Raising Idolaters: Run to the Gospel
If it weren’t for the Gospel, raising idolaters would be inevitable. Christian parents would be mired in despair, unable to shake the burden of watching their precious children race toward false worship. Knowing that we are born running away from worshipping the one true God, knowing that only a heart change can rescue our children, knowing that in our weakness we ourselves could point our children to idolatry—all this knowledge would only be devastating if it weren’t for the Gospel. So in conclusion of this series, let’s run to the Gospel and remind ourselves of the Good News that alone can rescue us from raising idolaters.
Believe in the Power of the Gospel
Paul was eager to preach the Gospel, and he was unashamed of it, because he knew what it is (Rom. 1:15-16). The Gospel is God’s power. If we want to throw impotent efforts at our kids’ idolatry, we try any number of human solutions. If we want to unleash God’s power, we use the Gospel. The Good News of Jesus Christ is divinely powerful. It smashes strongholds and dismantles sinful arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God. As parents who believe in the power of the Gospel, we can expectantly believe that the Gospel will overcome our children’s idolatry. The Gospel saves!
Rely on the Grace of the Gospel
Parents who are desperate to raise children who worship God can easily turn to human methods. Even with the best of intentions, we are easily drawn to try guilt, behavioral control, psychology, isolation, education, or our own cunning to change our children. In our desire to raise true worshippers, we are tempted to false gods themselves that promise life change but can never deliver. Titus 2:12-13 reminds us that it is the grace of God that brings salvation. And it is grace that teaches us and our children to renounce ungodliness, like the ungodliness of idolatry, and instead to live godly lives in this present age. We must rely on the grace of the Gospel to train our children out of idolatry and into true worship. The solution to our idolatry problem is not more rules, more self-effort, more external adjustment. It is the sweet training of grace. The Gospel teaches!
Live Out the Implications of the Gospel
The Gospel changes how we live. We can believe in its power and rely on the grace it teaches, but we must also live in light of our Gospel belief. Paul exhorted the Ephesians to walk worthy of their Gospel calling, which included humility that leads to gentleness and patience that leads to bearing with one another (Eph. 4:1-2). Paul gave grace the credit for making him what he was. As parents, we must live out the Gospel’s implications in front of our idolatrous children. Instead of trusting in our favorite parenting model, instead of beating ourselves up with the load of our failings and parental shortcomings, instead of looking to us to solve the problem of idolatry, Christian parents run to the powerful Gospel as our hope, our consolation, our motivation, our message and our joy. Only God can change our children. And in the Gospel, we have our only hope that He will. The Gospel transforms!