The Believer’s Walk
Ephesians – Chapter 6 (Part 1) vs. 1-9
Conclusion to the Believers Walk, vs. 1-9.
The Warfare of Believers, vs. 10-24, Their Stand!
A. The Believer’s Walk in Unity; God’s Plan for Faithful Living in the Church to Build the Church, Eph 4:1-16.
B. The Believer’s Walk in Righteousness; God’s Pattern and Principles for Members of the Church and His Standards for Faithfulness in the Church, Eph 4:17-32.
C. The Believer’s Walk in Love; The conclusion of God’s Pattern and Principles for Members of the Church and His Standards for Faithfulness in the Church, Eph 5:1-17.
D. The Believer’s Walk in the World; God’s Standards for Authority and Submission in the Church, Eph 5:18-6:9.
1. As to One’s Self and the Church, Be Filled with God’s Spirit, Eph 5:18-21.
2. As to One’s Home, Eph 5:22-6:4.
a.) Husbands and Wives, Eph 5:22-33.
b.) Parents and Children, Eph 6:1-4.
3. As to One’s Profession, Employers and Employees, Eph 6:5-9.
E. The Believer’s Walk in Warfare; God’s Provision for His Children’s Spiritual Battles, Eph 6:10-20.
- The Exhortation to Arms, The Believer’s Warfare, Eph 6:10-13.
a.) The warrior’s power, Eph 6:10.
b.) The warrior’s armor, Eph 6:11.
c.) The warrior’s foes, Eph 6:12.
d.) The Warrior’s Resource, The Explanation of Our Armor, Eph 6:13–17.
2. God’s Appeal for Prayer in the Church, Eph 6:18-20.
F. Conclusion; Benediction, God’s Encouragement to Carry on, Eph 6:21-24.
D. 2. b., Parents and Children, Eph 6:1-4.
After dealing with the husband-wife relationship inside of marriage, Divine Institution #2, Paul goes on to consider the relationship between parents and children; the second “household code,” Divine Institution #3, “Family.” Here he has the Christian family in mind: it is assumed that both partners together with their offspring recognize Jesus Christ as Lord, vs. 1, 4, yet this being part of the Divine Establishment principles, it can be applied to both believing and unbelieving families. For believing families, the Spirit-filled life, Eph 5:8, is necessary for having a good parent-child relationship.
Warren Wiersbe noted, “After watching a television presentation about rebellious youth, a husband said to his wife, “What a mess! Where did our generation go wrong?” The wife calmly answered, “We had children.”
It seems no matter where we look in modern society, we see antagonism, division, and rebellion. Husbands and wives are divorcing each other; children are rebelling against their parents; and employers and employees are seeking for new ways to avoid strikes and keep the machinery of industry running productively. We have tried education, legislation, and every other approach, but nothing seems to work. Paul’s solution to the antagonisms in the home and in society was regeneration—a new heart from God and a new submission to Christ and to one another. God’s great program is to “gather together in one all things in Christ” (Eph. 1:10). Paul indicated that this spiritual harmony begins in the lives of Christians who are submitted to the lordship of Christ.” (Warren Wiersbe, Bible Exposition Commentary– Be Rich (Ephesians)).
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Eph 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
Here we have the second household code, parents being in authority over their children, and children being obedient to their parents. This mandate is not new for the believer. It is stated in Prov 1:8; 6:20; 23:22, as well as being one of the Ten Commandments, Ex 20:12; Deut 5:16, as quoted in vs. 2-3. It is also found in the parallel verse of Col 3:20.
Prov 1:8, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”
Prov 6:20, “My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother.”
Prov 23:22, “Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old.”
Col 3:20, “Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.”
“Children” is the Vocative of Address, Neuter, Plural of HO TEKNON, where the Definite Article is used like the Attic Greek use for a Pronoun, so it should read, “You children.” TEKNON comes from the root Verb TIKTO that means, “to bring forth or bear children.” TEKNON literally means, “a child,” (male or female, son or daughter), and connotes the child-parent relationship.
It contemplates the individual as one who is parented, one who has been born to another and is a more general designation for offspring than HUIOS that is used for “son,” or PAIDION that means, “small child,” with reference to age or descent, or NEPIOS that means, “child, infant, minor, etc.”
TEKNON can also mean in other contexts, “descendants or posterity,” and sometimes, “the student or disciple.” Many times in John’s writings the diminutive TEKNION is used for, “little children,” which is an affectionate form of address that can also be applied to students or disciples, as by Jesus, John 13:33, and Paul, Gal 4:19. But here TEKNON is addressing the children of the local assemblies in the early Church.
We have noted this word in Eph 2:3, speaking to believers’ former lives as “children of wrath,” and in Eph 5:1, 8, as now being children of God. But here, and in Eph 6:4, it refers to the young people of the congregation.
In addressing the children first, Paul is placing the responsibility squarely on them. Because they have volitional responsibility, just as the wives do, they must make the decision to follow this command from God. No one can do it for them.
It also emphasizes that it does not matter, per se, as to whether they have good parents or bad parents. That is not an issue here. The issue is to follow God’s Word, regardless of the type of parents they have or the situation they are in. That is why Paul did not tell the parents to admonish the children with this command; he admonished them directly.
Children were present in the assemblies when this letter was read. The question is, “Did they understand all that Paul wrote?” Well, do you understand everything when it is first taught?
Christian families attended the public worship together, and no doubt the parents, especially the fathers, explained the Word to the children when they were at home by instructing them further and/or answering their questions. Nevertheless, Paul addresses the children of the local assemblies directly and gives them a command, which they must learn and apply; a command that comes directly from the OT and Ten Commandments, and therefore it comes directly from God.
Principles of the Old Testament Regarding Children.
1.) Children are shown as important in the Old Testament. They perpetuate the family, the tribe, and the nation, Deut 25:6; Ruth 4:11.
2.) Consequently, Israelites regarded childbearing as a duty, Gen 1:28, the more the better.
Gen 1:28, “God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it’ …”
3.) It was a great blessing to see one’s descendants of various generations, Gen 50:23; Prov 17:6.
Prov 17:6, “Grandchildren are the crown of old men, and the glory of sons is their fathers.”
4.) Children or offspring were integral to God’s covenant with Abraham, Gen 12:2, 7; 13:16, (like dust); 22:17, (like the stars and sand of the seashore). At the giving of the covenant, Gen 17:5, Abraham’s original name, Abram, was changed to Abraham, which means the “father of many,” and “exalted father.”
5.) God “blessed” people with children as children are a gift from God, Psa 127:3, a reward, an expression of His delight, and a blessing of the covenant, Psa 113:9; 128:3-4; cf. Eccl 6:3.
6.) Both the father and mother shared in the rearing and educating of the child, Prov 1:8; 6:20; cf. 2 Tim 1:5; 3:15. As long as the child was an infant, the mother cared for it, and daughters were under her supervision until they were married. The rearing and educating of boys was the father’s responsibility from the time the child was five. Those families who could afford it left the education of the child in the hands of special tutors, 2 Kings 10:1; 1 Chron 27:32; cf. Gal 4:1f. Most education took place in the home; schools appeared on the scene relatively late, around 1000 BC according the Talmud. By the time of Jesus, they were fairly common.
7.) It is the child’s responsibility to learn and apply what they are taught, Prov 6:20-21; 23:22.
8.) The ordinances, commandments, teachings, and rituals of the Law became part of the psychological makeup of children at a very early age, Deut 4:8-9; 6:7; 32:46. For example, Timothy knew the Holy Scriptures from his early childhood, 2 Tim 3:15, in his case, by the teaching of his mother and grandmother.
9.) Children were totally under the authority and control of their parents. Respect and obedience were mandates, Ex 20:12; Lev 19:3. Perpetual disobedience against one’s parents resulted in severe punishment, Deut 21:18-21; 27:16.
Lev 19:3, “Every one of you shall reverence his mother and his father, and you shall keep My sabbaths; I am the LORD your God.”
Deut 27:16, “Cursed is he who dishonors his father or mother. And all the people shall say, ‘Amen’.”
10.) On the other hand, the Law protected children against abuse and mistreatment by their parents, Num 30:4-5; Deut 21:15-17. And the sacrifice of children is absolutely forbidden, Lev 18:21; 20:1-5.
11.) The spoiled child is a shame to its parents, Prov 10:5; 17:2; 19:26; 28:17; 29:15, and the foolish child causes his parents grief, bitterness, and destruction, Prov 10:1; 17:25; 19:13. Such children will fall under the discipline of God Himself, Ecc 11:9-10; Isa 30:1.
