Who We Are and What We Do
When my wife Kathy and I began to think about the dynamics of the gospel, it wasn’t necessarily the way I preached, or even the way we raised our kids. I preached telling people, "You straighten up and fly right and God will love you for that," and while I would never have answered it that way on a test, it’s the way I not only preached but the way I taught my children.
There was a time when I would say to my oldest son, "Collin, you are a bad boy because you did that." It’s easy to say that, but listen to what I really said: "You are what you did. You have become bad because you did a bad thing. What you do determines who you are." The gospel is the opposite—who we are determines what we do. So it may sound silly, but Kathy and I disciplined ourselves when talking to our children. I would say to my son, "Collin, don’t do that. You’re my son and I love you." I want what he does to be based upon our relationship, I don’t want our relationship to be based upon what he does.
That’s what the gospel is. It changes not only the way God deals with us, but the way we deal with each other. Children, spouse, people in the church, people that we work with—when the gospel priorities begin to change how we think, the way we relate to one another changes profoundly in every aspect of our lives.
I know my children need the awareness of God’s law, they also need the self-awareness that law gives them.
When we could not take care of ourselves, God took care of us. That’s the message of grace.
The gospel works in all of Scripture to teaches us that our primary goal is to enable God’s people to love him more.