Good morning, Five Minute Families. Weather patterns across the US have been crazy with late spring-like weather mere hours before freezing temperatures and a blanket of snow. Memes abounded last week about the “spring of deception” or “third winter.” Our scheduled plans had to change yet again to accommodate something we cannot control. Part of life is coming to terms with what we can control and what we cannot, and seeing how powerful and mighty God is in the process.
Today, we are beginning a series to discuss how a family can dive deep into four essentials of faith as Paul discusses them in Romans – righteousness, redemption, resources, and revival.
The term righteousness appears thirty-five times in Romans. Righteousness is defined as ‘the quality of being morally right or justifiable’ or as ‘acting in accord with divine or moral law.’ And, you know, it is intriguing how even the slang meaning for righteous touches on the depth of the concept wherein the slang use is defined as ‘genuine or excellent.’ Paul defined righteousness as “inward and outward conformity to God’s law” (Insight for Living Ministries). As Romans 1:17 explains, “For in [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.” Believers must understand that we cannot have righteousness apart from God and His working in our lives.
If righteousness is not possible apart from faith in God, then, parents, it is fundamentally important that our children understand what it means to be a Christ-follower. We would like to walk you down what is commonly referred to in Christian lingo as “The Romans Road.” Each time the discussion occurs, and, yes, it should occur more than once over the years, you will see growth in your kids, and in yourself as a disciple of Christ.
- To begin, ask “Are you a good person?” No matter their answer, the truth lies in Romans 3:23, 3:10, and 5:12. So, with littles, you can share the simple statement that no one is perfect, and we will make bad decisions sometimes. With older children, we encourage you to read the Scriptures and discuss the child’s thoughts and feelings about them as well as the term righteousness.
- Whether they answer yes or no to the previous question, you can continue the conversation with, “is your sin really that bad?” The answer is found in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” For littles, we need to say something such as even though not listening seems like it doesn’t really matter, it shows that our hearts are set on ourselves and not God.
- Continue to get your kids to consider what to do with their sin problem by asking, “So, since we have seen that no one is sin-free, how can there be any hope for you?” Point out the gift that God sent in the form of Jesus and the relief we can receive from Him from Romans 5:8 “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
- Next, ask, “do you know how you can be saved from the bad consequences of your sin?” Read Romans 10:9 together “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” For littles, again, keep it simple: you tell God you know you make mistakes and as you get older and better understand about Jesus, you can ask Him to be your Savior. For older kids, be sure to add in verse ten “One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.” So that they see the connection to righteousness. If your child wishes to make this confession now, allow time for prayer and conversation.
- Remember, we often doubt what has happened because there isn’t a lightning bolt or some cosmic event that we can tangibly identify. Your child may be wondering, “did God accept me?” Romans 10:13, 5:1, and 8:1 all assure us that He did hear and accepts us completely and forever, “for anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” and not condemned.
Parents, we often think that church attendance makes it clear to our kids how to become a child of God, but the reality is that they miss a lot being worried about how they look or which friends will be there that day. Having set discussion times and allowing our children to be open and honest about where they are in their understanding of God are extremely important.
Let us close today with Romans 8:38-39, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Be blessed!