Is this what your children think is the reason for obedience: to stay out of trouble? If this is true then your children will not know the power of hope. You see, children are just like every other human, they require hope to thrive. Perhaps the greatest enemy of hope is trusting in performance. Trust in your own ability to perform is the great enemy of the gospel. But aren't we supposed to perform well? Aren't we supposed to do our best? If children are to obey their parents, how can we not talk about performance? These are exactly the right questions! However, the answer may surprise you. To be distinctly biblical, obedience must be connected to hope, not to performance. Our performance is not where hope will be found.
For a Christian our hope is not in our performance, but in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Only Christ performed perfectly in every way. No human can ever match that standard. In comparison, we all fail miserably, horribly.
Too often, the message children receive about obedience is this: "Obey or face the consequences."
This is not the theme of biblical obedience. Ephesians 6:1-3 is a wonderful passage to encourage children to obey. But, please look carefully at the words and the encouragement in the passage. Paul is not saying:
"Children obey or else you will be in big trouble."
He is saying obey your parents in the strength of the Lord and you will be blessed. Wow, what a difference in perspective! The message of the gospel is good news. Jesus died for your sins. He suffered the consequences for your failure to perform. He paid the price of your disobedience so that you could live a life that is not motivated by performance but by true hope.
[Read the rest of the article at Shepherd Press.]