Grace is not only a teaching, but a teacher. Consider what Paul writes in Titus 2:11-13, NKJV. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
It is good news that God’s grace has and will appear to every person! It is even better news that grace serves as a teacher, teaching us that we should live a sanctified life in anticipation of the soon coming of Jesus Christ. I love the fact that God’s love for us is transformational. He loves us too much to leave us where we are. Each day there is a new lesson with the objective of recreating us in His image and likeness (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I often wonder if we old people forget that we were once youth. They face new sophistries of the enemy that we never had to think about. I’m not insinuating lowering standards or turning a blind eye when they make mistakes, I’m imploring that we share the same grace that God has freely given and has been accepted by each of us. Something beautiful happens when the same grace we are given is then shared with others, especially with our young people. When they see the fruit of the Spirit demonstrated in our lives, the youth witness the power of the gospel in a real and tangible way.
Ellen White puts it this way: “When Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, then the truth of God will so act upon the natural temperament that its transforming power will be seen in changed characters. You will not then, by revealing an unsanctified heart and temper, turn the truth of God into a lie before any of your pupils. Nor will you, by manifesting a selfish, un-Christlike spirit, give the impression that the grace of Christ is not sufficient for you at all times and in all places. You will show that the authority of God over you is not in name only, but in reality and truth”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 193.
What makes a great school in God’s eyes? I believe it is a school whose teachers and administration surrender self, are led by the Holy Spirit, and are conduits of God’s grace. This is one of the many reasons my children attend an Adventist school. The work of administrators and teachers can often be a thankless job. I’ve seen, firsthand, teachers and administrators spending countless hours laboring with our young people, with the sole purpose of salvation and restoration.
Thank you. Thank you for the second and third chances. Thank you for the grace and redemptive approach you take with our children. Let all of our homes, schools, and churches be a place of grace.
Trevor Schlisner is the Northern New England Conference superintendent of schools.