It is becoming more difficult to find families that do more than just stay together.
For many, it is a great accomplishment to avoid divorce. But, staying together, under the same roof, is not the chief end of the family—not from a Biblical standpoint. In his book, Bound for Glory, R.C. Sproul, Jr. describes the family as a shared life of individuals, who journey toward God in repentance and worship.
He begins by establishing the purpose of family as found in the covenant and command of Genesis 1:26-28 to have dominion over the earth. The family is the channel by which this covenant is actuated. In a covenantal family, the husband, wife, children, and church play an important role. Sproul speaks to these aspects with practicality and living examples. With 150 pages, it’s an easy read, making it a wonderful work to read more than once. If you are like me, you will need to.
Here are some highlights:
- The culture is content to let a husband, a wife and one or two children share a roof, as long as it can ensure that they do not share a life.
- Instead of exercising dominion in a context of peace—with God’s blessing—warfare now surrounds us.
- Our families are not some separate slice of our lives. Instead they are the very center of our calling in exercising dominion and in seeking the kingdom.
- Being a husband is a lifelong, uninterrupted job, being a tool in the sanctification of your wife and children.
- The individual is governed by the conscience; the family is ruled by the rod; the state rules through the sword; and the church rules through the power of the keys—the exercise of church discipline.
- What brings the wrath is not our thoroughness in raising the children in the training and admonition of the Lord, but our sloppiness.
- The church ought to be, as the family of God, seeking the kingdom of God, trying to make manifest or visible the reign of Jesus Christ, by being a family above the family, and by being a family to those who have no family.
- We are an entire household of people who are required to submit.
- To put it more plainly, we do not punish our children for the sake of bringing justice to pass. That’s not our goal. We are not, when we discipline our children, seeking to even the cosmic scales of justice.
- I am not a sinless man trying to drag my children up to my level of spiritual maturity. I am a sinner saved by grace, and called to lead my family into a life of repentance and spiritual growth.