2 Concerns for Today's Christian Parents

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Until three or four years ago, I questioned my salvation.  How could God love me? I would often think to myself.  I am no good at keeping His laws.  If I was truly a child of God, I would be able to do all the things He commands of me.

I used to doubt that I was even saved until a few years ago, when I encountered the Word of God head-on and was left feeling eternally joyful and grateful because of Christ Jesus my Savior.  After further reflection on my life, I have come to believe that I, indeed, submitted to Christ early in life, but I failed to receive the proper, doctrinal teaching to help we walk in newness of life.

Reflecting on my own life leads me to address two concerns I call parents to be aware of today, that we may avoid the unintentional errors of those before us.

To Love Like Christ


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"Do not think I that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17). 
"And He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets'" (Matthew 22:37-40).
Jesus Christ is the only person to ever live in perfect submission to the Law of God.  If you are a Christian, this should be as truthful to you as the reality that you are breathing right now.  Jesus Christ was perfect.  Not only did He keep all the external commands of God given to Israel, more importantly, because of our stone-like hearts, He did what we could not: He loved God and people perfectly.

Jesus Himself says that the essence of the Law of God is love: "On these two commandments [of love] depend all the Law and the Prophets."  The word picture here is of a hook or hanger on which all the other commandments hang.  Furthermore, Christ says that He came not to abolish this law, but rather to fulfill it.  It was not that Christ checked off the boxes of keeping the whole law that made Him worthy to be our propitiation - the Pharisees did that (see Matthew 5:20)!  No, Christ was perfect because His heart was perfect, both in His submission to His Father and in His servanthood to people; that is to say, Christ was perfect both in His love for His Father and His love for people.

Truth Triumphs Through Troubling Times

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The growing trend in Christianity is emotionalism.  I say "growing trend" because I have personally observed this rise in emotionalism in the church only recently, in the past decade; however, I am sure there has always been a battle to be fought against emotions in the human experience.  After all, each human - whether here today, yesterday, or tomorrow - has emotions.

What I am talking about is the desire among Christian leaders to make people feel good about themselves.  Or, in some cases, to make people feel bad about themselves so that they change.  There are two examples that illustrate this point that I have experienced in the last few years.

There is No Life in Moralistic Holiness

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The majority of Paul's letters in the New Testament to the church center-in on one thing: Jesus Christ is enough for salvation.  There is no work in the law that any can do in order to be saved.

The Mosaic Law was never actually able to bring about holiness - not because the law was bad, but because man was bad, thus incapable of fulfilling it.  However, after centuries of Jewish culture grounded in God's old covenant law, Judaism's moralistic works of holiness were difficult to let go of for many people.  Jesus was, as the Scriptures said, "The stone that made men stumble and the rock that made them fall."  Many could not understand the truth that Jesus had died "once and for all."  Many continued in their works of moral goodness, which is why Paul labored so meticulously with them in explaining to them that the Scriptures they read as a list of rules to become holy were actually full of prophetic anticipation of the Messiah - the One who would wipe away every tear from their eye that the people cried because they could not keep the law, and take on all their sins from all their law-breaking.  Many people could not understand these things, so they continued - by the providence of God - in their works, only to die un-redeemed at the end of their miserable struggle to do enough good.

Self-Examination

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The phrase "God's providence" is often unheard of today in many Christian circles, although it was once commonplace in the days of the Puritans.  William Bradford wrote of God's providential hand in his History of Plymouth Plantation, recounting the Pilgrim's peril-filled journey to the New World: "Being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean...."  Bradford and the other Puritans of his day were keenly aware of the sovereign will of God in their daily lives.

"Self-examination" is another concept that is often unheard of today in many Christian circles.  By very definition, the word means to closely examine and analyze one's behaviors and motivations.  Each of us will greatly benefit from practicing the discipline of self-examination.