On certain occasions a pastor like myself will sit down after preaching and then be struck with a thought compelling him to say to himself, "I also wish I would have said that." For me, yesterday was one of those moments.
If you heard my sermon yesterday, you know I've begun a four week series on the biblical gospel. My purpose yesterday was two-fold: to define the nature of the gospel (Christ's choosing, saving, sanctifying and restoring grace given to us) and to argue that it and it alone is the primary theme of the Bible and must be our church's non-negotiable focus.
While preaching on the gospel-saturated nature of sanctification, I talked about how Christian parenting rises or falls based on whether we parent according to the Law (focused on behavior modification) or the gospel (focused on heart transformation). The thought which struck me after I finished preaching which I wish I would have said is this: If our true goal in parenting is gospel-saturated, grace-driven heart transformation (which will give rise to increasingly more holy choices in our children as a gracious by-product, but not as the primary goal), then the most fundamental question we as parents should be asking ourselves when our children are increasingly recalcitrant, rebellious and non-responsively sinful is this: "How can I make Christ and His grace more beautiful, glorious and compelling to my child?"
If Titus 2:11ff. is correct, that we are trained for sanctification primarily by God's grace in Christ, then the above question is the most important one any Christian parent can ask him/herself. Remember, a compliant child without a delight in Christ is a Pharisee in the making, but a child who, day by day, learns more and more to see and savor the beauty of the Savior and becomes increasingly desperate for His grace in light of his/her sin - despite the fact that they are not becoming the model child in behavior their proud parents secretly [or not so secretly] hope they'll become - is a monument to the gospel in the making. God did not entrust us with children in order to craft them into model Christian citizens whose behavior we would always be proud of. He entrusted us with children in order to help them become living testaments to His grace.