As we’ve been going through the letter to the Galatians as a church, the main point that comes up over and over is that the gospel changes everything. Not only does the gospel save sinners, bring us back into a relationship with God, and end in eternal life in heaven, but it impacts every area of our life. This is definitely true of parenting. The good news of Jesus should and will change the way that we care for our spouse and children. There are countless ways that this happens but here are four specific ways the gospel truly does change everything in parenting.
Gospel-centered parenting is parenting with a purpose
The Gospel begins with the God who created us. Why did God create us? “So God created man in His own image; He created them in the image of God; He created them male and female.” Genesis 1:27 says. This means that the reason we, and our children, exist is to glorify God by mirroring Him to each other. This is our purpose in life. When we parent with the Gospel at our center, everything we do, every parenting choice we make, and every prayer we pray for our children is meant to guide them to reflect God Himself!
Gospel-centered parenting allows parents to experience unconditional love
The Gospel is that even though we sinned, meaning we did not worship and reflect the God who made us, God still, somehow loved us who didn’t deserve it. We know this because Romans 5:8 says “God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” To be blunt, our children have done nothing to deserve our love, just like we don’t deserve God’s love. Parents show the Gospel by caring for and loving their children even though we know we may get nothing in return. We love our children in spite of their sin, misbehavior, and neediness. This is a taste of the unconditional love God shows us in His Gospel.
Gospel-centered parenting upholds God’s law AND displays His grace in harmony
Parents are called by God to uphold the Law that God has given us, while also displaying mercy and grace. For this, parents should look to the cross. God upholds the Law to the point that he doesn’t spare His own son. At the same time, God is so gracious to sinners that He sent Jesus in our place. Parents live in and display the Gospel by teaching children “right from wrong”, but must also be quick to forgive, slow to anger, quick to forgive, and ultimately prepared to share the very Gospel that saves us from the punishment disobedience brings. Gospel-centered parents uphold truth in love, justice, and mercy.
Gospel-centered parenting looks beyond children’s lifetime
If you’re like me, you think about your child’s future. I think about my daughter starting school, driving a car, graduating, getting married, getting baptized, and all the other milestones that children pass. These are great things to think (and pray) about. More than this though, Gospel-centered parenting looks forward to eternity. With the end in mind, parents can lead children not only to succeed in their lifetime but for them to also make an eternal difference in their time on earth. With the good news in mind, children are an investment into the future, both the immediate and eternal future. When we look past our children’s lifetime, we will prioritize the Kingdom of God, we will look past minor inconveniences in day-to-day life, and will have a God-centered perspective.
When we center our families around the Gospel, we can understand and do what God has planned for our families. We return to the design that God desired for our lives.