We are about to enter one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. Ephesians 6 has so much to tell us about Christ and the life He desires that we live in and through His powerful indwelling Holy Spirit. Remember Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”? This is the driving verse for the discussion about relationships between a husband and wife and it continues in Ephesians 6 with children and parents, then employee and employer.
Ephesians 6:1-4 deals with parent-child relationships. “Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. 2 “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”
The admonition from God to obey and honor our parents was given in the 10 Commandments. Exodus 20:12 ““Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Living a life with peace begins in the home. Rebellion, strife, anger, harsh words and discord can flourish in children both young and old (meaning even you at your age) if not curbed with honor, respect and love. We are selfish creatures and as such want our own way. This command to honor and obey our parents has a promised return- a long and full life in the Lord. Honor and obedience lead to peace and harmony that will lengthen the quality our lives just as disharmony, discord and dissent will shorten it. Paul does not end with the children but goes on to admonish all parents. He says we are not to provoke, needle, irritate our children intentionally or be unnecessarily angry with them for anger sake. We are to practice a parenthood that reflects Christ and remember His submission to the Father on our behalf. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we (both parent and child) are able to submit to one another with love and respect.
These are sobering words that call all of us to think about our parent-child relationships. Are they honoring in God’s eyes? In these last days of Lent, spend some time mediating on Paul’s words and seek God’s guidance in your relationships.
The last portion of Ephesians 5 is a difficult passage as it deals with submission and relationships in the home and in marriage that are to mirror Christ’s love for us. I think the reason these verses cause such turmoil is that they are counter-culture and go against the thinking of today and women’s rights. However, if we look at verse 5:21 and 5:32-33 we get to the heart of what Paul was saying. God is a god of order and design. Someone in the home has to make the final decision but any decisions need to be tempered and driven by love, a love like Christ has for us as believers. Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” We submit, yield or seek the approval of one another out of our love for Christ. 5:32-33 “This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” An example of the mystery of Christ’s relationship to believers is seen in the loving, caring respectful relationship of a man and wife. Submission to each other is done because of Christ and our love for Him. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we can live lives submitted to one another in love that mirror Christ’s love for us.
Have a blessed day as you consider how you are submitting or yielding your rights to others in Christ like love.
Here is the whole passage –Ephesians 5:21-33 ” Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”