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Welcome to Part 5 of our Parenting in Christ series.
Today we start our study into the benefits and blessings of Parenting in Christ.
But before we do that, please allow me to ask you — once again — to rate us on iTunes or whatever podcast directory you use. Perhaps its Spotify or PodBean or Stitcher or Acast or the many other directories that list TLP.
Your ratings and reviews go so far to connect searching parents with God’s Word, and we greatly appreciate your help.
I also don’t want to go any further without thanking Matt and Sonja for making this episode possible. They are wonderful people who desperately love the Lord, their children, and their church family.
And, even though they don’t know most of you, they love you too. I know this because they give every month so that Truth.Love.Parent. and I can continue applying God’s Word to our parenting.
Thank you, guys, so much!
And you can learn more about TLP, our mission, and our goals by clicking on the “5 Ways to Support TLP" link in the description of this episode.
When asked to make lifestyle changes, it’s so incredibly human to want to know what’s in it for us.
And I think you may be surprised to discover the benefits of Parenting in Christ.
So, today we’re going to talk specifically about what being in Christ produces in us, and next time we’re going to talk about what it produces though us to our families.
And I think it’s safe to say that you may be very surprised about the content of these next two shows.
So, let’s get started.
First, let’s remember that to Parent in Christ you must first be in Christ.
So, what will being in Christ produce in and for us?
Here we go:
1. Being in Christ produces a relationship with God.
Ephesians 2:13 says, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
There is no better reason to want to be or do anything in Christ than to simply have access to a personal, Creator/Creation relationship with the God of the universe.
But even though God created us, there’s something that stops all of us from having a relationship with Him.
That something is sin. But being in Christ must address that as well.
2. Being in Christ produces righteous in our lives.
Galatians 2:16, “We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
None of our good deeds will ever be righteous enough before God because they are rooted and grow from sin.
Being in Christ forgives our sin, but Christ’s blood — when applied to my life — not only blots out the future condemnation of my sin and the future indwelling of my sin, but it makes me capable of righteousness in the here and now!
If you are in Christ, you can be a good parent only because God’s righteousness has been applied to you by faith.
I made mention of that before, but it’s something with which we must grapple. We have no hope to be a good parent outside of Christ. It doesn’t matter how sweet or noble or altruistic our lives, if we’re not Parenting in Christ and pointing our children to a biblical understanding of Who He is, then our parenting was in vain.
And because we have the righteousness of Christ imputed to us and able to have a relationship with God . . .
3. Being in Christ produces life eternal.
II Timothy 1:1 reads, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus.”
Too often I believe eternal life is sought after as the end-all, and faith in Christ is merely a means to achieving it.
On the contrary, a relationship with Christ is the ultimate goal from which eternal life is a pleasant consequence.
You will not always function as a parent. You will not always function as a husband or wife. You were created to relate to God, and the human marriage and parent relationships are merely an earthly testimony to the deeper spiritual realities.
Your being in Christ does not merely allow you to parent better than you ever could, it allows you to be parented by the God Who desires to be your Father.
And how could our relationship with God ever be temporal? God is eternal, His work is eternal, it logically and biblically follows that our relationship with Him would be eternal.
Everlasting life is not merely given to us to do as we please, it’s for us to live out the only natural and expected benefits of being a child of the eternal God.
But, as we take an even closer look at the intricacies of this blessing, we see an even more glorious one.
4. Being in Christ produces the blessing of Abraham.
Galatians 3:13-14 says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”
What was the blessing of Abraham? Well, in a nutshell, God promised many things to Abraham and his descendants. However, a portion of the covenant God made with Abraham also extended beyond the Jewish people.
In Genesis 17 God further refines His covenant with Abraham and adds an illustrative element . . . circumcision.
Then in Romans 4:7-12 we read, “7 “‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.’
9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.”
So, if you are a Jewish Christ-follower, then this still applies to you, but to the Gentile follower of Christ, this is an even greater blessing. Why?
