Read It Again

Sometimes, the Scripture simply has to be read again and again.

I would encourage you to reread Ephesians 6:1-9. This is the passage that follows Paul’s call for wives to be submissive to husbands and husbands to love their wives. We usually downplay the passage concerning children and parents, often because we don’t know exactly what to do with the accompanying section concerning slaves and masters.

If you would like to read what I recently wrote about husbands and wives, please click here:

I think we would do well to reread the section about parents and children.

Four significant points about parents and children stand out to me.

First, Paul addresses children as part of the church family. As you read, notice that Paul speaks to the children and gives them a section of their own.

The words of Jesus to bring the children unto Him obviously had an amazing influence on the church.

This emphasis on children is completely contrary to the Roman world. In that day, a callous cruelty prevailed: “unwanted babies were abandoned, weak and deformed ones killed, and even healthy children were regarded by many as a partial nuisance because they inhibited sexual promiscuity and complicated easy divorce” (John Stott, Ephesians, 238).

Second, social stability requires social responsibility. So, children should obey parents as part of natural law and also because of written law.

We need to see the deeper truth about responsibility in relationships. Societies where relationships are respected will endure; those who live selfishly and wantonly will not.

Third, Paul does not emphasize a parents’ authority but his restraint. Parents should understand a child’s delicate nature. Paul pictures fathers as self-controlled, gentle, and patient educators of children.

This, too, went against the norm of the day. A father in Rome could sell his children as slaves or make them serve in the fields in chains. He could even inflict the death penalty on his children. In contrast, Paul called for the positive teaching of children.

Finally, our relationships are transformed because they are in the Lord. We seek to relate righteously to one another because we belong to God and seek His will.

When we live in gentleness and harmony because of the gentleness of Christ, we will show the world the power of the Gospel in our lives.

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