“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23
“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17
“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” Philippians 1:6
My husband and I have the privilege of regularly spending time with an adorable 3 year old and her precious 1 year old brother. They are two of the neatest little people I know! I love to bring a project or a craft to do when we visit them, and I normally bring something to bake or a fun snack to eat. I try to make our time together special. I love these two little people, but what makes them so special is who their parents are. Their dad graduated from the college where my husband and I live and work. He spent many hours in our home and became a part of our family while he was a student, and when his girlfriend (now his wife) would come to visit him, she would stay in our home. We grew to love them both like they were our own.
Our friend became a Christian only a year before he walked onto our campus. His past is not something he is proud of. He was caught selling drugs, was kicked out of a University, and rather than spending time in jail he made a deal with the police to become an informant in drug related cases. Then he was drawn into a relationship with Jesus and ended up coming to a Christian college to study the Bible and to train for ministry.
I thought of of our friend, now the father of 2 precious children, when I read this quote:
“In Christ, we’re no longer defined or bound by the past, old ways of thinking, or even tendencies we inherited from our upbringing. We don’t have to be controlled by what we’ve always known…we’ve been ransomed from all the things in our past that aren’t of God and given the freedom to live and love like Jesus!”
To say that He has been changed would be an understatement. His life has been radically transformed. He is no longer defined by his past. In fact, if you were to meet him now you would see no trace of his old life. He has been blessed with a beautiful wife, two precious children, and they have dedicated their lives to the sharing the gospel and ministering to those around them. His identity is now found in Christ.
Even if our past isn’t quite as rough as my friends past, our hearts are not any different. We are all just as needful of a Savior, and if we have surrendered our lives to Christ our identity is found in him. When we find ourselves under an attack by the enemy, and we are tempted to despair because of all that he reminds us of, we can answer him with this:
“Because the sinless Savior died, my sinful soul is counted free. For God the just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me.”
Because of Christ’s death on the cross, we are counted free! Isn’t that amazing? Yes. Amazing grace. Amazing, saving grace.
Saving Grace is another type of grace. It is the unearned favor of God that we receive. Romans 3 tells us that the only way to receive God’s saving grace is through faith in Christ: “But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested . . . the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe” In Luke 18, the disciples asked, “How can we be saved?” Jesus answered “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
Salvation is a gift of grace that God gives. Christ and what he did on the cross is our “saving grace”. We see in Romans 3 that we do not seek after God. Ephesians 2:8 tells us “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that [faith] not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” We also are gifted a grace that sanctifies us — or makes us more like Christ. God is the only one who can make us more like Christ. We have been ransomed from all the things in our past that aren’t of God and given the freedom to live and love like Jesus!
Learning to view our children through eyes of grace will be easier if we take the time to learn about the grace that God offers us. Although we will never grasp the magnitude of what we have been saved from, and what a gift God’s grace actually is, we can grow in our understanding of it’s meaning. As we are able to acknowledge it in our own lives, it becomes more natural to extend it to our children and to others whom we come in contact with.
Understanding that it is God who saves and changes us will help us to see the same truth about our children. If we can grasp that truth and hang on to it, it will make all the difference in how we approach our parenting of them. Being reminded that we are actually given a NEW IDENTITY when we come to Christ should bring us to our knees in humility and gratefulness, and every step that we take after that can be steps that leave tracks of grace all over the precious children he has given us!
REFLECT AND APPLY:
Let’s take some time to thank God for this amazing gift of saving grace!
Father, Thank you for saving me and for the changes you are making in me every day. Thank you for giving me a new identity, and that because the sinless Savior, died my sinful soul is counted free! Please draw my children to yourself and conform them into your image in the same way you have done that for me. Enable me to be patient as you do your work in their hearts, and to be able to see them through eyes of grace. Amen.