Isa 30:1, “‘Woe to the rebellious children,’ declares the LORD, ‘Who execute a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, in order to add sin to sin’.
12.) The wise child is noted in Prov 10:1, 5; 13:1; 15:20; 28:7; 29:3; Eccl 4:13-14, as one who learns from and applies the teachings and disciplines of his parents and God. He provides them with much joy and happiness.
New Testament Principles. As in the OT, children are discussed frequently in the NT. TEKNON occurs in the NT about 100 times.
1.) Children are numbered with the community, take part in crucial events, Acts 21:5, are present at services, Acts 20:9, 12, and are under instruction, Eph 6:1ff.
2.) Jesus’ love for children is unmistakable; He gave His time, concern, and blessing freely to them, Mark 10:13-16. He defended them, Mark 7:27, and healed them, Mark 9:27. Jesus said the kingdom of heaven belongs to them, Mat 19:13-14.
3.) Childhood represents simplicity and innocence demonstrating great faith. An innocent child is cherished by his or her parents, Luke 9:48; Psa 103:13. Humble in heart, Mat 18:4, a child understands things “hidden from the wise,” Luke 10:21. It is in these respects that Jesus deems childlikeness as the essential quality for entering the kingdom of heaven, Mat 18:3; 19:14; Mark 10:15; Luke 18:16.
4.) From the basis of the Fifth Commandment, the NT stresses the responsibility of children to obey their parents, Eph 6:1-3; Col 3:20, cf. Mat 15:4; 19:19; Mark 7:10; 10:19; Luke 18:20. Jesus is their model in doing so, both in His early age, Luke 2:51; and at the end of His ministry, John 19:26-27.
5.) Much of Christian teaching employs the example of children to make its point.
a.) As a teacher, Jesus frequently used children to illustrate a point, Mat 18:1f.; 11:16f. Jesus presented a child’s dependency upon others and its humility and vulnerability as an example of qualities for entering the kingdom of God, Mat 18:1f.
b.) However, a child’s immaturity, helplessness, and lack of understanding represent obstacles to Christian development and maturity, 1 Cor 3:1f.; 14:20; Eph 4:13f.; Heb 5:11f.
c.) The immaturity of childhood contrasts the maturity of adulthood, in a representation of our present limitations, in contrast to our future perfection, 1 Cor 13:11-12.
1 Cor 13:11, “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.”
6.) In a religious sense, it depicts the believer’s relationship to God the Father, John 1:12; 1 John 3:1, and with Christ, Mark 10:24; John 13:33; 21:5.
7.) Paul called those he had led to faith his “children,” Gal 4:19; 1 Tim 1:2; Philemon 10. John understood the term in the same way, 1 John 2:1, 28; 4:4; 5:21.
8.) Figuratively, TEKNON is concerned with the children of God, John 1:12; the children of light, Eph 5:8; obedient children, 1 Peter 1:14; and the children of promise, Rom 9:8; Gal 4:28.
9.) In another sense, the term may be used figuratively of the devil’s children, 1 John 3:10; John 8:44; Acts 13:10, or the children of wrath, Eph 2:3.
10.) One sign of paganism’s effect on the decline of society and a nation, which will be repeated in the falling away of the last days, is disobedience to parents, Rom 1:30; 2 Tim 3:2.
Rom 1:30, “Slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents.”
2 Tim 3:2, “For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy.”
11.) Having a child creates an opportunity for parents to participate in God’s creation by helping earthly children to become children of God, Rom 9:8. As such, the focus of the parent/child relationship is on love, honor, and respect, as well as discipline and instruction, Eph 6:1-4.
Prov 15:20, “A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother”
Now back in Eph 6:1, the next word we have is “obey,” which is the Present, Active, Imperative of HUPAKOUO, ὑπακούω that means, “listen to, obey, respond, answer, follow, or be subject to.” It is used 21 times in the NT and is a compound word from the Preposition HUPO, “under or from which,” and the Verb AKOUO that means, “to hear, heed, listen, understand, learn, etc.” It means learning through the ear gate. So, combined we see both meanings as, 1) being under the authority of the parents, and 2) learning from them for application in life. We will see this word again for “servants” or “workers,” in vs. 5, and it is used in the parallel verse for children in Col 3:20.
The Customary Present Tense means this should be the habitual response of children towards their parents.
The Active Voice; the children produce the action of obedience towards their parents.
The Imperative Mood is for a command given by Paul, on behalf of God, for children to obey their parents.
To obey means, “to follow instructions or behave in accordance with a law, rule, or order.” This obedience is the act or practice of following instructions, complying with rules or regulations, or submitting to somebody’s authority; in this case the parent’s. Therefore, this obedience of the child comes from hearing the instructions of the parents and submitting to them, heeding their warnings and directives in compliance to their rules and policies.
This is a stronger demand than the submission required of wives in Eph 5:21, with the verb HUPOTASSO that meant, “to voluntarily place yourself under the direction or authority of the husband and assume a subordinate position.” That submission is willing subjection to another, where this obedience, HUPAKOUO, is less rational and more implicit, to learn from and apply the parent’s instructions and heed their warnings and directives.
As we have noted, Col 3:20 adds that this unswerving obedience is to be comprehensive in its scope, “everything.” Isaac’s willingness to be offered as a sacrifice by his father Abraham is a model of such submission.
On the other hand, disobedience to parents is a symptom of the child’s arrogance complex of sins stemming from their Old Sin Nature. Both the Old and New Testament condemn disobedience to parents, Prov 30:17; Rom 1:30; 2 Tim 3:2. When this happens collectively among many children within a society, it causes a disintegrating social structure. Christian families have a particular responsibility to not contribute to the collapse of an ordered community.
God will discipline the disobedient child as stated in Prov 30:17, “The eye that mocks a father and scorns a mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.”
In order to be obedient to another’s authority in any realm, including the child’s obedience to their parents, there must be great humility in the soul. This can come from either genuine humility by learning and applying principles of authority orientation, or by enforced humility from those who are in authority.
Therefore, we will note several Principles of Humility.
1. Humility, TAPEINOPHROSUNĒ, ταπεινοφροσύνη is, “the quality of being modest or respectful, the act of being submissive.” As we noted above, in Mat 18:6, Jesus used a young child as an illustration of the importance of humility as a virtue of the spiritual life.
2. This “humility,” however, has nothing to do with “groveling” or “weakness.” It is a humility that naturally evolves out of a heart of love and respect for others. For the Christian, this love and respect emanates from and is directed toward the exalted Lord, “in the Lord.” As such, it is the attitude of the Christian servant, first exemplified by Jesus. In fact, it is only in an attitude of humility, a contrite heart, that the spiritual life can prosper, Eph 4:1-4; Phil 2:3; Col 3:12f; 1 Peter 5:5.
Eph 4:1-4, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, 3being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling.”
Phil 2:3, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.”
a.) Humility is Authority Orientation, which must first be taught in the home.
b.) Humility is Grace Orientation, which reflects metabolized doctrine circulating in the soul of the child-believer. This must be taught by the parents and cannot be left up to the church, the school, or any other organization.
c.) Humility is objectivity, and therefore teachability.
d.) Humility is Doctrinal Orientation, which is the basic value and function of the spiritual life, and therefore, a combination of parental and pastoral teaching, resulting in the parents acting as the Forward Line of Troops (FLOT) line of the soul of their children.
R.B. Thieme Jr. stated, “How do children handle pressure and adversity? Depending on the age, growth, and maturity of the child, adversity, stress, and circumstances can be all one and the same. Therefore, the parents should be the child’s FLOT line of the soul (the Forward defensive Line of Troops). They should be there to prevent the development of stress in the life of a child. Parents have been entrusted to care for and protect the soul of their children. What happens to the FLOT line protection, if: the parents are not there, the parents are hearers of the Word and abuse their authority, the parents are totally inflexible with the “I am right” syndrome (authority with no leadership), the parents are fighting all the time, the parents do things in front of their kids that they should not do, or they tell their children doctrine is number one in their life and then they divorce. Now the child has no FLOT line but only stress from the parents who are supposed to be protecting him or her. Stress in a child’s life is directly proportional to the stability of the parents or parent.”
3. Humility is not acquired genetically. It is the status of being humble and being humble is the antithesis of arrogance. For the child, this begins with the parents. Divine Institution #3 is the family in the home. The home is the structure for organizational humility, the parents are the authority for enforced humility, and the child’s volition is the basis for genuine humility, or the basis for developing tragic flaws if parental authority is rejected.
