Bring Up Your Children – Part 1


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Marriage in Scripture – Part 5

Bring… Up [Your Children] In The Nurture And Admonition of The Lord. (Part One)

This is a series on marriage, and nothing is more natural for a married couple than to produce children and have a family. Family life, when it is Biblically functional, is good for all who are part of that family.  As a part of a family, as children we learn that we are not the center of the universe, which is how we will just naturally act if left to ourselves. But in a nurturing family we are not left to ourselves. A parent learns to be considerate first of your spouse, and then as a parent, you must provide for the needs of your children when they appear on the scene.

When we speak of the needs of a child, we are not simply referring to the physical needs of food and shelter. Children need so much more than just physical food and shelter. In our last study we discussed how any man who does not provide for the needs of his own wife and children ‘has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.’ In our study today we will see that the scriptures make it clear that children also need love, and we will see that love is not love if there is not discipline within the family.

But discipline must also be done in love, and never, ever out of uncontrolled anger. God is our Father, and as parents we are gods to our children. Here is what God told Moses concerning those He was placing under Moses to discipline them and to, in type and in shadow, begin destroy the old man within them:

Exo 7:1  And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.

Nothing better describes a new-born child than a self-centered Pharaoh who thinks he rules the whole world. We are all born as little, demanding self-centered beasts who want what we want when we want it. We don’t even know we are that way, but being completely self-centered is as natural as breathing.

Now at this time, Israel is still under Pharaoh, and as the type of the new man who is being formed within us Israel typifies a child who continues to receive discipline, even after he comes out of the “iron furnace” of the darkness of the womb that is typified by our time in Egypt, where all of our needs are met by our mother Egypt’s spiritual umbilical cord:

Deu 4:20  But the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day. Num 11:4  And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? Num 11:5  We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:

As Ishmael, Esau and Absalom all demonstrate, the children of God’s typical elect are first the seed of the serpent before they will become the seed of the woman.

1Co 15:46  Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

This verse and this principle applies within all men. God’s elect are but the first in whom it is revealed as being fulfilled in their lives. What that means is that God’s chastening grace does its purging, chastening work within them first, and later through His firstfruits that same mercy and grace are shown to all.

Rom 11:30  For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:  Rom 11:31  Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 

We are all saved by grace through faith:

Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

We are even told that where sin abounds grace much more abounds:

Rom 5:20  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

We are all under the law before we come to be under grace through faith:

Gal 3:23  But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

Any parent who is worth his or her salt will keep the children under the laws of the house until that child is ready to leave home. There can be only one head in any house, and children who are not made aware of that fact can and will make life miserable for the family who does not know that fact.

So what are we being told by “where sin abounds grace did much more abound”? Some people are so uninformed about the function of grace that they actually believe that if we sin God will bless us for being sinners. It is as if they believe that if we commit adultery God will shower His grace upon us and bless our lives in spite of our adulterous ways. And then if we add murder to our adultery, God will bless us even more, because we are told that His love is unconditional and “where sin abounds, grace does much more abound”. Does that statement in Rom 5:20 actually mean that if we disobey God a little we will get a little grace and when we disobey God much we get more grace? The answer is, yes indeed, that is exactly what it means, but not in the way we used to believe. Grace does not condone ungodliness and worldly lusts, rather grace chastens us to forsake those unrestrained, childish ways and repent and bring forth fruits for repentance. The chastening part of that grace will increase as needed for our ‘abounding’ sins.

The two false doctrines of greasy grace combined with false doctrine of God’s unconditional love have robbed many of knowing God and His Son, neither of whom will tolerate either physical or spiritual ungodliness and worldly lusts.

Let’s consider what the scriptures actually say about God’s free gift of grace and what is His love.

Here is what the scriptures teach us is the function of grace in the life of the true believer:

Tit 2:11  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Tit 2:12  Teaching [Greek – paideuo, chastening] us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Grace is a free gift because God chastens us without charge to forsake ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live sober, righteous and godly lives in this present age. Where stubborn, rebellious sin persists, God’s chastening grace will indeed “much more abound”. It isn’t even a contest. God will win that war with every single person (1Co 15:22). So much for the doctrine of greasy grace.

This is what the scriptures actually teach is the Biblical love of God:

Mat 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  1Jn 2:17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Saying “Lord, Lord” is not good enough to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Only those who “do the will of [our] Father which is in heaven”.

Obedience to God is biblically the very definition of the love of God:

Rom 11:20  Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear Rom 11:21  For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.  1Jn 5:2  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.  1Jn 5:3  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

“Fear… take heed lest He also spare not you”. So much for the false doctrine that God’s love is unconditional, and He will accept us ‘just as we are’ in lives of sin and shame. It is in His love and His mercy that our heavenly Father, through Christ’s words working within our hearts and minds, ‘chastens us to forsake ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live righteous lives in this present age’. Enabling us and blessing us while we remain in our dying, sinful state is not “the love of God”. Such a doctrine leads to death, and Christ came to destroy death with His chastening grace.

