Over the past year or so, I’ve become increasingly burdened by the fact that I have a Biblical mandate to be the spiritual leader of my household and the primary faith teacher to my children. I have also been challenged by leaders in my church and other sources to not only feel convicted about these duties, but to actually take steps to carry out my obligations. In accordance with all of this, and with Easter rapidly approaching, I decided to have a theological discussion with my son.
Will is all of three years old, and having any conversation with him, much less a spiritual one, is challenging to say the least. But, it is never too early to start talking to your children about God. Will loves for me to wrestle with him, and it is during these bouts that I feel I have his undivided attention. In between rounds, while we were resting, I thought this might be a great time for some “God moments”. During our conversation I said, “Did you know that Jesus came to save and rescue us? Will’s reply, “Was he a fireman, or a Power Ranger?”
That question may make you giggle, but I think it involves an evangelical angle we must consider. I believe that Will, at age three, has not yet reached the age of accountability. He does not understand the concept of sinning against a Holy God. When he thinks about being “rescued” or “saved”, in his mind it must be from burning buildings or evil Ngylock warriors.
Why is this relevant? Well, I think many times we get become entrenched in using “Christianeese”. That is terminology that Christians know and understand, but that unbelievers might be unfamiliar with. During the “big” religious holidays of Christmas and Easter someone might ask why we celebrate. Our response might be, “Because Jesus came to save us.” Their appropriate question then might be, “From what?”
The logical response then is, “From our sins.” There it is…the “S” word. (I know. I know. This is supposed to be a family publication, right?) It’s not the first time you’ve seen that word, is it? I mean it only appears in the Bible about 500 times! (That’s not an exaggeration for emphasis. I looked it up!) But more important than the number of times it appears, is the depth and breadth to which human history has been impacted by that little three letter word.
Think about it. Hypothetically, if Eve had never been tempted, then the one fruit fiasco would never have occurred, this plague upon mankind would never have been perpetuated, and we would all still be living in the paradise of Eden. But she was, and it did, and it is, and we’re not! I know it’s not popular to talk about, but it is our sin that separates us from Holy God.
But talk about it we must! It is essential to salvation, to evangelism, to the faith. Think about it. If you tell someone to wear a life-preserver because it will make them feel good, or help them with their finances, or their relationships, they will be reluctant to put it on, and fast to remove it if there are not immediate positive results. But explain to them that they are about to drown, and then a certain urgency takes hold.
This, by the way, is the difference between Christianity and every other major world religion. Every other faith group says, “Follow us, and we will teach you how to swim.” The Bible on the contrary says in Isaiah 64:6, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”