Everything that isn't gospel is law. Let us say it again: Everything that isn't gospel is law. Every way we try to make our kids good that isn't rooted in the good news of the life, death, ressurection, and assension of Jesus Christ is damnable, crushing, despair-breeding, Pharisee-producing law. We won't get the results we want from the law. We'll get either shallow self-righteousness or blazing rebellion or both (frequently from the same kid on the same day!). We'll get moralistic kids who are cold and hypocritical and who look down on others (and could easily become Mormons), or you'll get teens who are rebellious and self-indulgent and who can't wait to get out of the house. We have to remember that in the life of our unregenerate children, the law is given for one reason only: to crush their self-confidence and drive them to Christ.
Let us be so taken up with the knowledge of God's goodness and the desire to fellowship with Him that our emotions are warmed and our outer man reflects great love. Although we must not seek emotional experiences for their own sake, we must not shun them merely because others misuse them or ignore God's instructions on worship.
And we neglect the glorious gospel when we fail to recognize his preeminence. How frequently we forget that everything is for him and about him. We forget that he is to be first, in our honor and in our worship. Whenever the gospel slips from our conscious thought, our religion becomes all about our performance, and then we think everything that happens or will ever happen isa bout us. When I forget the incarnation, sinless life, death, resurrection, and ascension, I quickly believe that I'm supposed to be the unrivaled supreme, and matchless one. It's at this point that I'm particularly in need of an intravenous dose of gospel truth. He is preeminent.
We forget the gospel when we neglect our adoption and think that we're still just a hired servant. The Father doesn't let us come to him on those terms. We will either come as sons or we will stay with the pigs. He won't let us earn anything from him because there will be no boasting in his sight. It will either be that Jesus and his glorious gospel has the preeminence or we will go it on our own.
Pure, unadulterated, consistent love for God and pure, unadulterated, consistent love for others is the summation of all the law God has given us in both the Old and New Testaments. Of course, the problem is that we never obey these simple commands. We always love ourselves more than we love God or others. We are always erecting idols in our hearts and worshipping and serving them. We are always more focused on what we want and how we might get it than we are on loving Him and laying down our life for others. The law does show us the right way to live, but none of us obeys it. Not for one millisecond.Even though our children cannot and will not obey God's law, we need to teach it to them again and again. And when they tell us that they can't love God or others in this way, we are not to argue with them. We are to agree with them and tell them of their need for a Savior.