Arminian Today

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There Are No Perfect Parents

Sometimes I hear people quote Proverbs 22:6 as if it were a promise.  The verse reads:

 

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

People quote this verse often toward parents who are struggling with a rebellious child.  I have watched with my own eyes children remain in rebellion despite the fact that they were raised in God-fearing homes.  The fact that Christ was preached did nothing to keep them from turning to a life of sin.

Now I don’t mean to discourage parents.  I am a parent myself of three boys.  I know the blessing and struggles of seeking to raise my boys to be God-honoring, God-fearing, Christ-exalting men of God.  I pray almost daily for my boys to be saved and to know Christ on their own.  I don’t want my boys to be “forced” to become disciples of Jesus.  I want them to see their own need for a Savior and to repent on their own by the power of the Spirit (John 6:44; 16:8-11).  As someone once said, “God has no grandchildren.  Only children.”  This is biblically true (Galatians 3:26).

In my devotional reading, I was struck by the last four kings of Judah.  Judah, unlike Israel, had had good kings who followed the Lord with their whole hearts.  The last five kings summarized the kings of Judah.  The five are:

  • Hezekiah – who was a good king and sought the Lord.  God delivered him and Judah from the hands of Sennacherib king of Assyria.
  • Manasseh – who was a wicked king at first before he repented and turned back to God.  Prior to repenting, Manasseh was on a track to be one of the wickedest kings in Judah’s history.
  • Amon – who was a wicked king.  He did not humble himself like his father Manasseh did (2 Chronicles 33:23) so he was put to death by his own servants.
  • Josiah – who was a good king.  Josiah restored true worship according to the Law of Moses in Judah (2 Chronicles 35).  Sadly, Josiah did not heed the word of the Lord and died in battle.
  • Jehoahaz – was the king of Judah only for a short time.  The Bible does not say if he was good or evil.  This ends the line of the kings before deportation to Babylon.

So in essence, we have four kings to work with in regard to parenting here.  Notice that Hezekiah was righteous but his son Manasseh was not righteous.  Yet in this case, Proverbs 22:6 was true.  Manasseh did repent and return to the God of his father.  Amon, however, did not repent.  Perhaps Amon saw the wickedness in Manasseh before he repented and enjoyed it.  We don’t know.  All we know is that Amon was wicked and died.  Yet the son of Amon, Josiah, was a good king.  In this case, Amon did not raise his son to fear God nor regard God yet Josiah walked with God from a young age (age 8 according to 2 Chronicles 34:1-2).  The sovereignty of God must come into play when we see children of wicked folks turn and repent before God.

My point here is encourage us parents (myself especially).  I am not a perfect parent.  I am not a perfect man. I am not suggesting that I am wicked.  I pray that I am walking in the Spirit before a holy God (Galatians 5:16-17).  I know the command of God (1 Peter 1:15-16) and I want my boys to see the gospel in my life but more than anything, I want my boys to see the grace of God in forgiving me (1 John 1:9).  It’s not that I seek to live in sin.  I pray that I don’t.  I want to be a 1 John 3:7 man.  I want my boys to see my faith and imitate my faith (1 Corinthians 11:1).  Part of that faith is realizing that I need Jesus always.  I always need His grace to empower me to godliness (Titus 2:12).  I want my boys to see that in spite of my imperfections, I love a perfect God who saves me by His grace alone (2 Corinthians 5:21).  I want them to see that I am not striving for holiness in my own flesh but by the grace of God.

Furthermore, even God has disobedient children (Hebrews 12:5-11) yet He is perfect!  Sometimes our children disappoint us and break our hearts but God is faithful to us.  Like our Father, we too should respond with much grace and mercy toward our wayward children.  We should always pray that our children will love the Lord and serve Him always with a pure heart.

The gospel must be our focus in parenting.  Because we have children of Adam, none of us (self included) have perfect offspring.  Scripture is clear that all have sinned (Romans 3:23).  We are raising sinners.  Apart from the grace of God, we will still be in our sins and dead to God (Ephesians 2:1-6; Titus 3:1-7).  Watching our sinful children grow should cause us to love them, to pray over them, to encourage them toward repentance, and to be an example of the gospel to them.  The example of the gospel is not one of absolute sinless perfection and not letting them see our faults.  Sadly, this was my dad.  He would not confess his sins to us.  He wanted me to see him as pure and holy but, like my children, I saw his errors and his faults.  I saw his sins.  Like Proverbs 20:9, he could not hide them from me or my sister.  Yet the gospel helps us to teach our children that Christ died for sinners like us (Romans 5:8-9).  1 Peter 3:18 says that Christ died for the unrighteous.  That is me.  He died for my sins (Galatians 1:4).  He was crucified because of my sins (Isaiah 53:4-6).  I am only saved because of Christ Jesus and not anything or anyone else (Hebrews 7:25).

I want my boys to see Christ in me.  Yes I want them to see me seeking God, seeking to be holy.  Yet I also want them to see that I too need His grace and forgiveness.  I am not a perfect man by far.  I long to be pure and holy before God (2 Corinthians 7:1) and through faith in Christ, I am set apart by His grace (Hebrews 10:10, 14).  I am thankful that God is a forgiving God who does not cast me aside but He loves me and disciplines me and calls me to repentance by His Word.  I want to live a life of trusting God before the eyes of my boys so that, like Manasseh, they will repent and trust in Christ alone for salvation.

 

 

 

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/22/2014 at 4:27 PM

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