An occupational hazard for those of us who are Bible teachers is that we unconsciously have a very difficult time accepting the fact that we neither understand all spiritual truth, nor have we as yet realized all the Lord has for us to experience. Deep down, pride keeps us from really believing that we, those who teach others, still have a lot to learn ourselves. We truly do “see in a mirror dimly” (1 Corinthians 13:12), and we don’t know it.
This presents a particular problem if we also write books on what we are teaching. The focus of my ministry, since my children were young, has been a biblical perspective on the family. My first book, The Family, God’s Weapon for Victory, now in its third edition, was first published in 1995. Two additional editions were necessary because in the next two decades my understanding of the functioning of biblical families went through a radical change.
During those intervening years, I came, and continue to come, to an ever-increasing understanding of the gospel of the grace of God. I have recognized that one doesn’t go deeper “than” the gospel—only deeper “into” the gospel. Realizing and then personally encountering more fully what happened at the cross is the essential foundation upon which parents must build to have successful families.
While understanding biblical, family principles (the law of God for families) is absolutely crucial, without a personal experience of the grace of God as a way to live on a daily basis, those principles are insufficient. The third edition of my book, while still teaching the principles, carefully discusses what it means to implement them by the grace of God.
Also, I began to see that this experience with the gospel that makes families work, makes God’s other two ordained kingdom institutions, the church and the civil government, work as well. As a matter of fact, God is using these three institutions to answer the prayer Jesus implored us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Will not God answer a prayer Jesus tells us to pray? The Bible teaches that He is answering that prayer right now—by delegating His own authority to parents in the family, elders in the church, and civil magistrates in the civil government, thus establishing, in experience, His righteous rule on the earth. They rule “in His stead.”
Some react to words like “rule,” “head,” “subject,” etc., but those words are used repeatedly in the Bible. All authority, Romans 13 says, flows from Jesus, seated at the right hand of God, to those in positions of authority on the earth. As these “kingdom rulers” recognize this and learn to rule according to God’s word in the Bible, they bring the family, church, government, business, school, athletic teams, etc. into the “kingdom of God.”
His rule always includes two essential factors: 1.) firmness – God’s holy, righteous, law applied without ever lowering its perfect standard in order to accommodate sinful subjects, and 2) compassion – God’s unlimited grace and unconditional love that forgives the constant shortfall of those sinful subjects. If we have any responsibility in our daily lives, we are rulers in this kingdom. As we learn to rule for Him in our unique areas of specific responsibility, with delegated authority from the throne of God, by God’s law with God’s grace, the Lord’s prayer is being answered!
Recognizing the distinction between these “two edges of the sword” of the word of God, law and grace, and a clear proclamation of the proper use of them both in all three of God’s institutions, represents the current emphasis of my ministry. This was obvious during the recent election season as my blog postings dealt with the biblical view of civil government, a guide for voting according to biblical qualifications, etc.
This new web-site, twoedgesofthesword.com, reflects this change in emphasis; my previous newsletters (blog postings on gospelparenting.com) already have. This in no way diminishes my view of the importance of the family, the building block of a society; it only places it within a larger context—the kingdom of God. The same biblical principles for the family we have discussed over the years, i.e., firmness and compassion rather than harshness and leniency, can be applied to all other authority structures in the kingdom.
So, register your comments, either here on the blog on the web-site, or on our new Facebook page, Two Edges of the Sword.