God decided that His chosen people would be the Jews, and for hundreds and hundreds of years His covenant relationship was primarily with the Jews, and any Gentiles who became an official, legal Jew, but when Christ came, He made it possible to receive the blessing of being made part of the family of God without having to be or become a Jew!
The doctrinal and theological implications of this are huge and far beyond the scope of this entire podcast, but since most of us are not Jewish, we need to praise God that He has made provision for us to be in Him too!
This idea is explained in Ephesians 3:6 as well. “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
If you are Parenting in Christ, it’s because God has given you the promise of a relationship through the Gospel . . . one He did not have to extend to anyone . . . let alone the Jews or us.
But not only does being in Christ produce a miraculous relationship that gives us the ability to be righteous and have eternal life as we’re grafted into the family of God . . .
5. Being in Christ produces an unquenchable light.
Let me be more specific.
Ephesians 2:4-7 says, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Now, that seems very similar to what we already mentioned. Being in Christ makes us alive and will provide the eternal honor of loving and being loved by God.
But verse seven provides us an interesting insight into God’s motivation for our salvation:
“7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
When a person is saved, God receives the glory, not the person who accepted nor the person who lead them to Christ.
Our salvation is designed — in part — to be an eternal testimony to the grace and glory and love and power and kindness and mercy and sovereignty of the great God and our Father!
But, my friends, this blessing of being in Christ — this opportunity to be a testament to His grandeur — is not merely a future benefit.
And it’s this fantastic Truth we’ll unpack next time as we discuss what Parenting in Christ does through us in our families.
But, once again, we’re reminded that the biblical Truth we encounter every week should first take root in us and change us before we can hope to use it to parent our children.
We don’t have to be perfect, that’s impossible, but we do need to recognize the glory of the Truth and at least acknowledge our need for change and start making those small steps to become more like Christ.
I recently heard a message concerning the transfiguration of Christ. The Greek word translated “transfiguration” is the same Greek Word from which we get the English word “metamorphosis.”
On the mountain, Jesus was transformed in such way that some of His divinity shown through His fleshly veil.
Well, that word is used four times in Scripture — twice concerning Jesus and twice concerning His followers.
In Romans 12:2 we read, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”
And in II Corinthians 3:18 we read, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
In this passage Paul is referencing how Moses spent time with God on Mount Sinai, and when he came down the glory of the Lord reflected off His face, and he had to put a veil on his face.
But, unlike Moses, we are neither veiled nor do we merely reflect God’s glory. We are to be transformed — that’s the same word used to describe Christ’s transfiguration — into the exact same image from one degree of glory to another.
If you are a parent in Christ, then this process should be alive in you. Are you more like Christ this year than you were last year? Have you moved from the past degree of glory to a new one?
Now, this isn’t a military ranking system with clear-cut lines of demarcation. The Lord provides character goals for our maturity — like the Fruit of the Spirit — but He doesn’t do much to explain how we are to exhibit that love as we mature into the image of Christ.
He does set Himself up as the ultimate example, and He does say that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend, but otherwise there is no way for us to say something like, “That guy is clearly a Level 5 Christian.”
The point is, there does need to be discernible growth, and there are two benchmarks presented in Scripture.
One, ultimately we should be like Christ. None of us are there. But, two, we should be moving steadily away from our Old Man. We know that we’re maturing in Christ as we submit to His Word and become less like ourselves as we put off, renew, and put on the character of Christ from one degree of glory to another.
Is that happening in your life?
Please share this episode with other Parents in Christ, and join us next time for our final episode in this series.
I know how you feel. I get that you aren’t as much like Christ as you’d like to be, but His plan is that you be transfigured before the eyes of your children and spouse. And that transfiguration allows us to have a relationship with God, live out His righteousness in our lives, produces life eternal as we partake in the blessing of Abraham, and makes us a visible spiritual light in this world.
And that’s going to affect our families.
So, to that end, I’ll see you next time.
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