Promises To Parents
Wilson has been talking about the promises of God that apply to parents who keep God’s covenant. My husband made the pertinent point all of God’s promises have conditions. God promises the resurrection to life to those who by faith allow His son’s blood to cover their guilt. God does not promise it will go well with all of the Israelites but with those who honor their father and mother.
So it is with God’s promise to bless the children of believers. It is not a blanket promise to all believers, but the condition is that the believing parents must be careful to keep his covenant and to diligently teach their children. If both parents are believers but they are not careful in the way they raise and teach their children, and they are not careful that their own personal life is characterized by obedience, then they have no reason to claim the promise.
But What About Grace?
At this point I used to think: “Doesn’t a promise having a condition make that works righteousness? Are you saying that we earn things from God? I thought it was all by grace?” It is most certainly all by grace, but allow me to explain.
Someone once said it like this: say you’re a poor kid in high school with no special academic or athletic abilities and a person you’d never met came up to you and said: “I want to pay for 100% of your college expenses. You can go to any college in the entire world that you want, but there’s one condition. You have to graduate from high school.” Now if you are able to graduate from high school therefore meeting the condition, does that mean you somehow earned this generous gift? Of course not. It’s entirely undeserved and totally free.
So it is with God’s lavish promises to us concerning our children. When He promises to bless a thousand generations after us if only we will keep covenant by carefully following Him, and teach our children about Him, this is none other than lavish grace. We could never teach them well enough, or model well enough to affect such an extensive generational legacy all on our own. It would be preposterous to imagine being that influential. But this is something that God promises to make happen. We see here His character; He is in no way miserly in His grace towards us. When it comes to fulfilling a promise, he is extravagant.