Homework: Continue thinking about the manner in which your own life serves as a testimony to your child(ren). Continue integrating Scripture and prayer into your relationship with them (and into your own life first, if that needs work at the moment!). These things are the foundation of our discipleship of our children. But this week we will begin setting up the prism through which we evaluate our parenting decisions. We already have the big pieces like God's covenant and God's law. It's time to put them together and actually apply them...and within their application lies your homework! See the "Chew on this..." section below.
Main Idea - God's "boundaries" demonstrate his love (Covenant of Redemption) for us and his faithfulness (Covenant of Works). His law also serves to point us toward his grace (Covenant of Grace).
1) Reflects – the law reflects both God’s perfect righteousness and our failure to meet the requirements such righteousness demands (Rom 3:20). In short, it functions to make us aware of our need of Christ (Gal 3:19-24)
2) Restrains – the law keeps us from being as bad as we might be without it. With the law comes the threat of punishment or consequences (Rom 13:3-4)
3) Reveals – the law shows what would be pleasing to God and guides believers into the good works he has planned for us (Eph 2:10, Matt 28:20)…the Christian’s salvation is not determined by adherence to the law. But things might simply go better if one were to adhere to the law.
God’s law is a gift to us given the manner in which it functions in our lives, assuming one places his/her faith in Christ. God has also established the family to testify to his character and goodness. The law is geared toward preservation of the family (honor your mother and father, do not commit adultery, etc.). Obviously parents are intended to have authority over children. Using, and not abusing, that authority can be a delicate balance (Prov 13:24, Eph 6:4).
Chew on this...
List some of the boundaries you have established or hope to establish (if your children are still very young). What is your intended purpose in setting each of those boundaries? How does your purpose in setting a particular boundary serve your child's interests?
Read the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20 and/or Deuteronomy 5). Pick one of the ten and do a "case study" (we'll do a few together in class). Of the boundaries you listed above, which are supported by (or will be supported by) the first commandment? The second? And so on...
...If you find that you have boundaries not supported by any of the Ten Commandments, maybe you don't need those boundaries! But chances are you will not have that problem (after all the 5th commandment is "Honor your father and mother"). The problem you will have is in determining your response if and when your child goes beyond those boundaries. How will you respond in a manner consistent with and pointing your children to God's love, faithfulness, and grace?