“Discipleship is restorative rather than modifying. Both restoration and modification are aimed at the same thing, change. When talking about cars, restoration is concerned with the authenticity, that the components are what the original manufacturer intended, while modifying a car is done purely on the owner’s whim and is usually based on appearances. Want to bolt a spoiler on the trunk? Go for it. Don’t want to take the time to address a rust issue on the fender? Just paint over it. Restoration and modification both can come after our children sin.
Modification is aimed at changing behavior through taking something away, adding a punitive task, or spanking, anything that will force our child to modify their external behavior, while restoration is aimed at deepening an awareness of the gospel of grace. So, restoration doesn’t seek to change the behavior of the child in order to change their character.
Restoration looks at the heart of the child in order to teach them to apply the gospel to their sin and so to rely on his justification when they fail rather than rely on their own. Because when character change happens, behavior matches the character. But just modifying behavior is like painting over rust; it looks good for a while until the untreated rust underneath bubbles up and ruins the paint job. Not only that, but the rust has eaten away at the metal and is worse than before the cosmetic paint job was applied now needing even more radical restoration.
The goal for Christian discipline isn’t better conduct, but a stronger understanding of the gospel of grace. As parents we are meant to teach our children who God is and what he has done for us, and because of that all discipline is meant to be spiritual, leading them to a greater understanding of the love of God, not to better our child’s conduct in hope that it will result in an understanding of the love of God.”
Excerpt From: “House of Grace – Big Sinners Raising Little Sinners.” Get an advance reader’s copy before it releases at the end of the year here.