ago, Presbyterian minister Donald Grey Barnhouse offered his own scenario in his weekly sermon that was also broadcast nationwide on CBS radio. Barnhouse speculated that if Satan took over Philadelphia (the city where Barnhouse pastored), all of the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy pedestrians who smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. The children would say, “Yes, sir” and “no ma’am,” and the churches would be full every Sunday… where Christ is not preached.” (Give Them Grace, page 11)
Tchividjian goes on to say that we are not meant to train our children to be externally obedient, “nice” “good” people, but rather that they are able to grasp the truth of the Gospel. What good is the law after all if it does not point us toward God’s grace? Sanctification or becoming holy, is not possible without justification through faith, by grace, in Christ alone. We are able to change because of Jesus. And Jesus is the one who changes us.
This reminds me, painfully, of how often I tell my children that they need to “obey”. I expect them to apologize for wrong doings and be polite; I tell them to use kind words and to speak in love. When they are being stubborn, or disobedient, I remind them (too often) of the need for them to “just do it” because it is what needs to be done. None of us mean to teach our children things that are contrary to the Word of God but when I think about it, as I read, ultimately, I am teaching them (unconciously) that they need to do these things on their own. Truth is, they need Jesus with them, because it is through Him all these things can be.
Introduction ~ by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson
Fitzpatrick and Thompson begin, no holds barred with the following question:
…should a Christian’s response differ significantly from what we might hear from a loving Mormon mom or a conscientious Jewish father?
What do you think? I didn’t have to think hard on this one. Of course, the gospel should be the center of all that we do. If it is not, what does that say about our faith?
We need to give them the Gospel. It should be something that we love so much, we desire to give it to our children again and again, seeing the great value within it for them. Its how we help them to live for Jesus – ensuring that they can see their NEED for a Saviour, just as we once did. Can we remember the feelings of relief and joy that came from knowing that this battle we are in, He is there, fighting for us? How much peace did it give us knowing that this is not about our ability but rather His power.
Chapter One ~ Sinai to Calvary
I was quite compelled by how obedience was divided into various areas in this book such as: Initial Obedience, Social Obedience, Civic Obedience, and Religious Obedience. Certainly these are all necessary to learn to live successfully in the world, to be safe, and to develop strong relationships in our family and community. But none can save a child; if we consider their value eternally, there is so much more to all of this.
I loved the examples they share as to how we can communicate the gospel to our children, rather than focusing on their obedience to the law. (It’s what most of us do; not meaning to perhaps, but still….)
I love how they write:
Yes, give them God’s law. Teach it to them and tell them that God commands obedience. but before you are done, give them grace and explain again the beautiful story of Christ’s perfect keeping of it for them.
As my children get older I see more and more the value and need for Biblical training in their lives. And I see, glaringly, my own imperfections, in them so often. Training our children is so important. Consistent, grace filled, loving, Biblical training. We cannot use the Bible as nothing more than a rule book rather we must use it as a way to share the complete message of the Gospel – the love and mercy; the grace and the law. We cannot have one without the other. It isn’t just about “being good” and they must know that (we need to too!) so that hearts may be transformed. ❤