To my beloved children.
I am taking time to write to you briefly of some important things I pray I will be given the opportunity to speak with you about and model for you on a continuing basis (along with your mother) as you grow up. There is much that could be said, but for want of ability to say it all I will limit my thoughts to what is currently most on my heart when it comes to you both.
First and foremost I commend you, along with J.C. Ryle (Thoughts for Young Men), to determine as long as you live to make the Bible your guide & adviser. The Bible may seem overwhelming to tackle and you will doubtless receive many and various opinions regarding it. I commend you to the task all the more and not without guidance.
Mark Driscoll sums the Bible up well in his small books On the Old Testament and On the New Testament, which I think you will find very helpful. The central things of which I have become convinced, but you each will have to discover yourselves, are the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture.
The single thing I suggest, and eagerly so, you keep in mind as you search God’s Word is to learn the very nature of God. This can, I think, be seen most clearly in the New Testament Incarnation of God the Son – the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the promised Old Testament Messiah or Christ.
The implications are staggering both for mankind and indeed the rest of creation! The themes of necessary atonement and promised restoration/reconciliation/
renewal are rampant throughout the Bible and are among its chief unifying threads. They highlight the weight and depth of sin well as the beauty and extent of God’s gracious and loving provision of salvation and redemption.
I have found the New Testament book of Hebrews to be particularly helpful to me in brining to Old and New Testaments together in Christ. The Old Testament book of Isaiah is lush the themes of atonement and restoration and connected references to the Messiah. Isaiah 53 has been, for me, the most impactful by far!
The Apostle Paul spoke well when stating, “I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen – that the Christ (or Messiah) would suffer and, as first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people (for Jesus was a Jew) and to the Gentiles (for God so loved the world).” (Ac.26:22-23) To put it another way, “Salvation is from the Jews,” (Jn.4:22) but for both Jew and Gentile.
Secondly I must write to each of you in turn of the unique challenges you will face as male and female in the fallen world you find yourselves in.
My daughter, the world and the culture will strain it its attempts to persuade you that your value is in the way you look and dress. You will be encouraged to give pieces of yourself away (visually, physically, and emotionally) for far, far less that you are worth (and by that I mean life-long commitment in marriage). You will naturally crave attention as a young lady, so guard yourself well.
My son, the world and the culture will strain in its attempt to persuade you to take all that you can as it pertains to what it attempts to persuade women to give away. This will start with your eyes! It will encourage you to take looks, steal glances. You will naturally crave this, so guard yourself well. What you look at will have a profound affect on how you view women (worth life long commitment in marriage).
God designed sex to act like glue within the confines of marriage (for both are His idea, meant to be inextricably connected) and it serves its intended purpose well (Ge.2:24). Outside the confines of marriage it still functions much the same in a world that would encourage you to act as if it does not and therefor tear yourself apart moving from one partner to another as if sex were a purely a physical act (i.e. if the physical consequences be removed it has no affect on you as a person). This is pure folly!
Lastly, but preeminently, I want you to know that it is an unspeakable blessing and privilege to be your father and watch you grow up. It is second only to being the husband of your mother and a child of God. I was not until I was blessed with you as my children that I understood what my parents must have felt for my siblings and I growing up. And I think I learned just a little bit more of God as a Father.
And to this I will only add something small; Daughter of mine, After our Father God himself, look to your earthly father as a prime example of Godly Manhood. Watching him, and remembering how he treats you, will teach you everything you need to know to evaluate the men who value you enough to consider asking for your hand in marriage. And son, watch your father. In him God has given you your most excellent earthly example of biblical masculinity.
Lord, thank you for this man. From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.