The Gift of Biblical Parenting

Photo provided by photos8.com

One of the most wonderful experiences that one can partake of this side of heaven is becoming a parent … especially a Christian parent! From its precious beginning when the budding father hears those unforgettable words, “Honey, I’m pregnant!” to our very last breath, parenting is one of the greatest blessings and personal awakenings one can experience this side of heaven.

In regard to personal awakenings (I am referring to what each parent learns incrementally about himself or herself during every stage of their child’s development), children are God’s heaven-sent sanctifiers who reveal to us the sinfulness (especially the selfishness) of our own heart. In pertaining to the parental blessings, this wonderful pilgrimage is one of constant realization of how God amazingly uses sinners like us, to be the very means of bringing never-dying souls into this fallen world (and hopefully into heaven itself).

Let us never forget that these blessed souls are fashioned by God Himself to adore and worship Him both now and forever (Psalm 139:15-16; Isaiah 43:7; Revelation 7:9-10)! But if we, as Christian parents, only see in our Christian parenting the need for our own personal sanctification (1 Peter 2:4-5; 2 Peter 3:18), we are sadly missing the point of this unique calling. Such a calling, if properly understood and lived out by God’s grace, will make a difference in our Children’s lives (1 Corinthians 7:14-16).

Therefore, let us never forget that these little (and soon-to-be big) gifts from the Lord (Psalm 127:3) are still spiritually fallen sons and daughters of Adam and Eve (Romans 5:12) – no matter how cute they are! They were conceived in sin (Psalm 51:5), born in sin (Psalm 58:3), and sin because they are sinners (Ephesians 2:1-3). Yes, they began their lengthy earthly lives as smoldering volcanoes of sin (Jeremiah 17:9), and we must now raise them for God’s glory. How?

Firstly, God says that we must raise them by loving them like a nursing mother and by caring for them like a tender father (1 Thessalonians 2:7,11) – that means, our love must be patient and kind, affectionate and compassionate, and above all, unwavering and sacrificial (1 Corinthians 13).
Secondly, Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says that we are to bring the thought of God, His goodness, and kindness, even His greatness and mercy before them each day in the normalcy of life – showing them how to know Him by faith and love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength (Matthew 22:37-40).

Thirdly, we must unceasingly and wisely wield God’s Holy Law at them (Romans 3:20; Ephesians 6:1-4), while lovingly serving them the balm of the gospel (Matthew 11:28-30). This will show them their need for God’s grace and the hope of eternal life. Our Lord said in John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

So then, let us reprove them consistently (Proverbs 3:12, “for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights”) and diligently (Proverbs 13:24, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him”). Let us drive sin from them through a proper use of the rod (Proverbs 22:15, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him”), so that they may learn wisdom (Proverbs 29:15, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother”). All of this discipline should be carried out while knowing that “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see” (Neil Postman).

Lastlty, let’s make sure that the gift of Biblical parenting is one of the most important gifts we give to our precious little gifts this Christmas season – this will, no doubt, please our King (Isaiah 9:1-7)! Merry Christmas!!

Jerry Marcellino is pastor of Audubon Drive Bible Church in Laurel. He can be reached by e-mail at pastorjerry@audubonchurch.org