The Nurture and Admonition of Grace

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We take many vows as church members. These vows are important and help us stay on course. The challenge is not making or keeping the vows, but in applying them correctly. "I promise to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." We love kids and have no reservations making this vow. But applying it properly is another matter.

The first time I made this vow I did it without an understanding of its meaning. There was no lack of motivation or sincerity, so application was not an issue. But proper application, that was another matter. In short, my understanding was not shaped by the "Law of Grace", but from fear of failure and judgement.

Think of it like painting a room. The directions say "open can and apply paint to wall." Application can be accomplished in several hundred different ways. Ignorance produces one result while impatience another. For me, I was more concerned with parenting (emptying the paint) than raising (making beautiful walls).

Here is the power of the gospel. His mercies are new every morning. This is not a cute phrase. It is a cosmological truth. Although I have made plenty of parenting (marriage, friendship, etc.) blunders, God actually uses those blunders as soil for healthy growth. And the water? It is Repentance! Not "I’m a bad guy repentance" Because this is not "nurture and admonition of the Lord". I’m talking about a no strings attached "I failed and need Christ" apology. Amazingly, God uses this honest confession to mend brokenness. It not only shines a light on proper behavior, it also illuminates God’s character of forgiveness.

Parenting (marriage, friendship, etc.) is both showing the right way and confessing our mistakes. Then we discover not only what God desires, but also his character.

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