4. Therefore, humility in a child must be attained through the teaching and the just and loving function of the authority of the parents. As such, humility as teachability recognizes two authorities: the authority of the parents and the content of their teaching, and the authority of the Pastor and the content of his teaching.
5. The greatest humility function of the child is what he learns in the home. Child abuse destroys teachability at the most critical point in life and substitutes arrogant preoccupation with self that can become a lifetime habit, which is almost impossible to break apart from Bible doctrine.
6. Num 12:3, teaches the importance of humility. Spiritual greatness is related to humility in every dispensation of human history. “Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.”
7. Honor is the attainment of spiritual greatness, but humility comes first, Prov 15:33; 29:33; 1 Peter 5:5-6; James 45:6.
Prov 15:33, “The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.”
1 Peter 5:5-6, “Likewise you young men be subject to (HUPOTASSO) your elders and all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, `For God makes war against the arrogant believer but He gives grace to the humble believer.’ Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may promote you at the proper time.”
James 4:6, “But He gives greater grace. Therefore, it says, ‘God makes war against the arrogant believer but He gives grace to the humble believer’.”
Prov 29:23, “A person’s arrogance will bring him down but a spirit of humility will attain honor.”
8. Humility is often related to the dynamics of the spiritual life in any Dispensation, as noted by the pivot in the time of Solomon, 2 Chron 7:14, “And My people, over whom My name is called, if they will humble themselves and pray and seek My face (perception of doctrine) and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin, I will heal their land.”
Therefore, for the child to “obey” his parents, he must have great humility to receive and apply their instructions. This humility can be genuine from a humble soul under volitional responsibility and/or enforced by the discipline of the parents.
Next, we see the ones the children are to obey, “your parents,” HO GONEUS in the Dative Plural, with the Genitive of Possession Pronoun, HUMEIS. GONEUS, γονεύς means, “parents.” It is used 19 times in the NT, and is used in the parallel verse Col 3:20.
Unfortunately, the most awful and awesome mistake people can make is the rejection of the authority of their parents. Your attitude toward their authority determines whether you ever grow up in life and even in the spiritual life, or not. You never really grow up until you accept authority.
While young, children must recognize the authority of their parents. As a result, they will develop respect for other authorities in their life later on, as well as have love and respect for their parents. But if they reject the authority of their parents, they will be a misfit in society. Young people who resist the authority of their parents will develop a habit of rejecting other authorities in life, which will be destructive in their lives.
When believers reject authority in childhood and adolescence, they will reject the authority of the Pastor and Bible doctrine, which is tantamount to rejecting God’s protection in His Directive Will under D.I. #3. Destruction of the authority of God in your life is a guarantee of a disastrous life.
Predominant rejection of authority of parents in a society destroys that society. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence stated, “The only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government is the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible.”
Children were made by God to glorify God. This great purpose is partly lived out by honoring and obeying their parents in the Lord. While parents have authority in the home, this authority is useless apart from training and discipline, which eventuates in the child accepting the parents’ authority. When parents are instructing children in the ways of the Lord, then the child must honor and obey them. When both parents and children are abiding by these principles, it glorifies God.
Principles on Honoring and Obeying Your Parents
1. How should children honor their parents? One way is through a proper attitude. Children do not honor their parents when they huff and puff, pout, or talk back to them. When children dishonor their parents like this, they dishonor God Himself. Parents need to teach them that.
2. When God introduced His written law, the first horizontal relationship was mentioned in the Fifth Commandment, “Honor your father and your mother,” Ex 20:12. In contrast to this, physically or verbally abusing your parents was a capital offense, Ex 21:15, 17.
3. The command to honor father and mother appears in five other places in the NT, Mat 15:4; 19:19; Mark 7:10; 10:19; Luke 18:20. This further highlights the importance of this command.
4. A child that does not grow up with honor and respect of parents will likely not honor and respect others in general.
5. Those with older parents should also honor their parents. You should show proper respect to them and give special care to them when they get older, 1 Tim 5:4.
6. How should children obey their parents? Children obey their parents by hearing and doing what their parents say. If children want to please the Lord, then they must obey their parents. Obeying their parents is one way they can obey the Lord.
7. Children will have a difficult time obeying their parents. When they fail, they need to be reminded that Jesus died for sinners who disobey God. Make their disobedience an occasion to teach the gospel.
8. Parents know that children do not have to be taught disobedience. They need to be taught the gospel. Remind them of Eph 5:18, which casts light on the previous verses and Eph 6:1-4. Tell them the Spirit enables them to obey.
9. Why should children obey their parents? Paul provides some reasons:
a.) First he gives the motivational factor, “in the Lord,” HO KURIOS in the Dative of Sphere. Here we see that the children he is addressing are believers who have a position in Christ Jesus as a result of their salvation. They too are in union with Christ and members of the body of Christ, the Church. Therefore, similar to all believers’ motivational factor to “be subject to one another,” theirs too is based on “reverence for the Lord,” Eph 5:21, as well as the wives motivational factor of “being subject to their husbands,” “just as they would to the Lord,” Eph 5:22, and the husband’s motivational factor to “love his wife just as Christ loved the Church,” Eph 5:25. So too, are Christian children to be motivated to obey their parents, because they are members of the Church, the body of Christ, “in (the sphere of – in union with) the Lord.” Their motivational factor is their exalted position in Christ Jesus the Lord.
b.) Second, he says, “because this is right,” which in the Greek is HOUTOS GAR EIMI DIKAIOS, literally “this for is right.” EIMI here is in the Gnomic Present, Active, Indicative for a timeless general fact. This timeless general fact of obeying parents is said here to be DIKAIOS, δίκαιος, “just, righteous, right, upright, etc.” It is part of walking in the righteousness of God.
This may seem unnecessary to state, since the natural law of all humanity in every society understands that children are subordinate to their parts. Stott comments, “Child obedience belongs to the realm which came in medieval theology to be called “natural justice.” It does not depend on special revelation; it is part of the natural law which God has written on human hearts. It is not confined to Christian ethics; it is a standard of behavior in every society. Pagan moralists, both Greek and Roman, taught it. Stoic philosophers saw a son’s obedience as self-evident, plainly required by reason and part of the “nature of things.” (Ephesians, 238-39).
Yet, children also have Old Sin Natures and arrogance that will tempt them to not be obedient to their parents. So, Paul is reminding them of the “Christ like nature” to be obedient to their parents as they should, cf. Luke 2:51; John 19:26-27.
In addition, it is worth saying because parents might be tempted to think, “should I really require obedience? Look how cute she is!” Maybe she is, but requiring obedience is still the right thing to do.
Prov 22:15, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him.”
c.) Third, Paul gives a motivating promise of blessing and safekeeping. In vs. 2, God promises both blessing: “That it may go well with you,” and vs. 3, safekeeping: “That you may have long life in the land.” Paul combines Ex 20:12 and Deut 5:16. The original promise to Israel involved a long and good life in the land of Israel. Paul omits the focus on Israel and makes the statement more general and proverbial for the Church Age.
Of course, this does not mean that by obedience to one’s parents the child may never get sick or even tragically die. Paul is basically saying that the child is endangering himself by dishonoring his parents. Great spiritual blessings always come by obeying God’s Word. Children, obey and honor your parents in the Lord.
Concluding Principles of Vs. 1
- Under the laws of Divine Establishment the parents are the authority in Divine Institution # 3, i.e. the home.
- The parents are the most basic authority in human life and have been since Adam and Eve were the first parents. As goes your attitudes toward your parents, often so goes your attitude toward authority.
- Parents are responsible to train the children in both the functions and the principles of life. That means the parents must train both the body and the soul of their children.
- Therefore, parents are not only responsible for food, shelter, clothing, and health of their children, but parents are responsible for the thinking, attitudes, poise, manners, and self-discipline of their children.
- All children must be inculcated in both the fundamentals of freedom, as well as the principles of authority in life, and how the two have been merged into the Divine Establishment for blessing.
- Children must be trained and taught to respect the freedom, privacy, property, and the rights of others. (Some adults are never thoughtful of others, because they were never taught thoughtfulness in the home.)
- Included in the laws of Divine Establishment are respect for law and the police officer.
- In addition, Christian parents have the responsibility of evangelizing their own children through the communication of the gospel.
- Once the children are saved by faith in Christ, the parents must provide doctrinal teaching for their children under the command of Deut 6:6-9; 7:9.
- As children become oriented to the concept of the local church, they must be taught to recognize the authority of the Pastor-Teacher, and they must be trained to concentrate on his message, Heb 13:7, 17.
