Deuteronomy 10:12 "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,13and to keep the LORD's commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good."
Iíve been asked this week to speak about child abuse. It has reached epidemic proportions, and it seems that its always in the news. The problem is that the world only sees one kind of "child abuse" and Godís Word reveals that child abuse is an entirely different thing. According to the world, any child who IS NOT free and able to what they want has been abused. According to the Word of God, and child that IS free and able to do what they want, has been abused. This is the problem.
If we look at the worldís point of view, it says we have a right to freedom, and that we can be free, by our own effort and labor. This is a lie. By ourselves, and our efforts we cannot free ourselves from sin, death, or the devil. By ourselves, we remain slaves to the devil, the world and our flesh. By ourselves, there is no one to set us free. It may be that if there were no sin in the world, and no sin in us, we would be free; but Godís Word plainly tells us that we are all sinners, every one of us. Whatís worse, is that by ourselves, we can do no good thing. By ourselves all we are free to do, is to sin, and we are not even free to do it, for it is the only thing we can do. So much for freedom according to the world, it is based on a lie, and is no freedom.
This brings us to Godís freedom. God, in Christ has paid the price to give to us victory over sin death and the devil, and to set us free from slavery to sin. God gives us this victory, but the freedom that is ours, is only the freedom to say no to Godís gift. When we say yes, it is not by our power or strength but solely by the grace of God. And in Christ, we do not choose our own way, but we follow our Good Shepherd and Savior in the path he leads us on. In other words, there is no "absolute freedom" anywhere in this world. For absolute freedom assumes that we have the power to do what we want, or to be God. But God does give us freedom for sin death and the devil, and God does deliver us from all evil, as indeed Jesus taught us to pray.
This brings us back to the issue of child abuse. By nature, and by ourselves, all we can do is sin. The world believes that children should be able to sin freely and often, and to be as miserable as all those who have perished in Hell. God believes that there is a right way for us to live, and has shown us that way in Jesus Christ. God has given commandments, not as burdens, but for our good. God expects that parents teach their children about Jesus and the commandments. God expects parents to discipline their children, teach them respect, and to train them in the way that they should go. God expects parents to say No, to their children, and when the children hear that NO, they should hear it as God himself speaking to them. God gave us parents to do this for us, and children who are not receiving this, its as though they have no parent at all. God does all this because he loves us.
Often we speak of what God in Christ has done for us, and about the gift of life, forgiveness and salvation that are ours in Christ. Often we speak of the law which shows us our sins, and our need for our savior. But today, the focus is on our response to Godís gift in Christ. You see, God doesnít just give us life and salvation, and go away, so we can do what we want. God gives us life and salvation, and then calls us to respond. God requires us to respond. Either we say no thanks to life, forgiveness, peace and salvation, and continue in sin, continue on the way to perdition [Hell]. Or by the grace of God we say yes to the good news of Jesus Christ and we follow: "fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD" "and to keep the LORD's commandments" which are for our good.
If our parents donít teach us these things, we may question whether they really love us. If our parents donít teach us these things, we probably are abused; and God will hold them accountable for the life he has entrusted to their care. Because our parents do discipline us, and teach us about Jesus, we honor them, and give thanks to God, for his love that has given us parents who love us, and bring us to the love of God in Jesus Christ.