Catechism: In His Hands


Q29. How are we made to take part in the redemption Christ bought?

We take part in the redemption Christ bought when the Holy Spirit effectively applies it to us.

This question implicates once again our total depravity and God’s total mercy. We were truly enemies to God. Insurrectionists, like Bar-abbas, hellbent on our own narrow zeal, stubborn to our self-interest, unable to see hope, light, or reason.

As in all things, we can accomplish nothing without divine grace. That includes the salvation of our children, our loved ones, and ourselves. By his grace, we can — and should — work to evangelize, study, relate, educate, pray, and love to best position ourselves and each other to the working of the Holy Spirit — but it’s ultimately not in our control.

That is freeing. We are not judged on outcomes but on our faithfulness. It may turn out that our children seem like disappointments by other metrics. Life may throw us a couple of curve balls. That’s okay. In fact, it’s to be expected. Our plans, if we ever make them, are just a way to orient ourselves at the moment. We discover the actual plans as we stumble behind the Holy Spirit.

The truth of this also suggests that we are not to judge others on outcomes, but to always see and hope for the possibility of redemption. Set a culture of excellence, of beauty, of honesty, and righteousness, but free your children of your expectations. They can no more follow down that path than you can on your own. We all need guidance and grace a little beyond our reach.


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