1Co 15:26  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.  Heb 2:14  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Both Testaments make clear that the father is the head of the family. Husbands are to be the head of the home and family, both physically and spiritually. “The father to the children shall make known [God’s] Truth”, which ‘Truth’ is Christ and His doctrine. Husbands, and fathers, as leaders do not cede the teaching of the children to Babylonian wives who may not even believe the Truth given to those who know Christ and His Father.

Isa 38:18  For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. Isa 38:19  The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth.  1Co 7:14  For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.  1Co 11:3  But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 1Co 11:8  For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. 1Co 11:9  Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. Eph 5:22  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

Not all couples are “of one mind” in Christ. A converted spouse should be teaching his or her children the truth as it is understood. Having Christ makes even a converted woman to be her unconverted spouse’s spiritual leader; not necessarily in a verbal, outward way, but “without the word” so the scripture is fulfilled.

1Pe 3:1  Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation [the way of life] of the wives;

God gave your children to both of you. If you can influence your spouse to follow Christ then do so, but never forfeit teaching the Truth of God to an unbelieving spouse. Husbands and wives in Christ are commissioned to “make known [God’s] Truth… to the children”. “Without the word” mean by example. Solomon did not set a godly example for His household, and his pagan, Babylonian wives turned his heart away from the truth of God to the false doctrines of the gods of his wives.

“Be of the same mind”

With all of this firmly in mind, here are the verses which will be the foundation for this study concerning the importance of a married couple agreeing in advance to be of the same mind when it comes to rearing and disciplining children in a family. If you and your spouse cannot agree to these inspired words, before you begin a family, you are asking for trouble which will surely find you:

Pro 13:24  He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.  Pro 19:18  Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. Pro 23:13  Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Pro 23:14  Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

The word ‘rod’ is translated from the Hebrew word ‘shebet‘ and is better translated as a switch rather than a solid rod, which conveys the concept of a inflexible wooden or metallic rod, and implies being beaten with a blunt object. That is not what the scriptures teach.

Here is how Strong’s defines this word translated ‘rod’:

H7626 שׁבט shêbeṭ shay’-bet From an unused root probably meaning to branch off; a scion, that is, (literally) a stick (for punishing, writing, fighting, ruling, walking, etc.) or (figuratively) a clan: –  X correction, dart, rod, sceptre, staff, tribe.

This ‘rod’ with which we told to “beat” our children, is simply speaking of a switching or a paddling or a spanking with a ‘rod’. It is intended to bring enough pain that the child will never again want to disobey his or her parents, but it is never to be so severe as to inflict any permanent injury.

Discipline should be done in private, if at all possible. It should be done while the parent is in complete control of himself or herself, and in complete control of the child who is to be disciplined. Parents ought never humiliate a child in the presence of other family members or in the presence of the child’s friends. This takes great discipline, but just as parents ought never to argue in the presence of their children, neither should they discipline children in the presence of their friends. I have seen parents ‘show off’ their disciplining of their children by publicly railing at them or spanking them in front of fellow church members.

There may be times when immediate discipline in the presence of others is demanded because of the urgency of the situation, but such times are very rare and should be the exception. A child about to step out in front of a car after having just been told to stay by Daddy’s or Mommy’s side may be such an example.

This principle of chastening by necessity being a very physically painful experience is reaffirmed in both Testaments:

Pro 3:11  My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: Pro 3:12  For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. Heb 12:5  And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: Heb 12:6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Heb 12:7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

Where is there any room for the devastating false doctrines of greasy grace or unconditional love in any of those verses of scripture? I am well aware that those words sound completely Neanderthal to the ears of anyone who still subscribes to the equivocating double talk of the anti-authoritarian writings of the famous Dr. Benjamin Spock concerning child rearing. Dr. Spock’s  book Baby and Child Care was published in 1946 and became the virtual Bible on child rearing in the secular world for several decades. While his defenders resent his teaching being labeled as permissive, that has nevertheless been the result of his anti-authoritarian philosophy on the structure and function of the American family and many other families around this world.

Dr. Spock’s philosophy stood in stark contrast to the writings of another earlier, very popular child psychologist, Dr. John B. Watson, who discouraged parents, especially mothers, from showing any affection at all towards their children. It is believed by many that Dr. Spock’s anti-authoritarian philosophy was in reaction and in rebellion against his own authoritarian parents and the authoritarian philosophy he worked under during his first ten years as a pediatrician working in hospitals with children who had be treated and were being raised in homes under the influence of the philosophy of Dr. John B. Watson.

Here is a quote from Dr. Watson’s book entitled Psychological Care of Infant and Child:

“Mother love is a dangerous instrument. An instrument which may inflict a never healing wound . . . which may make infancy unhappy, adolescence a nightmare, an instrument which may wreck your adult son or daughter’s vocational future and their chances for marital happiness.” Parents were advised to “never hug or kiss [their children]. Never let them sit on your lap. If you must, kiss them once on the forehead when you say goodnight.”

