From Andy: In his message this past Sunday Rob did a wonderful job helping us see the Gospel joy behind the marriage and family job descriptions in Ephesians 5 and 6. I've asked him to excerpt some of his thoughts from the message on marriage for Wedded Wednesday and on parents and children on Family Friday. You can download the entire message here.
This gospel understanding of Ephesians 5 completely changes how we read the text. So, in light of this wonderful truth, that true family unity can only be achieved through our unbreakable union with Christ, let’s read through this passage again.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
In light of the gospel, it is as though Christ is saying:
“Children, I have obeyed the will of my Father in heaven. If you have trusted in me, I have covered your sin and your disobedience. You have received the benefits of my obedience. Now, I have placed over you parents for your good. As I have honored my Father, so you should honor your mother and father. To not fight against the very thing I’ve given as a gift. Obey…honor…enjoy the blessings that I have for you. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because I have designed it with promises for your good.”
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Through the motivation of Ephesians 2, Christ makes this appeal:
“Parents, I have won you to my Father with love and kindness. I have not poured my anger out upon you, but have shown you endless patience. Your anger for your children will only provoke them…it will not win them. Turn them to me…entrust them to me…bring them up in me. Raise them, parents, in light of the gospel that won you to me and now trains you in me.”
You see, Ephesians 2 converts Ephesians 5 from an instruction manual to a worship event. It is not a list of job descriptions. It is everyday application of the gospel to the small and seemingly insignificant moments of our lives. Without Ephesians 2, Ephesians 5 is a burden. With it, it is an invitation to walk moment by moment, in the context of our closest relationships, with the one who died for us.
Parents, v4, you are to be intentionally merciful. Your example for parenting your children is God the Father. As Ps103 says, He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He does not deal with us according to our sins. You are to bring up your children in the instruction of the Lord…but also in the character and love of the Lord. Use more questions than statements. Lead them to discover truth. Relate to them as though YOU are a sinner in need of a savior.
Teens and children, Chapter 6:1, you are to obey. Not just because your parents have your best interests in mind most of the time. But because your obedience to your parents is a direct reflection of your obedience to God. Next, v2, you are to honor. This means when they are around and when they are not. It means in how you speak to them and how you speak about them. It means with words and with facial expressions. It means with your outward appearance and with the posture of your heart.