Parents & Kids of Faith

  • Friday, March 2, 2012

  • The Gospel Alphabet by Timothy Keller

    R is for Righteousness
    In the Gospel “a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last” (Rom. 1:17). Paul’s argument in the letter to the Romans is deep and complex, but we submit that the Gospel reveals God’s righteousness in at least these two ways. First, it is a declaration that God himself is just and righteous, for the Gospel teaches that in Christ our sins have been fully propitiated as a basis for his forgiving of us (Rom. 3:24-26; 1 John 1:9, 2:2). Then, second, through the Gospel God declares us righteous as we put our faith in Christ Jesus. Thus in the Gospel God demonstrates “his own justice at the present time, so as to be just and the ones who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). It is truly vital beyond words that we faithfully preach and teach this Gospel.

    Though our calendar year is 365 days, it actually takes the earth a little longer than that to complete one full orbit around the sun. In fact it takes five hours, forty-eight minutes and forty-five seconds longer.

    In 45 B.C., Julius Caesar proposed the calendar be changed to accommodate this discrepancy by fixing the solar year at 365 ¼ days where every 6 years a day would be added.

    The calendar still did not match exactly to the astronomical year. For the calendar under this system would be 3 days off every 400 years. So in March 1582, Pope Gregory XIII abolished the old calendar system and established what is called the Gregorian Calendar for they were 10 days off by this time. Pope Gregory just cancelled the 10 days and they came up with a new formula which brought the solar year closer to the astronomical year and reduced the discrepancy to only 26 seconds per year. These will not add up to a full day until the year 4905. 
    Why is it called leap year when we have 29 days in February? One explanation is that the additional day of February 29 did not have any legal status in the old English courts. So February 29 was “leaped over” in the records and whatever happened that day was dated February 28.

    By C.J. Mahaney

    This Sunday Pastor Tom will be covering idolatry in his sermon. The following article addresses the issue for you as a parent to your child. Though the title points to video games, the counsel is fairly universal. Take it to your own heart first, before you address your child.

    Question: As kids get older, how do you deal with idols in their lives?...For example, my 12 year old son is generally obedient, but he loves to play video games. If that privilege is lifted he is like a different kid. How much do we restrict? Do we just say no more of this? What have you done in those situations?

    C.J. Mahaney: Great question. We are always reluctant to answer parenting questions because they are so child specific, and the more you know about the child the more, I think, wise and precise you can be.  But, in general, you want your child to be convinced that you can identify with them. So I want to find illustrations from my life that parallel an illustration in his life. So I could say, “Son, this is not a foreign topic to your dad. We are fellow sinners both in need of a savior.”

    So I want to do two things. I want to try to introduce my son to a study that isn’t correction specific to an occasion. I want to study the heart, I want to study anger, I want to study idolatry, unrelated to an occasion where I am bringing discipline, so that the study hopefully can have the most effect. I want to engage in a study from Scripture. I want to choose age-appropriate material. I want to choose appropriate passages. And then my study with my son is supplemented by stories from my life, because I do the same thing. I don’t cry anymore like a child but I know how to cry in adult ways. I want my child to know that no matter what the category, I can identify.

    So let’s say for my son fear of man would be a category. “Well, your dad is just as familiar with that, son, and here are the ways fear of man will play out in my life today.” Not “Here are the ways fear of man played out when I was 16.” No—“Here are the ways fear of man is a real temptation to your father this week.” I think by humbling myself, I hope I make it easier for him to receive from me, so that when I say “Listen,” it’s not “Listen to your self-righteous father who is angry at you because he doesn’t understand why it requires this kind of attention to help you to see how stupid a video game is.”

    It is too easy for me to view my son’s form of idolatry as childish, but in essence, at root, there is no difference between our idolatries. His expression is consistent with a 12 year old, mine is consistent with a 56 year old, but in essence it’s no different. Therefore I must make sure my heart is softened by my own sinful tendencies. I don’t want the study to be punitive, I don’t want it to be (if possible) connected or related to discipline, because I think that can make it more difficult for a child to comprehend and to be convinced I have their best interest at heart. I want to supplement it with my own stories.

    At 12 years old I would want to start leaving your son with questions to consider rather than pronouncements. But from 12 years old on up, it is far more complicated than when they are younger. For a toddler, discipline is pretty simple. You are not having to work through heart issues. It is a blatantly ethical world, at that age, nothing but right/wrong, yes/no. But as they get older you want to draw your child in and give him an opportunity to think about his own heart, think about it in relation to material, think about it in relation to Scripture, think about it with time for the Spirit to possibly convict. You are not bringing every conversation to a conclusion that he must agree with.

    With your restrictions, you want to explain why you are doing what you are doing. Restrictions are important. We are fully for restrictions as long as the purpose is explained—so your child doesn’t think this is just punitive action we are taking in your life without explanation, without a why, without a purpose. We want to create an alternative. We want to anticipate this temptation, anticipate this restriction and [ask] what alternative can we present to wean our child from that particular form of idolatry.

    Helping our children identify idols is hard work. Your son may grow out of his love for video games, but he will not grow out of the idol factory in his heart. So as parents, we need the Lord’s help, and we can be confident that he will lead and guide us as we serve and lead our children with the gospel.

    Several women in the church have started a blog titled Women in the Trenches.  Please make sure you include it in your web browsing as they have already posted outstanding articles. You can find them at


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