I have witnessed family members who have not seen each other sometimes for months or years, and when they finally meet again, the most affection they can muster is just a handshake. This story in Luke 15 must sound perverted to such staid and stiff families.

Luk 15:20  And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him

What a sad choice to have to make between these two completely devastating, totally nonbiblical doctrines of these two carnal men. Neither of these men had any Biblical, Godly basis for their theories of how we should deal with our children. The only thing they apparently agreed on is that the Bible has no place in teaching us how we should handle the training and upbringing of our children. The philosophies of these two men are merely the two extremes of what happens when we leave the Word of God, the Manufacturer’s manual, out of our thoughts and considerations about how we are to handle, care for and maintain the Manufacturer’s product, which is mankind and the children of mankind.

Dr. Spock’s philosophy was diametrically opposed to Dr. Watson’s, and is revealed at the very beginning of his book where he assures mothers “You know more than you think you do”. Those words coming off the pen of a man who admits that he is not religious, simply set the stage for the rest of his very ambivalent philosophy, which never denies the need for discipline, rather just refers to spanking as being “poisonous”.

Here is a quote from Dr. Spock’s Baby and Childcare, 1976 Edition, Section 528 on Managing Young Children: Discipline, page 373:

“I’m not particularly advocating spanking, but I think it is less poisonous than lengthy disapproval, because it clears the air, for parents and child.”

This man’s books sold more copies than any other book, second only to the Bible, for many years. It is reported that there have been over 90 million copies of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Childcare sold world wide. His assumption that children are just naturally good creatures who simply need understanding and encouragement, and at times a little gentle direction, is what is believed to this day in the secular world of child psychology. Such a humanistic doctrine stands in stark contrast to the Truth, which is:

Ecc 3:18  I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

…and:

Jer 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

These words apply to every child that has ever been born. Neither we nor any of our children are an exception to what is the sad truth concerning the beastly nature of the seed of the first man Adam.

My father was grown and married and had a family before Dr. Spock wrote his very influential opinions about child rearing. Fortunately for my siblings and me, our father never bought into either of those extremes. While my father no doubt leaned toward the side of corporal punishment, it is clear from the fruits of our permissive society that being too lenient is no less of a burden to society than being too strict. But extremes are not where God dwells. God’s way is the narrow way which is neither too heavy on discipline, and is never permissive or anti-authoritarian. As we saw so clearly above, God speaks with authority, and He expects His creatures to fear to disobey Him:

Mat 7:29  For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Luk 12:5  But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him Rom 11:20  Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear Rom 11:21  For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee

God has subjected His own creatures to vanity, but He has done so for the express purpose of redeeming them from that state.

Rom 8:20  For the creature was made subject to vanitynot willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Gal 3:13  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 1Pe 1:18  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 1Pe 1:19  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

This vain composition of Rom 8:20 is what physical newborns are. “They themselves are beasts”. The very beginning of the redemption from that beastly nature is foreshadowed by being disciplined and being physically spanked by our physical parents, who, as Moses was to carnal Pharaoh, are gods to us as carnal children, until we are able to begin to understand the concept of a sovereign, invisible God.

Here is what the holy spirit has inspired to be written for our benefit concerning proper child rearing in the New Testament:

Eph 6:1  Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Col 3:20  Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

Children are commanded to “obey your parents in the Lord… in all things”, but God expects parents to make that obedience stick, “not willingly, [on the part of the child] but in hope…” on the parents’ part, just as God is dealing with His own carnal children.

Paul reveals to us in the book of Galatians that Abraham is an Old Testament type of Christ:

Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

So when we read:

Gen 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

We know that we, as the children of Abraham must do the very same thing with our children, both physical and spiritual.

Joh 8:39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s [Christ’s] children, ye would do the works of Abraham [Christ].

We will stop at this point and have a second part next week on how we should deal with our children. Christ is our Father, and He is our example. Next week we will see how Christ deals with our rebellious nature.

We are twice told “Fathers provoke not your children to wrath”, and we will see why we are given that commandment. We are also told parents are to encourage and strengthen their children, and are to be careful not to discourage their children.

Nothing makes a child feel better than having his parents’ approval, and nothing makes a child feel worse than knowing he has disappointed his parents. It is of utmost importance that we treat our children as we want Christ to deal with us and encourage and strengthen us when we are in need of encouragment and strength.

So it is of utmost importance that parents teach their children from their youth to be obedient, modest, quiet, and willing to be of service to others. Women who dress immodestly must expect their daughters to do the very same thing, and not be surprised when they reap the fruit of such an example.

Our next study will be dealing with the spiritual and psychological needs of our children. Here are but a few of the verses we will be considering in our next study on how we as parents should be ministering to, nurturing and bringing up our children in the admonition of the Lord”:

Deu 1:38  But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. Deu 3:28  But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see. Eph 6:4  And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  Col 3:21  Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Pro 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. 1Ti 2:9  In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

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