…Many Christian educators have been trained in secular institutions where the spiritual world is either denied or ignored. Modern educators speak of educating the whole child, but in reality they don’t unless they recognize the spiritual, or God-related, aspect of man. Because of this gap in our training, we need to be continually reminded of the reality of the spiritual world. The Lord reminds us through the Apostle Paul:
“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
God Is Supreme Over Angels
We have already seen that God is supreme over the world of evil, but we also need to know that God is supreme over hosts of angels who are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:4). When Christ was taken captive before the crucifixion, He reminded Peter, who wanted to fight with a sword:
“Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how, then, shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:53-54).
In the lifetime of Elisha, there was a time when he and his servant were surrounded by a great army with horses and chariots that were bent on their destruction. The servant was frightened and said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” Elisha’s answer was:
“Fear not; for they who are with us are more than they who are with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha” (II Kings 6:15-17).
This is not an exceptional case, for we have numerous Scriptures that assure us that the angels are protecting God’s people. The Psalmist said, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about those who fear Him, and delivereth them” (Psalm 34:7). The reality of God’s protecting hand over His own should be impressed upon our children. Christians need not be fearful of physical dangers. Children who are taught this truth and who accept it by faith will grow up to become adults with great assurance, not afraid to risk their lives or fortunes in God’s service.
God Is Supreme Over The Spiritual Life Of The Believer
Christian educators need to be aware that when a person accepts Christ as his Savior the Bible tells us he is “born again” (John 1:12-13). As a result of this new birth, there is a new spiritual life which was not there before. This new spiritual life needs to be nurtured by the “sincere milk of the word” (I Peter 2:2). Jesus told Nicodemus that “Except a man be born again, he cannot see (or understand) the
In order to understand this spiritual life received by those who are born again, we need to understand the nature of man as God created him. Just as God is a triune being, so He created man triune in a sense since he has body, soul and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Man’s body, the physical part of man, must have food and physical care in order to survive. The fall of man as a result of sin greatly damaged man’s body, so it is now afflicted by disease and, eventually, death. Man was also created with a soul that is able to appreciate the beauty and glory of God’s creation. As a result of the fall, the soul was also damaged so that man now has a warped view of beauty and has many problems in his relationships with the creation and other people. Man was also created with a human spirit that is that part of man that responds to God. The spirit of man was so damaged in the fall that the Bible speaks of man as being spiritually dead, “You hath He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Because man is spiritually dead, the natural man “receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God” (I Corinthians 2:14). Unsaved people have no desire to pray or to study God’s Word and they prefer to avoid places where such things are being done.
In the new birth, it is the spirit of man that is reborn. This accounts for the complete change from antagonism against the things of God to an appreciation and seeking for spiritual truth. The newborn Christian enters into a completely new world of faith and fellowship with God and God’s people. This is a world where God is indeed supreme for the chief characteristic of this new nature is to be obedient to God and to do His will (1
Secular educators plan their educational program with no understanding or recognition of this spiritual phenomenon. Christian educators must be not only partakers of the new birth but also knowledgeable in dealing with those who have been born again. Students who do not respond to spiritual truth have probably never been saved, and, in that case, we must “Do the work of an evangelist” (II Timothy 4:5). If we simply adopt the secularist’s views concerning the nature of the child and his methods concerning counseling, discipline and guidance, we are certain to go astray.
The fact of the new life in Christ gives a whole new dimension to education that is completely ignored by secular educators. In a school where God is supreme, we must learn to educate the “new man” (Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10). In the next several chapters, we will explore what the Bible says about the moral training of children and young people.
Excerpted from Chapter 4 of An Introduction to the