Our identity is bound up in neither our wise or foolish decisions, it is bound up in His choice of us.
I was battered and beaten, bruised and befuddled. My name was being dragged through the mud on the internet. Sheep I had labored over where gnashing their teeth at me. Everywhere I turned I was confronted with accusation and approbation. By God’s grace I was reminded of where I should turn- to His Word, and to my friends. It became my habit in those days, which habit remains with me to this day, to read the Psalms, ten each day. What I found there was a curious combination. The Psalms are chock full of repentance, but they are also rather full of accusation.
“Against Thee, and Thee only have I sinned” is there, cheek by jowl right beside proclamations of innocence and oppression at the hand of the wicked. I called a dear and trusted friend and asked him, “I don’t know who I am. Am I the one who needs to repent, or am I the righteous one who is being oppressed?” My friend, as is his wont, spoke wisdom when he suggested, “Maybe you’re both.” Surely as a homeschooling father, raising homeschooled children, I need to grasp this reality, and not only grasp it, but I need to teach it to my children.
The reality we face as homeschooling fathers is this- we have chosen a hard, but righteous path. So many around us have succumbed to the spirit of the age, and have handed their children over to Caesar to raise them. So many have given their children to the culture to raise them. But if you’re a Christian, than you have made sacrifices, so that you might give our children the very Word of God, day in and day out. That’s something we should be grateful for, a decision that on its face is wise. Which leads, naturally enough, to the temptation to pride. The devil is right there as we kneel in prayer, even encouraging us to pray, so long as we pray, “I thank you Lord that I am not like other men.I do family worship with my children. I teach them about courtship. And lo, my quiver is full.”
Fathers, men like me, men who embrace the choices I’ve embraced, we are as a group, often abused, mocked and misunderstood. We are trying to do the right thing in difficult circumstances. And we are, like those who mock and abuse us, sinners. We have not, of course, earned God’s favor by making wise choices in raising our children. Our sacrifices do not for a moment begin to atone for our sins. We, by rights, must repent for our parenting, for our schooling, even for our repenting. We are, as my friend reminded me, both the good guys and the bad guys in the Psalms. We are the oppressed, the downtrodden, those who, with godly frustration, watch the wicked prosper. But we are also the wicked. We are the proud, the arrogant, those who take pride in our own accomplishments rather than giving thanks for the grace of God. Which brings us back to the point. Our identity is not bound up in the wise choices that we have made. Neither, however, is our identity bound up in the foolish choices we have made. Rather our identity is bound up in His choice of us. Our calling is to glory in His inheritance. What we are is neither sinners nor saints. What we are is His.
In coming to redeem us, Jesus precludes any notion that we are of this world. We are set apart, distinct, holy. But we are so not in ourselves, but only in Him. Jesus did not come to rescue the good people. The Great Physician came for the sick. The story of the Gospel is not that the prince came to rescue and marry the beautiful princess. The glory of the Gospel is that Jesus came to rescue and to marry the evil hag. We are not righteous victims being saved from others, but sinful sinners being saved from ourselves.
Which is precisely what we need to be teaching our children. They need to be taught first not to be sad that they are not like their peers. They need to be taught second not to be proud that they are not like their peers. Rather they need to be taught to be grateful that they are a part of His inheritance, that they are sinners saved by grace. The great evil of the broader culture, of the state schools, is not that they don’t allow us to teach our children the glory of being made in the image of God, rather the great evil is that they don’t allow our children to be taught that they are sinners saved by grace, and that they are by His grace being remade into the image of the Son.
We as the inheritance of Jesus bring no glory to him, and therein is the glory of the Gospel. That while He will share His glory with no other, by His grace we become the glory of His inheritance. And so I ask that you would give this inheritance to your children, that they would know that they are by grace heirs of grace, and that they and we would give thanks.
(This podcast is by R.C. Sproul Jr., discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not e2 media network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)