We are now in Chapter 5: Grace That Trains.
The theme of this chapter is different from the previous four. It’s still talking about raising our children with grace, but with the focus being that we don’t ignore discipline. Grace does not mean we don’t train our children and just “let the chips fall where they may”.
The crux of this chapter, as it points out two key verses in scripture, is that Christian parents are to train up their children with love, nurturing and admonition of the Lord. We are to proclaim the Gospel and bring discipline all at the same time.
Ephesians 6:4 – “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”.
This chapter also points out how, even in the old testament, parents struggled with instructing and training their children solely under “the law”. But by the scripture above, they understood the term “of the Lord” and pondered it’s meaning. It stood out more in the Greek. We (Christians today) have become so accustomed to hearing “of the Lord” that sometimes it can be glossed over without the heaviness of the meaning sinking in and taking root. But training them in the discipline and instruction “of the Lord” means that we give them grace, mercy, love, direction, guidance, and always bring it back to the context of relationship with Christ. As that relationship (and salvation) is not something that can be earned.
We must learn to manage, nurture and discipline our children. But how do we accomplish that without raising our children to be moralists? How do we ensure our parenting is actually training our children in the ways “of the Lord”?
“Distinctly Christian parenting must be accomplished in the environment of the good news about Jesus Christ or it is not Christian parenting” (p. 94). The Gospel. It all comes back to that. Because without it, there is nothing. The gospel is everything! And our parenting should revolve around that.
Questions for discussion:
1. How does grace train us? How can we use grace when training our children?
2. Has your understanding of bringing up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord changed? How? What does that phrase mean?
3. Does it surprise you that there are only two direct commands about training in the New Testament? How does this truth inform your parenting?