We need the grace God gives in the gospel to be the parents God calls us to be.


Intro
The “Gospel Shaped Home” podcast is a family discipleship resource from Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, that aims to equip you and your family to be on mission with God, to the end of the street and the ends of the earth.

Andy Owens
Welcome back to another episode of “Gospel Shaped Home.” We’re really thankful that you’ve joined us again, we hope that this will be an encouraging time for you. A welcome back to Brother Phil. Phil, glad you’re here again.

Phil M
Yeah. Thanks Andy. Glad to be back.

Andy
Today we’re discussing chapter two of Paul Tripp’s book, “Parenting”, and it’s titled, “Grace”. It’s such a, such a good chapter. If you don’t have the book, I would say this chapter is worth the price of the book.

Phil
Amen.

Andy
It’s so rich, I’ve marked up every page it would take probably 20 or 30 minutes for me to read all the quotes that I have underlined and starred in this chapter. But, the reason that this chapter is so important is because God’s grace is so important. When Jesus came with the glory of the only begotten, from the Father full of grace and truth and John says that, “From his fullness we’ve received grace upon grace.” And in Colossians 1, Paul, he’s talking about the Colossian believers reception of the gospel, and that when Epaphras came and taught them the gospel, what they understood when they heard this message was the grace of God. And so when we hear the gospel, we hear a message of grace. And Paul Tripp’s point here is that that grace isn’t just for redemption in the past or for eternal life in the future. It is for right now in the grind, including parenting. Phil, what stood out to you Brother, what was helpful to you from this chapter?

Phil
Yeah, as he starts out, before he really gets into any of his major point, he just reminds us that… He says there is nothing more important to consistent, faithful, patient, loving and effective parenting than to understand what God has given you, in the grace of His son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And I think, like you said, it’s of utmost importance for us to understand the grace of God in our lives, and especially in our parenting. And he goes on to say, “Well, maybe you’re thinking right now, I don’t need more theology.”

Andy
I need practical help.

Phil
Yeah, we need practical help. And that’s what we do. That’s what the grace of God gives us, is that practical help.

Andy
That’s good. And because ultimately what it means for God to give us grace, how he does that is he gives us himself. I mean, Paul Tripp says that the eternal God has basically unzipped us and put himself and his power and his resources inside of us so that when we come to the end of ourselves, that’s actually where we’re supposed to be, it’s a good place because, then we see and rely on the power of God.

Phil
Yeah, absolutely.

Andy
So that’s really his first point, is that God doesn’t call people to be parents because they’re able. And I’m sure a lot of our parents, if they’re normal, I mean, if they’re like me, and I think a lot of folks, regularly you feel like, I don’t know what to do, I’m exhausted, I’m frustrated, I see this same patterns over and over, and it can just feel exhausting, wearying. And the point there is that, that’s actually God’s design, is He wants us to feel needy for Him.

Phil
Yeah. And he says, God calls unable people to do important things because ultimately what He’s working on is not our immediate success, but that we would come to know Him, to love Him, to rest in His grace, and to live for His glory. And ultimately, God wants to get glory, not us. And as we were talking earlier, just talking about, when our kids were little, or even elementary school age, we would go somewhere, whether it’d be a restaurant or someone’s home, and we would give explicit instructions, that this is what you are to do and not to do. And I think part of it was, hey, it’s good to-

Andy
It’s training.

Phil
It’s training, that is training. So, please do that. But the other part was, we don’t want to be embarrassed by your behavior. That’s what we were thinking, I’m sure. And as our kids are, you can’t take good fruit and put it on a dead tree. But also, we have to remember, a six year old, even if they’re saved by grace, they still haven’t been discipled in the years and we think of the struggles we have and how we continue to fall into some of the same sin, sinful behavior at times. Why would you expect our kids to do any different?

Andy
And really, he makes the point that, the whole story of the Bible is really one story and it’s God rescuing weak, needy, broken people, right? Jesus Christ came to save sinners and He did it by His death and His resurrection and our lives as parents in a sense, pictures that for our kids. They don’t need to see someone who’s got it all together. They don’t need a mom and dad who doesn’t need a savior. They need to see, oh, my mom and dad need the Savior too. We affirm the reality of the gospel, the truthfulness of the gospel by actually relying on the Savior as parents.

Phil
Yeah. And we have faith in that God is going to accomplish what He said He’s going to accomplish. And we trust in those promises. But God wants to take ordinary people, and through the power of His Spirit, do extraordinary things. And we have to lean into that, because that’s hard for us as parents because we want to see immediate response after two weeks of some kind of instruction in their life.

Andy
Sure.

Phil
And we know that-

Andy
It’s not how we change.

Phil
Yeah, that’s not how we change either. And so, it’s a process of sanctification that happens by grace.

