I attended the Youth Specialties conference in Nashville this past weekend – it was my first time to attend the conference, and there was a lot to take in. Some good stuff, some not-so-good stuff. I’ll likely continue to post some thoughts from the conference in the weeks to come, but for now, I’ll direct you to one of the more exciting discoveries I made.
When we allow our students to believe – or, worse, teach them – that their faith is a sum of their behaviors, that obedience is a precursor to righteousness before the Lord, we feed them empty calories. It won’t be long before they realize that their behavior can’t sustain them for the long-haul, and they give up. But the gospel of grace, the Truth of the Scriptures, tells us something very different:
“But the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood to be received by faith.” -Romans 3:21-25
This is a faith which can absorb a student’s pitfalls, as it absorbs our own. This is a faith which can give a student an identity apart from their failed performance. This is a faith which sticks.