The gospel changes everything, my pastors often say. I wrestle daily with exactly what that means, especially how the gospel changes my parenting style. I’ve written before about the difference in discipline and punishment. Christians and non-Christians often use those two words interchangeably, but the Bible doesn’t, and that is the focal point for me of what is and what is not gospel-centered parenting.

I cannot believe the gospel changes everything and then continue to punish my children (read the article to which I previously linked for a biblical defense of that statement). However, I can and must disciple them. I proactively train them in righteousness and reactively guide them in how the gospel equips them to reconcile with the one to whom they have done wrong.

Christ bore all their punishment (payment of sin) on the cross, and there is no condemnation for those who are in Him. I can’t believe the gospel is sufficient for my children and then heap shame and condemnation on them in punishment for their sins. Yet, I cannot disengage either. God has tasked me with the responsibility of training them.

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