Monday, August 10, 2009

How Would You Share a Reformed Understanding of the Gospel?

2 comments:

christianlady said...

I am new to this reformed thing, though I think much of it I did beleive before understanding any of it. I am having a problem knowing what to say when my daughter asks, "how can I be a Christian?" exactly. I came from a decisional background...so there was always a moment of salvation that's clear. I think we like assurance of salvation, you know, a going past the beginning so we can grow. I do believe there is a point when we are not saved, and then when we are...but it's not based on a prayer or on an act on our part. It's based on the gift of faith given to us, and a moment when we see because of God's grace. How to explain this to a 6 year old child? We still need to seek forgiveness, we still need to be cleansed...this is all the work of God. But a 6 year old is not satisfied with harder answers. I don't mean dumb it down. There are verses that speak of confessing with your mouth and believing in your heart...I've tried using that. Saying that we who are to believe are drawn to Christ and we realize we are sinners, and we cry out to Him for forgiveness. He saves us, not because we cry out or pray, or go to church...

Any thoughts on how to make it clearer than mud?

JDJ said...

Christianlady,

I've often contemplated the same explanation you are attempting with your 6 year old daughter. What I've come to know, biblically, is that being a Christian and realizing salvation is the same regardless of age. Awareness of sin and its authority over oneself always proceeds salvation because, plainly put, if there is nothing to be saved from, you don't need a savior. Explain to your daughter what sin is biblically. Anything cartoonish catering to intellect will produce nothing more than Joel Osteen's gospel for your daughter. She may or may not be able to understand the full depth of trespass and penalty, but even a glimpse will reveal the desperate need to find shelter. I have a five year old niece who has the same problem that 20, 30, 40, 50, etc. year-old unbelievers do... she doesn't want to admit to her sin. Some of it she has, some of it she won't. She can't repent because she can't envision how greatly her sin weighs itself against her. Yes, we talk about Jesus, His birth, His death (and what it meant), and His resurrection, but she can't see how much she really needs Him. She does the same thing every unbeliever tries to do, she tries to justify her sin by explaining it away with excuses, or by making up some god who is more like a genie than a sovereign, holy authority on justice. I could write about this for days because I think about it often. I love my niece dearly and she, unfortunately, has a mother that hates Christ, and a father who rather not talk about Him. Thankfully, I have seen my niece struggle a bit in thinking about her sin, and she has certainly contemplated the cross and asked some questions that adult "believers" wouldn't think of or ask. All in all, it appears that the Holy Spirit is working on her in some ways, but has not decided to kick down the door yet. I pray that she will realize what sin means (I've used several anologies with her). When that happens all of her head knowledge about Jesus will hopefully become soul knowledge of the Savior.

I don't know if this helped or not. But, in closing, please consider biblical teaching before age. The Word saves (Ps. 19:7, 2 Tim 3:15, Jas. 1:21, etc.) and faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ (Rom. 10:17). We need nothing else.

Grace and Peace,

JDJ116