Friday, 4 November 2016
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1
Chapter 6 begins with a movement from the marital relationship to that of the responsibilities of and for children. Paul addresses the teknon, or children, directly. The word indicates a child, but in its fuller sense, it figuratively indicates “anyone living in full dependence on the heavenly Father, i.e. fully (willingly) relying upon the Lord in glad submission. This prompts God to transform them into His likeness” (HELPS Word Studies).
The word in this case is following the family unit of children within a household. In such a case, the children are instructed to, “…obey your parents in the Lord.” The words “in the Lord” are given to qualify the word “obey.” In other words, the assumption is that Paul is writing to children who are of the household of faith.
His words do not exclude the fact that all children should so obey their parents, but not all children will receive the words of Paul. Those who do not, still have God’s general revelation of Himself which is instilled in them concerning family hierarchies. However, as is the case outside of God’s special revelation of Himself to His people, these things often become skewed, or even outright rejected.
However, to avoid that happening within the faith, Paul explicitly directs the children who are “in the Lord” to obey their parents. If they are in the Lord, this is the expectation of the Lord, and they are to adhere to it. As Paul next notes, “…for this is right.” Even without this word of special revelation (meaning the apostolic authority of Paul’s writing), it is understood throughout races, cultures, and societies that this is the normal and proper situation in the family unit. How much more so then when it is an expectation of the Lord who has so structured the family unit!
Life application: The parents are to be the leaders in the family. The children are to obey the parents. How unfortunate it is that modern culture has turned this upside down in movies and TV shows. The children tell the parents what they will do and the parents back down as if the decision by the child is fixed. We must be careful to reject such displays and not get our family decisions caught up in this perverse role-setting.
Heavenly Father, Your word outlines the roles of the family unit and it shows us what is right and proper in the conduct of our family life. Children are admonished to obey their parents because this is the natural and right order of how things should be done. Help us to reject the modern roles displayed on TV and in the movies which upturn this God-ordained hierarchy. May our family decisions be in accord with Your word as the parents lead and direct the family in godliness. Amen.