Andy
He kind of starts with talking about how God uses the trials and struggles of parenthood to expose our own hearts to help us see ourselves more accurately, to see our own need for His grace. And that’s true of marriage, it’s true of parenting, it’s true of lots of things in life that we… There’s sin lying dormant or deep that we aren’t even aware of until we get in new circumstances, new situations, new circumstances where we get closer to people or we are pushed in certain ways, but ultimately what’s in there is what comes out. He has the illustration of water in a bowl and if you shake it out, water is going to come out and it says if it was milk in the bowl, you could shake it for all eternity and you’re not ever going to get water to splash out, you’re going to have milk splashing out.
And that our kids in difficulties related to parenting don’t cause us to sin, they expose sin that’s already there in our hearts, but that’s not just a condemning, frightening message, that’s actually a hope giving message because we don’t have to hide. We don’t have to act like we have it all together, right?

Phil
Right.

Andy
He says, “God’s grace frees us from having to deny our weaknesses.”

Phil
Yeah. And he follows up and says, “Here’s the single redemptive reality, right here right now, that makes parenting possible. God in you.” And he says, “You read it right.” The apostle Paul says that you don’t really understand who you are and what you’ve been given until you understand this amazing thing that God knew that our calling would be so huge, and our weakness so deep, that the only thing that would help us was himself. And I know, in our parenting years, there’ve been times when we’ve been in tears and we’ve been left with the fact that that is the only thing we can grip and hold on to, is God’s grace and the fact that God is doing a work, in spite of us.

Andy
That’s right. On page 38 in the book, he asks this question, following up on that idea you just shared, you have God, in every moment of every day. The question is, “Will you remember, that you do?” And so just seeing really the… I think one of the biggest applications of this chapter is, remember. That’s the first imperative, the first instruction in the book of Ephesians, it’s chapter and a half in, chapter two, verse 11, “Therefore remember.” We have to remember that we were broken, that we were slaves to sin and that God, through His mercy in Jesus, through his cross and his resurrection, has rescued us from the punishment of sin, and he is rescuing us from the power of sin in an ongoing way. And so we have to… It really has to shape our mindset and our expectations that God is using this not just in my kid’s life, but He’s using this to continue to parent me. To make me more like Himself.

Phil
Yeah. That’s good. And one of the things that stuck out to me as well was this idea that I don’t have to be a perfect father. And he says, “Here’s the humbling conclusion that God in grace, helps us realize that I’m more like my children than unlike them.”

Andy
That’s right.

Phil
And there’s few of the struggles in the lives of my kids that aren’t in my life. And so, this idea should transform our parenting that I shouldn’t be a self righteous father. One, my kids need to see a broken, contrite, sinner saved by grace, because that’s the example that should come out. But that hasn’t always been the case for me. And so it’s-

Andy
Nor for me.

Phil
Yeah. And so it’s a work in progress.

Andy
I think that that is one of the other more powerful application pieces here is, J.C. Ryle actually talks about this in his little book, The Duties Of Parents, but, if we come to our parents with the sternness and severity and we’re always demanding perfection from them and acting as if we ourselves are perfect, don’t need help, don’t need God’s grace, they’re going to close their hearts up to us. We’re going to be impatient. We’re going to be critical. We’re not going to be tender and gentle. We’re not going to enjoy them. We’re going to be a burden on them, in a sense. And then he says, “We will close up their heart and you will weary yourself to find the door to their heart again.”
But a humble, confessing parent encourages his or her children to be humble and confessing as well and it just leads to opportunity after opportunity to talk about the rescuing love of Jesus, is what Paul Tripp says. So it grows us, it changes us, it more accurately reflects the gospel to our kids when we parent this way, when we recognize we’re more like them than unlike them. Anything else that stood out to you that was really helpful?

Phil
Yeah, I just think that the idea that parenting is a sanctification process, is sanctifying for us through God’s grace. He says, “Here’s what you and I should never forget as we seek to parent our children, the Heavenly Father is parenting everyone in the room. Like our children, we need to grow and mature, and like our children, we haven’t progressed beyond the need for a Father’s care.” And so, I know in my… all of the years of parenting that we’ve done, and even some of late, have been some of the most sanctifying experiences in my life, in trusting in His grace, because I’ve realized that a lot of the things that my kids are struggling with are a direct result of the things that I struggle with, that maybe I need to deal with as well. So, it takes me to the throne of grace and helps me to draw near.

Andy
Yeah, the last section is really powerful. Especially, you mentioned a few moments ago that you can always see these things and we all have mistakes in our parenting as we look backwards that can… he says that, the danger of regret is it can paralyze us, we can… Ultimately the reason it paralyzes us is that we forget the cross, we forget the forgiveness that Jesus purchased with this blood and so, living in and parenting out of God’s grace ultimately liberates us from regret as a prison that would keep us from moving forward. Right? Jesus bore our guilt and our shame on the cross with this blood, he purchased our complete forgiveness for every sin we would ever commit. And so, we don’t have to deny our sin, but we can come and acknowledge it to God and we can ask him for help to move forward and love our kids better going forward.

Phil
Absolutely.

Andy
So, we hope that this little conversation and this chapter is an encouragement to you. Again, we appreciate you tuning in. Phil, thanks for joining brother.

Phil
Amen.

Andy
All right, see you next time on the Gospel Shaped Home.

Outro
Thanks for listening to this episode of the Gospel Shaped Home podcast, produced by Providence Baptist Church of Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information and resources from Providence, visit us online at pray.org. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please consider subscribing and leaving a review on Apple podcast.