The Cross in the Cradle

I have no question one of the most precious things in all creation is the stare of a newborn child.  Babies adorably stare intently and mysteriously because their little minds are trying to take in this new world they have entered; they are in a very simple way trying to understand it all.  It could be said that even babies are developing a worldview or a primitive understanding of how the world works.  We as parents have such a profound effect upon the worldview that young children are developing. Child psychologists are learning more and more about the effects of everything from noise to sight upon the development of babies and toddlers.  Once that baby grows physically capable they begin to even parrot the little things we do in their presence.  This reality makes us selective about what we do or do not present to guide them in a proper path.

We as Christians know the importance of worldview; how we perceive ourselves and the world around us can affect every little moment of life.  As our children begin to learn the basics of this world let us seize this opportunity to teach them Christ and Him crucified as their only hope.  In 1 Corinthians 2:2 Paul showed the importance of Christ taking upon himself our sins and voluntarily receiving the wrath of God that we deserve in our place.  In contrast to the worldly wisdom that the Corinthians received, Paul wanted to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified.  For Paul the cross was the most important truth he could have possibly known.

1 Corinthians 2:2 says much to how we affect the growing worldview of the young children we have an influence over.   A professor of mine once said that we are all born defaulting to an unbiblical false teaching that basically says we are good and get to heaven by being good alongside maybe a little Jesus in Christian circles.  If we don’t show children the cross they will always battle with an old worldview that not only gives false assurance but will tempt them to doubt the true security we hope they one day find in Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  With children we are to show them first Christ and Him crucified.

Of course a newborn and usually a toddler cannot truly understand the doctrine known as the atonement, but like a new pair of boots they can grow into it.  The means of teaching the cross to children from birth will not be sermons or Gospel tracts, but immersion into this beautiful reality much as sports fans will frequently pass down fandom through surrounding his or her young child with a sport they obviously don’t understand yet.  Teach the cross to children around you through talking about Jesus’ sacrifice in simple ways that they can understand or even eventually understand.  Sing to children songs not merely about Jesus’ friendship and love, but songs about the greatest expression of these on the cross of Calvary.  Parents, pray with your child each and every night that they might know what Jesus did for his children who deserved to go to hell.  Use a children’s bible at home that not only mentions the cross, but the intent and accomplishments of the cross (The Jesus Storybook Bible is fantastic).  Parents, in a time of family bible study each week thank God for what Jesus did for us and as kids begin to grow in understanding explain the great Christian doctrine of the atonement with passion and frequency.

That newborn examining the world for the first time cannot understand the cross or any other aspect of the Gospel, but with prayerful time and repetition they might come to build their worldview around it.  I pray that for every child that enters Westminster Baptist Church or is influenced by her members they might know “nothing but Christ and Him crucified.”  Remember though brothers and sisters that the truth of the cross is that even if we have failed to teach it or echo it we are still completely saved by Jesus’ precious blood alone.

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