The Law as a Door to the Gospel

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Are you teaching your children the Ten Commandments?

Those ten concise commandments encompass every sin we or our children could ever think of committing.

The same commandments also make it quite clear that we will never please God in our own strength. We will never measure up to God’s perfect standard.

I wish we had more purposefully pointed our children to the Ten Commandments as we were instructing and disciplining them. I think we missed a prime opportunity to drench them in the gospel.

Taking our children to the Ten Commandments when they sin gives us endless opportunities to lead them to the cross. We can show them what God requires. Then, as we lovingly help them see how they have transgressed or neglected to obey God’s holy requirements, we can joyfully point them to Jesus, their only hope.

Jesus did what they can’t do. He lived a perfect life, and then, on the cross, He paid the penalty that we deserve for our sin. His perfect sacrifice satisfied God’s justice, and through faith in Christ’s death, we are made perfect in God’s sight. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV).

When God looks at us, He sees Jesus.

Our children, just like their parents, will sin again and again. We can scold and discourage them as we simply tell them what they have done wrong and punish them for it. This will probably lead them to try harder (in their own self-righteous strength) or to just give up.

Or we can point them to God’s holy standard, correct them, encourage them to put their faith in Jesus, and then help them remember their position in Him.

Try this over the next few days as you discipline your children:

  • Post a copy of the Ten Commandments in an obvious place in your home. (Many attractive copies can be found on Google Images.)
  • Take your children to your copy and read through the commands with them, asking them to identify which law(s) they have disobeyed. (They may need help with this. We’ll spend more time on this in our Thursday posts in February. In the meantime, you might want to read The Westminster Larger Catechism’s teaching on the Ten Commandments. Questions 98 – 149 offer a detailed description of all that is included in these ten short commandments.)
  • Lead them in confessing and repenting of their sin.
  • Then remind them of the good news – the gospel. Jesus has paid the price. They can put their trust in Him and rest.


(Artwork from


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