Family Matters Part 8: When A Child Responds To The Gospel, It Changes Everything!
“If any (child) be in Christ, he is a new creature,
the old things passed away; new things have come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
Someone once asked me, “What did you do to get your kids to turn out so good?” What an opportunity to puff up my pride for “my secret” silver bullet to having a great family. I took a breath, and said, “Honestly, it’s only by the grace of God that my kids have become what they are. The gospel is what changed everything.” Yes, having a good, godly marriage, and striving to be obedient in the Biblical principles God revealed on parenting, have contributed to my kid’s reasonably good upbringing, but the truth is, only the gospel changes the heart and nature of a child for good! Our children’s greatest need is Jesus. Faith always rests on a person – Jesus Christ (Jn. 10:27,28; Phil. 3:9; Gal. 2:16). Faith is only as good as the object of one’s faith. The Bible is clear that once a person comes to genuine saving faith, it will produce the fruit of righteousness in those who believe. Real saving faith will inevitably produce a changed life and good works which follow both in children and adults (2 Cor. 5:17; 9:13; Rom. 6:18; 1 Thess. 1:3; Heb. 6:9; 1 Jn. 2:3, 4, 19; 2 Tim. 2:19). A believer’s distinguishing trait is obedience (Jn. 14:15; Lk. 6:46). Obedience is so closely tied to faith, that many places in Scripture, it is used synonymously (Jn. 3:36; Acts 5:32; 6:7; 2 Thess. 1:8; Heb. 5:9; 1 Pet. 1:2; 1 Pet. 4:17).
New Birth is the ultimate change of heart that every child needs. It is immediate, decisive, and effectual, and it solves many lesser parenting problems. When God truly saves, He alone causes in each individual a genuine faith which changes one’s very desires, attitudes, motives, words, thoughts, and actions. Once God saves our kids, our job as parents becomes a whole lot easier. He gives them the desire to honor and obey (Ezek. 36:27). He gives them the desire to read their Bible. He gives them the desire to be with God’s people on Sunday. He gives them the desire to serve, witness, give, and pursue holiness. He changes their hearts and renews their minds. His Spirit is what turns them from sin to Himself, and He ultimately will get the glory for doing so. We ultimately can’t change anyone’s heart, especially our own children.