Heb 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”
As previously quoted by R.B. Thieme Jr., I remind parents of their responsibility to walk the talk, “Parents have been entrusted to care for and protect the soul of their children. What happens to the FLOT line protection, if: the parents are not there, the parents are hearers of the Word and abuse their authority, the parents are totally inflexible with the “I am right” syndrome (authority with no leadership), the parents are fighting all the time, the parents do things in front of their kids that they should not do, or they tell their children doctrine is number one in their life and then they divorce. Now the child has no FLOT line but only stress from the parents who are supposed to be protecting him or her. Stress in a child’s life is directly proportional to the stability of the parents or parent.
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Children were made by God to glorify God. This great purpose is partly lived out by honoring and obeying their parents in the Lord. Paul appeals to what the children had already learned, for their Christian education began with the Ten Commandments.
Eph 6:2, “HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise).”
As mentioned previously, here, and in vs. 3, we have the fifth of the Ten Commandments, “The Decalogue,” found in Ex 20:1-17 and Deut 5:1-21, and is quoted six times in the NT, Mat 15:4; 19:19; Mark 7:10; 10:19; Luke 18:20, Eph 6:2, but only here is the attached promise also cited, vs. 3.
This is first of the “horizontal commandments,” and is directed to children under Divine Institution #3: Family. It is also the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, as noted in this verse, and is the only commandment that has a direct promise associated with it; as all the commandments have the general promise of blessings, peace, and prosperity associated to them, cf. Ex 20:6.
This does not mean that the Christian is “under the Law,” for Christ has set us free from both the curse and the bondage of the Law, Gal 3:13; 5:1. But the righteousness of the Law is still a revelation of the holiness of God, and the Holy Spirit enables us to practice that righteousness in our daily lives, Rom 8:1-4. All of the Ten Commandments are repeated in the NT epistles for the Christian to observe except the 4th, “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.” We will discuss why this is in a forthcoming study.
Yet, the principle in our passage is that it is just as wrong for a NT Christian to dishonor his parents, as it was for an OT Hebrew.
This verse begins with the command to “honor,” TIMAO, τιμάω in the Present, Active, Imperative that means, “esteem, honor, regard, revere, or respect,” and refers to honor or respect bestowed upon someone or something, in this case the parents. It is used in all 6 NT quotes of this OT command.
The Customary Present Tense is for the ongoing customary or habitual action of the child to honor their parents throughout their lifetime.
The Active Voice; the child produces the action.
The Imperative Mood is for a command from God to honor your father and mother.
The Hebrew of Ex 20:12 and Deut 5:16 uses the verb KABED (kavedh), כָּבֵד that means, “to honor, glorify, be heavy, be rich, etc.,” in the Piel, Infinitive, Absolute.
The Piel Mood is used for intensification of the action of the verb.
The Infinitive Absolute Tense is also used to intensify the certainty or force of the verbal idea where we can add the emphasis, “you shall.” It is also used in place of an Imperative as a command. The Septuagint uses TIMAO for this word in these verses.
To honor means more than to obey. It is to respect and esteem. It is the form that AGAPE love assumes towards those who are placed above us by God.
Next, we have the ones to honor, “YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER,” which in the Greek is HO PATER, in the Accusative Singular, SU, in the Genitive of Possession, KAI, the Coordinating Conjunction, and HO METER, in the Accusative Singular for, “the father your and the mother.”
- To “honor” your parents means much more than simply to obey them. It means to show them respect and love, to care for them as long as they need you, and to seek to bring honor to them by the way you live.
- This was the most common formulation of the obligation in both Jewish, (presumably influenced by the wording of the commandment), and Greco-Roman writings. It was understood as involving not only a respectful attitude but also care for the parents’ physical needs when they became old.
- So, for children still in the father’s house, it would mean obedience to parents, and for those who had left home, it would mean continued deference to and care for aging parents
Then we have a statement regarding this commandment, “(which is the first commandment with a promise).” The Greek reads HOSTIS the relative pronoun for “which, whichever, whoever, etc.,” EIMI, the verb, “to be or is,” in the Present, Active, Indicative speaking to the 5th Commandment, PROTOS ENTOLE, “first commandment,” in the Nominative Singular, and EN EPAGGELIA, “with a promise,” in the Dative of Advantage for “a promise of blessing.”
Some think “first commandment” and “with a promise” should be separated for various reasons, such as “first of importance” or first on the second tablet of Moses, etc. In addition, some believe the 2nd Command had a “promise,” so this would not be the “first promise.” Yet as noted above, that is a general precept for all the commandments of God, including those not listed in the Decalogue that includes the love we are to have for the Lord God as noted in Deut 6:5, the 11th, but truly A #1 commandment of them all. Therefore, a clear reading here keeps them together and reflects the intent of Paul’s understanding of the 5th Commandment, that it had a specific promise associated with it directly, signifying it is unique and important.
The commands to obey and honor parents are threefold: they are of the Natural Law; they are of God’s Law; and they are of Grace.
- Christianity upholds nature, not the fallen nature, but God’s original creation and the order to things inside His design. In the natural way of things, children are in subjection to their parents, and are to obey and honor them.
- Christianity upholds law and order. We are no longer under the Mosaic Law, but the commands and mandates of God, specifically those reiterated in the NT from the Old, plus the Mystery Doctrines for the Church, uphold His righteousness and justice inside His Plan.
- Christianity is based on our relationship with Christ, being “in the Lord.” Our obedience to Him demonstrates that relationship. Therefore, obeying and honoring your parents “in the Lord” is a demonstration of the Grace Plan of God for the Church Age. Grace raises the commandment to the highest level; therefore, we are to obey our parents, to honor them, and to respect them in order to please our Lord and Savior, Eph 5:10, who is looking down upon us. When you do, you are showing the world and angels the Grace Plan of God, who are amazed that He, the Son, has ever been able to make such people of us, that we can live according to the commandments of God in a sinful world such as this. In addition, obedience to Christ’s Word is proof that you are like Him by the Grace of God, for you are doing what He Himself did when He was here in this sinful, evil world, Luke 2:51.
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Eph 6:3, “SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.”
Here we have two promises of blessing, the first is quoted from Deut 5:16 and the second paraphrased from both Ex 20:12 and Deut 5:16.
Deut 5:16, “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you.”
Ex 20:12, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.”
Originally, these promises were given to the children of Israel during the Jewish dispensation regarding the Promised Land He gave them, where it meant the following: ‘If you want to go on living in this land of promise to which I am leading you to, observe this commandment. If you want to have a time of blessedness and happiness in that land, if you want to go on living there under My blessing, observe these commandments, especially this one.’
But in our verse, these blessings are generalized because God is dealing with both Jew and Gentile Christians of the Church Age.
Here we have a HINA of Results clause, “so that” with the Subjunctive Mood that begins this verse in the Greek and is supplied to both parts of it. It is used once in the Greek but translated twice in the English. This verse has two promises of blessing:
1.) “It may be well with you,” from Deut 5:16, this is an idiom that means, “that you may prosper.” It is the Adverb EU, “well, good, etc.,” with the Personal Pronoun SU in the Dative of indirect object, 2nd Person, Singular, “with you” speaking of each individual child that obeys and honors their parents. Then we have in the Greek GINOMAI in the Aorist, Middle, Subjunctive, for “to be, to come into being, to be made, become, etc.” We translate this, “may be.”
The Constative Aorist tense views the entirety of the action of blessing in the life of the obedient child.
The Middle Deponent Voice, speaks to the child’s actions honoring his parents that, as a result has a blessing back to the child.
The Subjunctive Mood is part of this HINA Clause to show potential of the action of being blessed, as a result of honoring and obeying your parents. Therefore, this is a promise of prosperity.
Prosperity comes in many different ways. Most just think in terms of materialism. But prosperity can mean different things to different people, and God knows what prosperity is to you. Cf. Psa 112:1-9. It can include:
1. Wealth, given by God when you have capacity from Doctrine in your soul to truly handle and appreciate it.
2. A shower for those not able to bath regularly.
3. Food, after starving for days.
4. Rain for your crops, and a great harvest of the crops.
5. An abundance of friends, unity of the body of Christ, family members, etc. (People).
6. Success on the job when you line up with the Authority, Policy, and Goals (System).
7. Inner stability, the result of grace that comes from appropriation and utilization of God’s grace, having peace of mind (Thought).
