How to Disciple Children

Dear Reader,

I am probably driving my few readers away by spending so much time on this issue. I have cause to revisit it again though.

I had mentioned before that we are reading through a book in our adult Sunday school class called Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges. While I agree with Mr. Bridges basic premise that Christians once saved don’t rely on God’s grace to finish the process of their sanctification, I had not been impressed with his book up to this point. Now that has changed. I read chapter 6 last night and loved it. I still have half the book to go so hopefully it continues in a similar vein (in which case I would recommend skipping chapters 2-5).

One quote that struck me was “We preach grace to the non-Christian and duty to the Christian.” I think this is exactly what we do to our children. In fact, in the case of children of believers I think we often do both at once. We give them continual altar calls unto salvation as if they are not saved. But at the same time we speak to them continually of the obligations upon them as if they are among God’s people. Mr. Bridges point is that we should be preaching grace to believers as well. He uses the example of Paul who writing the book of Romans to Christians spent 11 chapters discussing God’s grace before getting to the “therefore” in chapter 12. We spend an awful lot of time of the therefores when we should be focusing on what God has done and continues to do for us.

This is not really a new point to me. It brings me back to what I had concluded from my many other posts in discipling children, namely that we should not be teaching them virtue upon virtue (primarily) but we should be pointing them to their Savior and to what He has done for them. As Mr. Bridges points out later in the same chapter, obedience to God results when we really know His grace to us. The best obedience springs from a thankful, worshipping heart. So this is what we should aim for in our children as well as ourselves. And they way to get it is not to focus on the obedience itself or on a list of habits and virtues but to focus on God Himself, His character and His acts.

So, my apologies to Mr. Bridges if I judged him too hastily (no “if”; I did). I highly recommend chapter 6. I will let you know how the rest of the book turns out.



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