“But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15).
One reason God unites husbands and wives in marriage is that “He seeks godly offspring.” He desires Christian couples to raise Christian children. The responsibility for Christian education falls squarely in the lap of parents. God tells fathers to bring up their children “. . . in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4), and He says through Moses, “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul . . . . You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19).
Christian day schools do not relieve parents of that responsibility; rather, they support them in it. What a tremendous blessing to have a school that supports and augments what Christian parents teach their children, instead of challenging and subverting it, as the public schools often do!
What a tremendous blessing to have a school that supports and augments what Christian parents teach their children instead of challenging and subverting it!
Christian day schools and catechism class provide a structured time in which the truths of Scripture can be taught systematically so that children understand these truths. However, Christian education is about much more than teaching the facts of the Bible. Our passage from Malachi 2:15, “He seeks godly offspring,” suggests something more about the purpose of Christian education. God desires more than parents teaching their offspring to live a “godly” or obedient life. He wants those children also to be His own children. Christian education is not just a way to raise obedient children; it is about developing a relationship with God.
Everyday life provides opportunities to show that faith is not just something learned, it is also something lived. Parents can use these life experiences to lead their children to build on the relationship that God established
in Baptism. As Moses says, you can talk about God’s Word “. . . when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
When children are trying your patience to the
extreme, it is tempting to use God’s commands merely as a form of coercion, saying, “Don’t do that because God says . . . .” God’s commands can then seem like restrictive rules that children may grow to resent.
Instead, show how God’s commands relate to our relationship with God. Why is stealing (for one example) wrong? Is it just because God said so? Is it because it harms other people? Yes, but more than that, God’s commands reveal His perfect nature. Stealing is wrong because God is not a thief. God is love (1 John 4:8); He always gives every good thing (James 1:17). God wants us to be like Him, to imitate Him (Ephesians 5:1), and stealing diminishes our likeness to and relationship with Him. Or again, why does God say we shouldn’t lie or commit adultery? These are more than just rules to follow. They are not only to prevent the harm done to others, but also because God Himself is perfectly faithful in all things. To have a living relationship with God as His children involves being like our faithful God, and lying or committing adultery are breaches of faithfulness. “You shall be holy for I the Lord your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2).
Our children then can understand and appreciate how they fall short of the glory of God and how that affects their relationship with Him. Genuine contrition and repentance is the result of that understanding, and we as parents can share with children the joy of God’s amazing grace and forgiveness. Along with knowing right from wrong, they will love their Savior and truly treasure their restored relationship with the Father.
Christian education truly begins at home, and with the Spirit’s blessing and guidance, our children will grow to be the godly offspring that God seeks.
David Reim is pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Vernon, British Columbia.