8. Tranquility of mind after a long hard day at work or home with the children.
9. Peace of mind during adversity or conflict (Disaster), etc.
10. Being blessed inside one or more Divine Institutions, (volition, marriage, family, or nationalism), as a result of honoring those Divine Institutions.
Psa 112:1-2, “Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in His commandments. 2His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”
Mat 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”
Then we have the Coordinating Conjunction KAI, “and,” to link the second promise of blessing.
2.) “You may live long on the earth,” taken from both Ex 20:12 and Deut 5:16, this is made up from the Future, Middle Deponent, Indicative, in the 2nd Person Singular of EIMI, “to be or is,” that continues the HINA Subjunctive clause. We can translate this, “you may be.”
The Future Tense is Gnomic, for a statement of fact that speaks to the time after the child begins to honor his parents, whether that time has already begun or is yet to begin in the future. We could say, when they reach adulthood themselves.
The Middle Deponent once again speaks of the blessings the child receives, as a result of their actions of honoring and obeying their parents.
The Indicative Mood, is for the dogmatic reality of receiving this blessing when the child honors his parents.
Here the blessing is “live long,” which is the Nominative Singular of MAKROCHRONIOS, μακροχρόνιος that means, “long-lived,” and is used only here in all the NT. This is a compound Adjective consisting of the two words, MAKROS, “long,” and CHRONOS, “time.” In its use in classical Greek, the Septuagint, and its single occurrence in the NT it means, “long-lived.” This is an idiom for a life of quality and/or quantity – longevity.
Therefore, this tells us that obedience brings blessing. The 5th Commandment has a promise attached to it: “That your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives to you.” This promise originally applied to the Jews as they entered Canaan and throughout the Jewish Dispensation, but Paul applied it to believers of the Church. He substituted “earth” for “land” and tells us that the Christian child who honors his parents can expect two blessings. It will be well with him, and he will live long on the earth. This does not mean that everyone who died young dishonored his parents. He was stating a principle; when children obey and honor their parents in the Lord, they will escape a good deal of sin and danger and thus avoid the things that could threaten or shorten their lives. But life is not measured only by quantity of time. It is also measured by quality of experience. God enriches the life of the obedient child no matter how long he may live on the earth. Sin always robs us; obedience always enriches us.
This states a general principle that obedience fosters self-discipline, which in turn brings stability and longevity in one’s life. (Stated conversely, it is improbable that an undisciplined person will live a long life. An Israelite who persistently disobeyed his parents was not privileged to enjoy a long, stable life in the land of Israel. A clear example of this was Eli’s sons Hophni and Phinehas, 1 Sam 4:11.) Though that promise was given to Israel in the OT, the principle still holds true today, but in general, to all believing children of the Church Age.
Parents may be unfair or they may be tyrants, yet the children who are amenable to discipline will have a long (in quality and/or quantity), and prosperous life on this earth. Therefore, this verse is a demonstration of God’s fairness, because no matter how unfair parents could be or may be, God will bless the child who honors and respects his parents. This verse is also saying that it is better to endure hardship in youth and learn discipline so that in your later years you will have God’s blessings and long life. Long life is not always a blessing, but when it is associated with prosperity, long life is a blessing.
This does not exclude other types of suffering in the obedient child’s life from time to time, but his life is characterized by great prosperity. The person who in childhood and adolescence obeys parents and respects the authority of parents, will be happy and well-adjusted in life.
Next, we have the time and place of this blessing, “long life.” It is not speaking of eternity or heaven, but while here, “on the earth,” EPI HO GE.
Because the prospect of longevity is not held out elsewhere in the NT as part of the Christian hope, commentators have tended to spiritualize the application by linking it with eternal life, to a fault. That is not what Paul, or the Holy Spirit intends here, as “on the earth,” literally rules that out. It is not talking about the New Earth of eternity. These promises express the fact that obedience to God’s laws will bring God’s blessings in time. Many commandments were given to Israel. Obedience to these commandments would benefit in many ways, including the matter of enjoying longer life. Although many of the specific commandments given to Israel were not transferred into the NT, the basic philosophy behind them was. Therefore, obedience equals blessings in time for both believing and unbelieving children.
In our verse, the promise omits the clause, “which the Lord your God gives you,” from Ex 20:12, which linked the original promise of God to the child with the land of Canaan. This is not appropriate for the Church. This omission then, has the effect of making the promise more generally applicable to the Church. The promise is now of well-being and long life on the earth for both Jew and Gentile of the Church Age.
So, the child must learn early to obey and honor their father and mother, not only because they are his parents, but because God has commanded him to do so. Disobedience to parents is rebellion against God. The sad situation in homes today is the result of rejecting God’s Word, Rom 1:28-30; 2 Tim 3:1-5, as we have noted above. By the Sin Nature, a child is selfish, and in selfishness, God is not able to provide His blessings. So, the arrogant, disobedient, and dishonoring child will miss out on these core blessings from God.
“On the earth,” also reflect the immanency of the PAROUSIA, (the 2nd Coming of our Lord at the Rapture of the Church), as we do not know the day or hour in which it will occur. Even though Paul wrote about it 2000 years ago as if it were immanent, He also wrote about the blessing of a long and prosperous life here on earth. So, long life on earth reflects the PAROUSIA in that we should live each day as if the Rapture were to occur that day, and enjoy each and every day our Lord gives to us here on earth to glorify Him right up to the PAROUSIA.
This leads us to a study of the Ten Commandments in Ex 20; Deut 5. Click here for the Doctrine of the Ten Commandments:
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Eph 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
“The Bible records the sad results of parents neglecting their children, either by being bad examples to them or failing to discipline them properly. David pampered Absalom and set him a bad example, and the results were tragic. Eli failed to discipline his sons and they brought disgrace to his name and defeat to the nation of Israel. In his latter years, even Isaac pampered Esau, while his wife showed favoritism to Jacob; and the result was a divided home. Jacob was showing favoritism to Joseph when God providentially rescued the lad and made a man out of him in Egypt. Paul tells us that the father has several responsibilities toward his children.” (Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Rich, Ephesians).
In the Greek this verse begins with the continuative use of the Conjunction KAI, “and,” with HO PATER for, “the fathers,” in the subject Nominative Plural, and “do not,” the negative particle ME. Fathers are addressed because they represent the governmental head of the family on whom rests the responsibility of child training and discipline, just as God the Father is our head and we are His children. Nevertheless, both parents should heed this instruction, yet the main responsibility falls to the fathers. So, this means to stop doing something which a lot of the parents had been doing.
“Provoke to anger,” is the verb PARORGIZO, παροργίζω that means, “make angry, provoke to anger, or enrage.” It comes from the root ORGE that means, “anger.” It is used here and in Rom 10:19, regarding Israel provoking God to anger. Some ancient Greek translations also use it in the parallel verse in Col 3:21, for “exasperate.”
Col 3:21, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.”
For Col 3:21, other Greek translations including those applied in the NASB, use the verb ERETHIZŌ for “exasperate.” ERETHIZŌ, ἐρεθίζω means, “excite, arouse, provoke, irritate, or embitter.”
But in Eph 6:4 PAROGIZO is used where fathers, (i.e., parents), are commanded about “provoking” their children to anger when disciplining them. This refers to causing a lasting bitterness, not just an angry outburst. It is used in the Retroactive Present, Active, Imperative, for a command to stop doing something that began in the past and continues into the present.
The ones the parents are not to cause a lasting bitterness to occur in their souls is, their “children,” HO TEKON, τέκνον in the direct object Accusative, Neuter, Plural, with the Genitive of relationship Pronoun HUMEIS for “your.”
How do parents cause anger or exasperate their children? The answer is very simple; unjust treatment, abusive authority, taking your frustrations out on your children, etc. Parents have no right to abuse the authority given to them.
This is a commandment to parents against nagging their children to the point where they feel helpless to achieve your expectations, or by unreasonable demands, petty rules, or favoritism. Such actions cause children to become discouraged, Col 3:21. Parents who constantly goad their children may cause them to fall into a state of perpetual resentment.
Fathers and mothers provoke their children and discourage them by saying one thing and doing another, by always blaming and never praising, by being inconsistent and unfair in discipline, and by showing favoritism in the home, by making promises and not keeping them, and by making light of problems that, to the children, are very important. Christian parents need the fullness of the Spirit so they can be sensitive to the needs and problems of their children.
Here are some other possible causes of angering our children:
- Failing to take into account the fact that they are kids.
- Comparing them to others.
- Disciplining them inconsistently.
- Failing to express approval, even at small accomplishments.
- Failing to express our love to them.
- Disciplining them for reasons other than willful disobedience and defiance.
