In his excellent book Gospel-Powered Parenting, William Farley states, “the most effective parents have a clear grasp of the cross and its implications for daily life. The implications are manifold. They include the fear of God, a marriage that preaches the gospel to its children, deeply ingrained humility, gratitude, joy, firmness coupled with affection, and consistent teaching modeled by parents daily.”
While a Christian family should maintain high moral standards, many fail to recognize that such standards are insufficient. They are not inherently life-changing for children. We must always take our children back to the cross, to the gospel of Christ. This should be the center of everything in family life. We need to teach our children the meaning of a new birth in Christ. They must see their deep need not merely to be outwardly obedient, but to be delivered from the power of sin, to be transformed on the inside, to become new creations in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Many parents are mystified when their grown children seem to reject the faith they grew up with. Often what they are rejecting is a faith that never became theirs in the first place. We dare not assume that just because our children have heard the gospel and attended church, that they have had a transforming new birth experience. Rather, we must bear the fruits of our conversion, and both pray for and consciously lead them toward their own new birth.
A. W. Pink wrote,
The new birth is very much more than simply shedding a few tears due to a temporary remorse over sin. It is far more than changing our course of life, the leaving off of bad habits and the substituting of good ones. It is something different from the mere cherishing and practicing of noble ideals. It goes infinitely deeper than coming forward to take some popular evangelist by the hand, signing a pledge-card, or “joining the church.” The new birth is no mere turning over a new leaf, but is the inception and reception of a new life. It is no mere reformation but a complete transformation. In short, the new birth is a miracle, the result of the supernatural operation of God. It is radical, revolutionary, lasting.
Randy Alcorn, EPM.org
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