Last fall, I shared about my first-grade daughter’s spiritual questions and desire to please God. I shared how I responded (twice) by trying to explain grace. I shared the gospel with her using 1 John 1:9. The initial conversation lasted ten minutes or less.
It is this last part I want to revisit. Since the fall, I’ve been working my way through two books and doing some heavy thinking (at least for me). Both books deal with our understanding of 1) Jesus and 2) the gospel. Over the next few months, my plan is to dig through the goldmine of these two books and pull up the heaviest nuggets I can, and share the ideas that have been sparked in me through them.
Here’s one of the ideas as it relates to my previous conversation with my daughter: I am foolish to think a ten minute conversation is enough to impart the gospel to her. That the story of God can be explained in one verse and subsequently grasped by a six year-old.
Imagine you’re having “the birds and bees” convo with one of your kids. Do you just bring up the subject one time because they’ve reached a certain age and from there on avoid those topics like the plague? You did your job, so now for sure your kid won’t take any missteps or need any ongoing support or advice from you?
Of course we don’t think that would be good enough! The conversation can’t start then end when a child has reached “a certain age.” We have to have mini-conversations along the way: appropriate, timely and relevant to where they are. Sexuality is a complex issue and affects us on many levels.
Isn’t the gospel even more complex? Affecting us on every level? How do you explain an issue like depravity? Or a concept like grace? I don’t have all the answers, but I know you can’t do it justice if you’re limited to one verse or only ten minutes.
And can these concepts (and the gospel itself) be explained or understood apart from the context of story? The context of The Story?
I believe we lose something when we explain the Plan of Salvation without going into The Story the Plan comes from. Salvation must always be tied to the Story of Jesus, and the Story of Jesus is best understood in its context within the whole story of the Bible.
I can’t cram that into a ten minute conversation. And I probably shouldn’t even try.