- Pressuring them to pursue our goals, not their own.
- Withdrawing love from them or over-protecting them.
Instead, you should train and instruct your children, as we see in the second half of this verse. We should be aiming at encouragement, not discouragement!
Having given the command of negation for what not to do, we now have the positive command of what parents should do, “but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
The opposite of “provoke” is “encourage.” Notice the three actions to which parents are called to encourage their children, “bring up, discipline, and instruct.” The fact is, if left to themselves, children will be rebels, so it is necessary for the parents to train their children. So, Paul is basically saying that dads should care for their children lovingly.
1.) “Bring up.” First, we have the contrasting Conjunction ALLA, “but,” then the Present, Active, Imperative verb EKTREPHO, ἐκτρέφω that means, “feed, nourish, bring up, or rear.” It comes from the root TREPHO that means, “feed, nurture, or bring up,” where our verb has the prefix EK that usually means, “out from,” but here simply adds emphasis to this word for nurturing your children, and may infer raising them from childhood to adulthood. Nevertheless, it means to, “provide for physical and spiritual needs.”
It is used only here and Eph 5:29, regarding the love a man has for his own body demonstrated by “nourishing it.” In like manner, our verse uses the word for a command to bring up children, with the implicit idea of loving provision, training, and instruction.
This is followed by the Accusative, Neuter, Pronoun AUTOS in the 3rd Person Plural for “them,” referring back to the children.
2.) “Discipline.” Here we have, “in the discipline,” which is the Dative Preposition, EN, “in,” with the Noun PAIDEIA παιδεία that means, “training or discipline.” This is the word from which we derive “pedagogy,” the science or profession of teaching. It can refer to discipline, but normally contains a broader meaning of “education,” the entire training and instruction of the young, including directing and correcting. Therefore, “discipline” involves training, including punishment, as we see it in other usages below. This word is first used here in the NT, but is also found in 2 Tim 3:16; Heb 12:5, 7-8, 11.
2 Tim 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.”
Here, we see what parents should be using to discipline and train their children, the Word of God / Bible Doctrine.
In the Hebrew epistle, it is used regarding God’s training and discipline utilizing punitive discipline, (i.e., Divine discipline), toward the wayward adult Christian child, to get them back into God’s plan for their lives.
Heb 12:5-11, “And you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; 6FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” 7It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
The other “discipline(s)” in this passage are cognate nouns and verbs of PAIDEIA. In light of what Paul has written about anger, Eph 4:26, 31, such discipline must be done under control.
3.) “Instruction.” Here we have the coordinating Conjunction use of KAI, “and,” with the Dative of the Noun NOUTHESIA, νουθεσία that means, “admonition, warning, counsel, or instruction.” It is a narrower term than PAIDEIA, referring to training by word or instruction. “Instruction,” carries the idea of teaching, counsel, admonition, or warning, and perhaps verbal instruction. This word is used here and in 1 Cor 10:11; Titus 3:10.
1 Cor 10:11, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” The example here was God’s discipline of the people and nation of Israel because of their reversionism.
Titus 3:10, “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning,”
In our passage, the overarching charge to fathers to bring up, discipline, and instruct their children is “of the Lord,” which is the Genitive, Singular of KURIOUS, κύριος. Therefore, children are to obey “in the Lord,” Eph 6:1, and here parents are to bring up, train, and instruct, “of the Lord.” Therefore, fathers are to teach Christian instruction and discipline in a way that honors the Lord.
As we noted in vs. 1-3, loyalty and submission to one’s father and mother in the context of the Covenant was absolutely vital for the passing on of God’s blessing from one generation to another. Likewise, during the Church Age in which we currently live in, it is vital for proper function inside the Plan of God for your life.
Parents are charged with the solemn responsibility of carefully instructing their children, both by precept and example; to live for God and His testimony, rather than following the corrupt example and mind-set of the secular world around you, as authentic heirs of God’s blessings bestowed on you, just as the Hebrew nation at the time of the Exodus was.
So important was this principle for the perpetuation of the faith in the nation of Israel that each family and each assembly were to recite the creedal declaration of the SHEMA set forth in Deut. 6:4-7, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6These words which I am commanding you today shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your son (or children) and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.”
The parents were to set the tone for their home and all who live in it, making it clear that their main purpose in life was to put God first in their lives and live for Him, rather than for the ambitions and goals of worldliness in a vain search for happiness and meaning in a career of egoistic self-seeking.
The NT likewise emphasizes the responsibilities of parents toward their children, cf. 2 Cor 12:14. Parents are entrusted with the responsibility to educate their children, cf. 1 Tim 3:4-5. A proper relationship with children is a model for the pastor’s relationship with his congregation, as it was in Paul’s case, 1 Thes 2:7-11. The things Paul notes here are a good lesson of how parents are to operate with their children in a loving, self-sacrificing way.
Areas of parental training include:
1. In the physical realm, providing food, shelter, and clothing. The training comes through teaching them how to properly eat food, teaching them basic systems of grooming, provide recreation, provide training in the principles of health and hygiene.
2. In the mental realm, providing a vocabulary with which to think. Training in the field of self-discipline and concentration. Training in the realm of freedom and respect for privacy, respect for property, respect for the rights of others, thoughtfulness.
3. In the spiritual realm, evangelization of children followed by initial doctrinal communication. Academic instruction from the Lord, emphasizing the instruction from the local church. Parents are to always select a church where doctrine is taught, rather than one that offers young people’s programs.
Children also learn through observation:
1. One of the primary places, parents were to live out the instructions found in the overall letter / book of Ephesians, was in the home. As they do, children are observing their parent’s own relationship to the Lord. They are watching them pray, study the Bible, and worship. They know if their parents are dazzled by God’s grace or not. Children are constantly observing how their parents value the Church. They are watching how their parents are speaking truth lovingly, working honestly, giving generously, encouraging others properly, putting away bitterness and anger repentantly, and forgiving one another Christianly, Eph 4:25-32, or NOT.
2. The first picture of God children receive is from their parents. They will get a sense of authority, love, and protection from their parents. As they see and treasure this example, it will inevitably point them away from the parents to the ultimate Father. Even when you fail to reflect God before your children, you should teach them how to repent and receive grace from God.
3. They are also forming their view of marriage based on their parent’s marriage. Give them a compelling vision. Remember you are giving your children a picture of the gospel, as well as demonstrating how husbands and wives love each other, Eph 5:22-33. One of the best things you can do as a parent is love your spouse and stay together.
4. Finally, children are learning obedience, respect, and submission as they watch their parents submit to and obey God. This point is drawn from the immediate context also. A theme of submission and obedience and respect runs through Eph 5:21-6:9.
5. Yet on the other hand, they also observe you walking in the world where your relationship with God is not really that important or imperative. Your example is influential. What are they seeing? Are they learning to value mission more than money? Faithfulness to God, over career success? Are they learning humility and repentance, or hypocrisy? Parents are under God’s authority, both in their roles to one another and in their roles as parents. Children are watching how you obey God.
While the father bears primary responsibility for training and instruction, both share in the task of making children disciples of Jesus. It is best for both parents to be present in the lives of their kids. It is not the job of a day care, nannies, an institution, or grandparents to raise children. It is the parents’ job. Big homes, nice cars, and long vacations are not worth neglecting your kids. This requires spiritual discipline on the part of the parents, and especially on the part of dads. It may call for an adjustment of one’s lifestyle.
In Prov 6:20-22, the writer says, “My son, keep your father’s command, and do not reject your mother’s teaching. Always bind them to your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk here and there, they will guide you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; when you wake up, they will talk to you.” Cf. Prov 1:8.
Though Paul does not say, “set an example for your children,” in vs. 1-4, this point is implied based on the previous chapters of Ephesians and by the focus on “teaching children.” What are children learning? They are learning basic Christian living by watching their parents. Therefore, the father must be fair, loving, and consistent in attitude toward his child.
Finally, in your communication and education you may feel insufficient. You are right. Parenting makes you desperate for God’s help. Some days I think success equals keeping my children out of prison; on other days I think success is keeping myself out of prison!
In fact, we all fail as parents from time to time. This does not make us bad parents, (unless our failures are over a long period of time and consistent). Nevertheless, it simply means we need grace. Do not hide your need for grace, for that is part of the teaching experience too. Kids need to know that people fail in obedience, but there is One who did not fail. He stood in our place and gives us forgiveness and empowerment. They need to know Eph 1-3; in Christ, we are accepted, forgiven, redeemed, and made alive.
