By God’s grace, many Christians can testify of being blessed through the legacy of a godly grandmother. But how about the spiritual impact of grandfathers? Are we Christian grandfathers also impacting the coming generations with the gospel of Christ? When our grandchildren look at us, do they see tangible proof that the gospel changes people? That the gospel has changed us?
What a blessing it is when our grandchildren see Christ-reflecting fruit of the gospel in our lives as grandfathers. As they see the way the Spirit of God has transformed us—and continues to shape the way we live day in and day out, the gospel can be perceived as more “real” to the coming generations Titus 2:2 helps us by delineating a number of godly characteristics that should be true of us older men. Imagine the impact of a life of faithful love and obedience to Christ that is demonstrated in these ways!
We older men should be clear-thinking, having a balanced perspective on what’s happening around us. By God’s grace, we grandfathers should resist reactionary attitudes in life, ranting and raving about frustrations we are feeling in our family situations, in our jobs, or especially in the world of economics and politics. By trusting in our sovereign God, we can process life’s happenings in a calm, sober-minded way and show the younger generations what it means to deal with the ups and downs of life with wisdom and a calm trust in God’s unseen presence with us.
Our grandchildren should be able to see in us a gospel-empowered control over our appetites, our use of time and money, our words, and our tempers. If we are out of control in one or more area of our lives, we will demonstrate to the young ones that the gospel has no real, practical effectiveness in daily life. That is, we will show ourselves to be hypocrites.
Sound in faith
We grandfathers should have a growing, healthy grip on the truths of God’s Word, having learned through the years that the Bible is trustworthy. As we hold on to Christ ourselves, we can be anchors to our grandchildren when it comes to believing God’s Word and can model for the coming generations the truth that God is who he says he is, and he does what he says he will do.
Sound in love
The descriptive phrase common in our culture, “grumpy old men,” should not come to mind when grandchildren reflect on the lives of their Christian grandfathers. When God’s grace gets a grip on the life of an older man, he tends to be gracious, not grouchy. One practical overflow of the gospel’s effect on the lives of older men is that they have a healthy love for other people. They are “sound in love.”
Sound in Steadfastness
The pains, griefs, and disappointments that come from living for decades in this fallen world can make some grandfathers downright negative and pessimistic. But older men who know the God of grace have lives marked by a healthy endurance. The God-centered hope that fills their hearts is evident in their steady conversations and lifestyles.
Growing in Grace
What empowers this growth of character in the lives of Christian grandfathers? Is it a matter of mere determination? “Just do it?” Let’s keep reading a bit longer in Titus 2.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”Titus 2:11–12
There’s a connecting word in verse 11 that adds hope and help in this pursuit of leaving a godly legacy. Do you see it? It’s the word “for.” After painting pictures of what the everyday lives of ordinary Christians in various life situations should look like, the apostle Paul adds these encouraging words about the impact of God’s extraordinary gospel.
Ordinary Christians can live extraordinary lives because they are empowered by God’s extraordinary grace. Not only should we grow in godly character, but we can. We can change. We can grow—no matter how old we are! God has given us his grace—grace that “trains us” to live “self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.” We are not stuck, fellow grandfathers! As Christians, there’s no reason to have the defeatist attitude, “Well, that’s just the way I am. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Listen: We’re not dogs. We are redeemed image bearers of the God who has given us his amazing grace, not only for initial salvation, but for the ongoing transformation of our daily lives.
Rightly Reading the Word
As Christian grandfathers who want to continue to grow in grace even in this latter season of our lives, we make a point to block out time to personally read our Bibles. But we want to read our Bibles rightly. The Bible is not merely some kind of rule book in which a person makes himself good enough for God. When we read the Bible this way, we might be reading the right book, but we’re not reading it rightly. We can read our Bibles, but miss Christ.
If we are going to read our Bibles in way that transforms the character of our lives, we must read the Bible in a Christ-centered way. We read God’s Word noticing our need for Christ. Seeing how he brings us to God. Seeing him. And, as we see Christ, the Spirit transforms us. Second Corinthians 3:18 explains, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” God’s Word is a key tool that he uses in his ongoing work of shaping the character of our lives.
If we grandfathers are going to leave a godly life legacy for our grandchildren, we must continue to passionately pursue Christ and Christlikeness in daily life. Our lives will impact those of the coming generations. To some measure, our character, our priorities, and our perspectives on life and eternity will be reflected in them. May our grandchildren see Christ in us!
GRANDPARENTING WITH GRACE: LIVING THE GOSPEL WITH THE NEXT GENERATION
In this practical and biblical resource for grandparents, Larry McCall helps readers confidently carry out their mission of gospel-focused grandparenting. Grandparenting with Grace explores how to build a legacy of a life worth following and how to faithfully pray for grandchildren.