God tells us in Proverbs 22:15 that “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.” We and our children are descendants of Adam. We were represented by Adam, particularly in his rebellion against God. We lie, cheat, steal, and gossip because every one of us has inherited a fallen nature from our father Adam. Adam was our representative. Adam is our children’s representative and because of this, children do not come into this world morally neutral. They don’t come into this world good.
Children sin because they are sinners, just like their father Adam. Therefore, apart from God’s saving grace, they are objects of God’s wrath just as you once were. Proverbs 23:13-14 says, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with a rod, you will save his soul from Sheol (death).” Can’t we infer the opposite, if you do not strike him with the rod, you will not save his soul from death? Eternity is at stake here! We have to consider the truth about our children from Scripture, not from our children’s baby photos. Some of the biggest tyrants were once cute babies.
Given the opportunity, sin will always show itself in our children. Think about this: we don’t have to teach children to be selfish. We don’t have to teach them to jerk a toy out of another kid’s hand. We typically don’t have to teach our kids the word “mine.” They know it because they are naturally selfish sinners.
This is why we must use the rod of discipline. Scripture tells us that the rod drives away the foolishness from their hearts and drives them to the saving gospel of Christ. Discipline from parents is a means by which God saves. Parental instruction of the law of God and discipline are necessary to restrain their sin and to deal with it in an effective manner. Godly discipline is God’s way of preparation for a right understanding of the gospel. Don’t neglect the instruction and discipline of your children. If you need help with this, please email me or call me.