But take great comfort in Titus 2:12. Paul says the grace of God instructs us for godliness. While parents have this responsibility to train their children, God in His grace is working in their lives. Look to God for grace and strength. The psalmist reminds us of our desperate need, Psa 127:1.
Psa 127:1, “Unless the Lord builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain; unless the Lord watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain.”
Elyse Fitzpatrick quips, “The obvious difference between Paul and us is that Paul bragged about his weakness, and we try to hide it” (Give Them Grace, 150). Do not hide your weaknesses. Admit them. Go to God for help; His strength will be sufficient. Weak parents have a mighty Savior!
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In vs. 5-9, we have a third group of address with instructions for workers, vs 5-8, and bosses, vs. 9, in performing their jobs in the secular world. Whereas the first two groups, (wives and husbands, children and parents), were directly involved in family relationships, this group, (slaves and masters, or workers and bosses), is outside the immediate family.
We begin with vs. 5.
Eph 6:5, “Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ.”
It begins with “slaves,” which is the Greek Article HO and the Noun DOULOS, δοῦλος in the Vocative of address, Plural that means, “slave, bondman, or servant.” It is one who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another; generally, it is one serving, bound to serve, or in bondage, Rom 6:16-17.
Rom 6:16, “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, …”
Although this word is used throughout the NT in a figurative sense referring to our relationship to God or our fellow believers as servants, here it is used in its literal sense of being a slave or servant to another member of the human race, e.g., Luke 7:2ff.; John 18:10; Col 3:22ff.; 1 Tim 6:1. The last two passages parallel the discussion in our passage, cf. 1 Cor 7:21-22; Titus 2:9-10.
1 Cor 7:21-22, “Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. 22For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave.”
Titus 2:9-10, “Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10not pilfering, but showing all good faith that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.”
The concept of a slave to the Greeks is to be subject to an utterly debasing social and anthropological position. Autonomy was the highest prize of the Hellenistic world; thus servitude was the absence of any such freedom. Although the position of slaves within households differed, the dependence of the slave upon another and his or her subjection in service made it repulsive to Greeks.
To the Jews of the OT, it was very different. First, people could become slaves as a result of choice. Second, in contrast to the Hellenistic idea, slaves served only for 6 years, Ex 21:2, and the Old Testament also provided for the protection of slaves from mistreatment, Ex 21:14, 26, 27. Third, a religious relationship was regularly conveyed by servanthood.
Here, as elsewhere in the NT, slavery is accepted as an existing institution, which is neither formally condemned nor formally approved.
“The institution is left to be undermined and removed by the gradual operation of the great Christian principles of the equality of men in the sight of God, and a common Christian brotherhood, the spiritual freedom of the Christian man, and the Lordship of Christ to which every other lordship is subordinate.” (Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)
Most writers estimate that approximately 60 million people, or one-third of the population of the Roman Empire, were slaves at that time. Vincent says, “In this appeal, Paul was addressing a numerous class. In many of the cities of Asia Minor, slaves outnumbered freemen.” (Vincent Word Studies). In addition, these Christian slaves most likely had heathen masters.
Given that Paul addresses this group who are in servitude to others and the mandates from God, he asks them to follow our current day concept of workers on the job should no less follow these principles. While it may be stretching the passage too far, it is easy to make some comparisons between these statements about slave-master relationships and employee-employer relationships today.
Next, we have the main verb of this passage, “be obedient,” which is HUPAKOUO, ὑπακούω in the Present, Active, Imperative that means, “listen to, obey, follow, be subject to, or respond or answer.” This is the same word Paul used for children to “obey” their parents in vs. 1 and Col 3:20.
With the Imperative Mood, we have a command or mandate from God.
The Customary Present Tense is for habitual ongoing action.
The Active Voice addresses slaves who are to perform the action of “being obedient.”
The root AKOUO means to “hear or listen,” with the prefix HUPO that can means, “under, by, from, from under, or subject to,” it provides the understanding of subjection, dependence, or the state of being under any person or authority. So, it means, “obedience” that comes from “hearing,” and here to submit or comply with. It is used 21 times in the NT, and Paul used it in terms of being obedient (as a slave) in our passage and Col 3:22.
The slave/worker is not concerned with the rights or wrongs of his circumstances; he is concerned to do his job as unto the Lord. He is concerned to grow in grace. His job is to take in Bible doctrine as a believer and to reach spiritual adulthood, and to leave his job (and all) circumstances in the hands of the Lord. It is part of the Faith-Rest life
Next, we have the object of their obedience, “to those who are your masters according to the flesh.” It is the Dative Article HO, “the,” with the Preposition KATA, “according to,” and the Noun SARX in the Accusative that means, “flesh,” and the Dative Plural Noun KURIOS that means, “lords or masters.”
“According to the flesh,” tells us this passage is speaking of earthly masters or bosses, and not about service to the Lord God or your fellow Christians. It means those who they are indentured to or who own them. These are the ones the slave or worker is to be obedient towards.
The use of “flesh” also points to the real issue, the Old Sin Nature that every man possesses. That is the issue. When you are dealing with your boss they have an OSN just as you do. To combat the OSN you need the power of the word of God resident in your soul, plus the filling of God the Holy Spirit. Even though these words are speaking of the earthly people we face on the job, it also reminds us of the spiritual battles we face every day.
Paul carefully encouraged these slaves who had become followers of Christ to obey their masters as they would obey Christ. In other words, they should not use their Christian freedom for an excuse not to render faithful service. In fact, Christians should feel even more obligated to do a good job because of this command and their position in Christ Jesus.
Paul then tells them the way in which they should be doing their job, in three parts:
1.) “With fear and trembling.” This uses the Preposition META, “with,” with the Genitive Singular Noun PHOBOS, φόβος that means, “fear, terror, alarm, or reverence and respect.” The latter, “reverence and respect,” is in view. We noted this word in Eph 5:21, regarding service towards our fellow Christians, but here it is service towards one’s master or boss. Then we have the coordinating Conjunction KAI, “and,” with the Genitive Singular Noun TROMOS, τρόμος that means, “quaking, quivering, or trembling.” It generally relates to a trembling caused by fear.
Except for Mark 16:8, this word is only used in the phrase, “fear and trembling,” 1 Cor 2:3; 2 Cor 7:15; Phil 2:12. Although Mark 16:8, does use PHOBEO, “fear” in the passage.
It means they are to have respect for the authoritative position the master or boss has been given by God over them. And with such respect to a good job at the tasks they are to perform. In addition, reverence means to honor the authority their bosses or masters have.
Then “trembling” describes the anxiety of one who distrusts his ability completely to meet all requirements, but religiously does his utmost to fulfil his duty. It is an axiom for having extreme concern and consideration in performing the duties or job at hand, and means giving maximum exertion and effort.
2.) “In the sincerity of your heart,” is the Dative Preposition EN, “in,” and the Dative Noun HAPLOTES, ἁπλότης that means, “simplicity, sincerity, generosity, or purity.” Then we have the Genitive Article HO, “the” with the Noun KARDIA, “heart or mind,” and the Pronoun HUMEIS, “of you or your.”
HAPLOTES is used in the NT for “giving with liberality” in Rom 12:8; 2 Cor 8:2; 9:13, for the service towards Christ, 2 Cor 11:3, and the servitude of slaves in Eph 6:5; Col 3:22. Therefore it carries the tone of “over and above,” or “above and beyond,” the normal call to duty.
3.) “As to Christ,” is the Subordinating Conjunction HOS, with the Dative HO CHRISTOS. This is the motivation for giving excellent service. Just as we would serve our Lord, we are to serve our bosses and masters. In other words, do your job as unto the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now given the words flesh, heart, and Christ, we see that we are dealing with the OSN of human beings, therefore the heart (right lobe of our soul) has to be right with God, (in fellowship – filled with the Word and Holy Spirit) to combat the sin natures of our bosses, and we can only accomplish this when our motivation is Christ, (the messiah/savior, our God), and being in right relation with Him.
Therefore, this is an encouragement to slaves who have become followers of Christ to obey their masters as they would obey Christ. This also means that they should not use their Christian freedom for an excuse not to render faithful service to their masters or bosses. This is further defined in vs.6-8.
- Authority exists and must exist under Divine establishment in the industrial business world.
- Believers, members of the Royal Family, who are employees or labor must recognize the authority of management.
- This means that your job is a part of your full time Christian service. It means obedience to the authority of management.
- This means working under the policy of the business organization from which you are paid.
- Prosperity in the economy and the effectiveness of industry demands recognition of the authority of management.
