When we as parents have to rebuke our children, what important thing should we remember to include?
Life, when you have a passel of sons, is not always good tidings of great joy. Sometimes it includes good chidings of great boys. I have five great boys (and one terrific girl) and they occasionally (okay, often) require me to do some good chidings.
A good chiding should include the good tidings. It should include the Gospel.
I say this because I think we sometimes miss it. (I know I do.) We give our rebuke and, especially if the child has already made a profession of faith, we stop there. If we have a child who has not yet turned to Christ with his whole heart, we often will give the Gospel. ("You punched your brother. See? You need Jesus to save you from your sins.") But the Gospel isn't just for unbelievers.
The Gospel is also for us--we who know Christ and love Him. We who follow Christ. We who take up our cross and deny ourselves. We who can even say, with Paul, "I die daily." We, also, need the Gospel. We need the memories of it and the meditations on it. We need the effects of it to cleanse our lives. The Gospel isn't just for regeneration. It is also for sanctification.
When I heard about a Christian leader a few years ago who had sinned greatly, my first thought was, "The Gospel is for such a time as this."
When I faced a time of despair in my own life, when my faith felt minuscule and my troubles and sins seemed overwhelming, I reminded myself, "The Gospel is for such a time as this."
When my husband and I counseled a Christian couple who had slashed their marriage apart with sin and were painfully trying to stitch it back together, this thought gave me hope, "The Gospel is for such a time as this."
The Gospel is for believers as well as unbelievers.
The thought that Jesus Christ died on the cross to save me from my sin doesn't just affect my eternal security, it affects my daily sanctification.
It sends me to my knees in contrition when I have sinned. It causes me to fix my eyes on the object of my faith and not just stew about the perceived depth of my faith. It reminds me that Jesus doesn't just cleanse me from pre-regeneration sins but also from my sins NOW. (How often do we fall into that kind of thinking?)
When guilt knocks at my door, Christ's blood answers it. When Satan's mocking accusations threaten my peace, the sacrifice of my good Shepherd restores my soul. Because of the Gospel, I know that I can always triumph. The head of the serpent has already been crushed.
The Bible says that the goodness of God leads us to repentance. What gives a sin-blackened Christian hope to even begin to confess and forsake sins? The cross. The depth of Christ's love. The goodness of God.
When you, as a parent, give good chidings to your children, include the Gospel. Even if they are already saved. The Gospel is for such a time as this.
And the next time you find yourself in a position of sin (probably a few minutes from now, if you are fully human), remind yourself that the Gospel is for such a time as this.
Tim and Laura
Timothy and Laura Berrey are missionaries with Gospel Fellowship Association. They share a passion for missions which has taken them to several countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe. They currently minister in the Philippines.
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