“And these words that I command you today [i.e., the Law] shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deu 6:6-7
If we accept that we are to teach the Law to our children, then what does that mean? Memorizing the Ten Commandments, reading through the five books of the Law – Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy – every year, trying to keep the Law of Moses as Christians? I am honestly not sure, and it is possibly a discussion that the Church needs to have (Galatians 3 is a good place to start).
Each family, each father must decide for themselves. But I would say that a key is not to have a head knowledge of the Law only, but “these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” God is after our hearts, and obedience must come from the heart. For us to have the knowledge of the Law only, without our hearts loving the Law for the Lord’s sake, and fearing the Lord for His holiness which the Law teaches (for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom), might make us puffed up with knowledge like the Pharisees who Jesus reproved.
How can a child be kept under guard by a Law that is not enforced? For the Law was added because of transgressions, and children without boundaries are a terror. Clearly the Law was meant to be obeyed.
One teen I know who was raised in a Christian home, who is on the threshold of faith, but who has not yet crossed over, has been struggling in the past year with depression and rebellion. Both come from the same root: this teen is realizing that no matter what she does, and no matter how hard she tries to make everything in her life work, she fails somewhere along the line. The failure produces depression, and then rebellion, which in her case is giving up on trying to live righteously. But Paul says in Gal 3:22:
“The Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to all who believe.”
The realization that this young lady is going through, that she has been confined under sin and cannot escape it no matter how hard she tries, is necessary. Knowing the Law and trying to obey it eventually produces in our children the realization that it cannot be perfectly obeyed. Now they are ready for true repentance – can there be salvation without repentance? I do not believe so – and placing their faith in Jesus Christ in order to be made right with God.
Martin Luther once said that the Law must be preached to an unrepentant sinner, while grace must be preached to a repentant one.