Give Them Grace Preview Chapter 4: License & Legalism

The fourth chapter of “Give them Grace is all about license and legalism.

“One can be addicted to either lawlessness or lawfulness. Theologically there is no difference since both break relationship with God, the giver.” Gerhard O. Forde.

B.C. (Before Christ) I lived a life of lawlessness. I was adrift in it, and I know from what I have been saved. Having been in Christ’s camp for near three decades the temptation towards legalism, correct doctrine that masquerades as the Gospel of Peace and Freedom, is my struggle. Those of us raising our children in homes dedicated to Righteousness have high hopes for our children; hopes of salvation and eternal destiny, of taking a stand for Christ and making a mark for the Gospel. In that, we must guard against parenting from a stance that rewards pleasing performance rather than righteousness in our children. “We hinder our children from enjoying God’s embrace when we teach them that their religious activity and obedience elevates them out of the category of sinner in need of mercy.”

How do we address our children, who likely struggle, as we do, with both license and legalism? The authors suggest that we must be consistent, transparent and specifically confess our own sin within our family. This is done so that our children will understand that God’s grace is new every morning, precisely because we need His mercies each and every day. In other words, be a “real” Christian in front of one’s family. Use wisdom, obviously, as we confess, so that we bless our children with a model for freedom, rather than burden or shame them. Model honest integrity for our children, rather than religious performance. Live our faith out-loud, in living color in front of our family, so that our children understand that faith is a verb. Let them see and hear our joys, hopes, struggles, and know that we lean on the Savior’s response to our need. In this way, we model for our children to a life of faith that is vibrant and active and real.

In this, we must remember that “good parenting in” does not ensure “good children out.” Parenting is, no doubt, the most challenging and soul searching endeavor one might undertake. We must remember that there are no guarantees. Each person (including our own children) must work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. But we can give our children the tools that they need to make informed choices. Homeschooling, I believe, gives them freedom in ways that would not otherwise have the time or inclination for. Sharing our faith with them, as transparent sinners, in need of the Grace and Mercy provided by a Loving Father, is another.

What were your thoughts as you read chapter 4? I’d love to hear of them.

I pray for grace and mercy for each of us as we undertake the ardent task of caring for the eternal souls of our children.

 Lisa is the beloved wife of her intrepid husband, homeschooling Momma to a passel of people and grateful child of the Living God. She blogs at Golden Grasses.

* photo credit – Heart & Soul Reflections

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