Pastor, Sunday you said in your sermon that parents should try to discipline children from the authority of God. Can you explain that better for me? Anonymous
My point is that when parents discipline from their own authority they set themselves up as God in the child’s life. Parents have the authority to judge their children as a call from God by their faith in Christ.
To admonish is appropriate. But to qualify the source of offense as the person of God places the parent and the child in the right relationship with the Father in heaven. This is easily illustrated in the command of God to teach the stipulations of the covenant to their children.
The promise of long life in the land is attached to the fourth commandment. This is the teaching that proclaims God’s authority through the duty of the parents to be honorable and the duty of children to obey. Not because the parent says so, but because God says so.
This established two important things. First, a child can rightfully always question our judgment as parents, because quite frankly, we are wrong enough of the time that they know we make mistakes. Consequently, our judgment is proven to be less than perfect.
And second, the consequence of fellowship with God is the reward. We have a wonderful opportunity through law and Gospel parenting to always proclaim the grace of God and the salvation we have through Christ as the ultimate goal. Keeping our children mindful of God’s love and interest in our success can be an effective tool to drive their training toward a deeper faith and desire to make good choices for the sake of Christ instead of self.
The use of law and Gospel is to proclaim how behavior is sinful in order to drive the child to want to hear the Gospel and the sweet words of forgiveness. So my simple formula looks like this:
- Clearly show the child his or her misbehavior as sin.
- Ask is the child understands that their behavior is against God’s plan for them.
- When they ask for forgiveness then joyfully proclaim God’s grace and pray with them in thanksgiving.