- Management is the brains and the key to industry, and given freedom to use their ingenuity management will be able to provide more jobs and better jobs for labor.
- Bad management is no excuse for becoming a slacker on the job.
- Your job is your full-time Christian service, therefore, do your job as unto the Lord.
- Capacity for life comes from Bible doctrine in your right lobe.
- Capacity for life in ones’ field overflows to other areas. Because you have doctrine in your soul, you should have integrity in your soul. A person who does his job as unto the Lord will also be a wonderful friend, a wonderful lover, a wonderful person in time of disaster. He will make permanent lifetime friends.
- This command does not include catering to your boss off the job. To respect management’s authority on the job does not mean that you have to be nice to him off the job. Nor does this verse imply that you must become involved with anyone in extracurricular activities to hold your job. All you have to do is respect the authority of those over you and do your job as unto the Lord.
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Eph 6:6, “Not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”
Here we have two negative ways of working and then two positive ways of working.
The first of the two negatives uses the Greek Negative Particle ME, “not.” Followed by the Accusative Preposition KATA, “with,” and the Accusative Noun OPHTHALMODOULEIA, ὀφθαλμοδουλεία that means, “eye slavery or eye service,” used only here and Col 3:22. It is a compound word from OPHTHALMOS that means, “eye” and DOULEIA, “slavery or service.” Eyeservice means someone who wants to attract attention to themselves on the job in a hypocritical function of their job. They do things just to look good in front of the boss.
The second negative way of working is classified, “as men-pleasers,” which is HOS, “as” with Nominative Adjective, ANTHROPARESKOS, ἀνθρωπάρεσκος that means, “one who tries to please men.” Paul coined this term from ANTHROPOS, “man,” and ARESKO, “to accommodate, be pleasing, seek to please, etc.” It too is only used here and Col 3:22. It refers to someone who tries to please people or butter up people at the expense of principle, someone who holds their job by flattery and fawning.
This means that you only work hard, or do any work at all when the boss is watching you. Otherwise you are slacking off, goofing around, or not working when they are not in your presence. Even more egregious is when you go out of your way to do things in the presence of the boss like showing off, doing special favors for them, running other people down with your mouth to make yourself look good, gossiping, etc. Sometimes even dressing in a certain way or provocatively to get the attention of your boss is included here. Therefore, we are to do our jobs unto the Lord and not in a self-aggrandizing way to simply please our bosses.
Then we have the first positive way to serve our bosses or masters, “but as slaves of Christ,” ALLA HOS DOULOS CHRISTOS, in the Genitive. Every believer must do his job as unto the Lord, not whether he is supervised or not, and he does not make up for lack of ability by becoming a flatterer for personal gain.
We should always realize that as born-again believers, we are in full time Christian service to God, which includes our earthly jobs whether outside or inside the home. That means we are “professional Christians,” as royal priests and royal ambassadors. Therefore, when we do our job, we are do it unto the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then the second positive way to serve on the job, “doing the will of God,” which is the Present Active Participle of POIEO, “to make or do,” with the Accusative of HO THELEMA that means, “will, desire, determination, purpose, or inclination,” and HO THEOS in the Genitive for, “of God.”
This means that we are to walk in our Personal Sense of Destiny, a Problem Solving Device, while on the job. It means that you know that God has a plan for your life and you are walking / living it out daily. It means we are to accept our circumstances and use them to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. If the Lord wants to change your circumstances, He will, but in the meantime, do your job unto the Lord. The dynamics of Bible doctrine comes from utilizing your own circumstances assigned to you by God.
Therefore, “doing the will of God,” means that you do not commit sin to fulfill God’s plan for your life, but instead walk / function in the holiness and righteousness of God, by not entering into sinful behaviors and functioning with honesty and integrity. It means you have the Christ-like nature and use it to perform your job. It means you function as God would function, in righteousness. It means God’s will for you is to “be holy as He is holy,” and therefore you perform motivated by how God wants you to perform your job, in holiness. God has placed believers in every aspect of life. God can bless a believer in any circumstances of life.
1 Peter 1:15-16, “But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY’.” Cf. Lev 11:44; 19:2; 20:7.
Gal 1:10, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
The place this service is to emanate from is “the heart,” which is not HO KARDIA in the Greek, but is actually EK PSUCHE that means, “from the soul.” So, this is better translated, “from the soul.”
As in vs. 5, we noted the battleground of the Angelic Conflict is the soul where there it noted the heart or the right lobe of the soul. So here, the whole soul (PSUCHE) is now in view. So, we see the battleground of your entire soul being the issue for dealing with the OSN (flesh) of your boss on the job. The issue of your soul is, will you allow it to be controlled by your own OSN when you are tempted to sin and be a lazy worker when your boss is not around and a man-pleaser when he/she is, or will you allow your soul to be led by the Word of God and the Filling of the Holy Spirit and do your job in righteousness and holiness, with integrity and honor at all times.
In reality, Paul classified only two types of service: working to please men and working to please the Lord. The first type is an outward show of loyalty and goodwill when the boss is watching. But when the worker is no longer under surveillance, the hardworking attitude is replaced by a begrudging one. Even if the worker has a genuine desire to please superiors only for the purpose of reaping the rewards they might bestow, this is still considered eyeservice because it is not done to glorify God. Flattery and hypocrisy are also ingredients of this kind of service. Yet, the second type we are exhorted to perform, is to do our jobs unto the Lord, which means to do the things that are pleasing to Him, as noted above, while performing your job.
Christians can bring reproach on the name of Christ by stealing time; for example, some witness for the Lord when they are being paid to work. Paul made it clear to these Christian slaves/workers that faithful service would be a testimony to their masters/bosses. Some of their masters/bosses were also Christians, but no doubt many of them were not.
We can also classify these two opposing concepts of performing our jobs as:
1. Working for personal, independent gain.
2. Working to please Christ.
This is also noted in the next verse, but in opposite order.
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Eph 6:7, “With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men,”
This time the passage begins with the positive and ends with the negative.
The positive, “with good will render service,” begins with META, “with,” EUNOIA, “good will, favor, benevolence, or kindness.” It comes from EU, “well or good” and NOUS, “mind, perceive, understand, realize, see, consider, take note of, or think over.” It is a state of zeal based upon a desire to be involved in some activity or state, therefore, “zeal, eagerness, or wholeheartedness.” It is a positive attitude exhibited in a relationship; a good attitude or willingness. So, it originally meant, “good thinking,” but came to be used for “loyal enthusiasm.”
With this is DOULEUO, δουλεύω in the Present, Active, Participle that means, “be a slave or be subject to obey.” DOULEUO is also found in the promise of blessing for good service in Col 3:24, for “you serve.”
We then have the motivation factor, “as to the Lord,” HOS HO KURIOS in the Dative case. We do our job unto the Lord.
Then we have the negation, “and not to men,” KAI OUK ANTHROPOS in the Dative. As stated above, do not be men-pleasers.
Here we are exhorted, “if you cannot transfer your job, transfer your boss,” i.e., from a man to Christ Himself. When we get our eyes off of our bosses and put them squarely on the Lord Jesus Christ, Heb 12:2, we will have the proper motivation to do our jobs, and in most cases, will do it well, pleasing the Lord. Bible doctrine changes things from the soul, not from the function of people seeking change and improvement of environment. Remember, the grass is not always greener at another job or company. But if you change the way you think and approach your job from a worldly viewpoint to a doctrinal view point, you will see the greenness wherever God places you.
Therefore, a worker is to serve his boss with goodwill that includes such characteristics as zeal, enthusiasm, loyalty, devotion, etc. The believer with Bible doctrine in his soul, especially the spiritually mature, does the most menial tasks with loyal enthusiasm as to the Lord.
As such, Paul gives instructions to slaves and masters, (workers and bosses), exhorting them to glorify Christ with proper attitudes, work ethic, and a deep awareness of Christ’s Lordship. We are to do our work as unto Christ, which means:
- Glorify Christ by working respectfully, Eph 6:5a. We are to work seriously and reverently, because we are working unto Christ.
- Glorify Christ by working wholeheartedly, Eph 6:5b-6. Do not be a hypocrite and work hard only when the boss is present. Remember that Christ sees all things.
- Glorify Christ by working willingly, Eph 6:7. Put your heart and soul into your work from your free will volition led by the Word and Holy Spirit within your soul, because you are doing God’s will.
- Glorify Christ by working expectantly, Eph 6:8, because the ultimate reward is coming. No Divine good work goes unnoticed by God. We will stand before the BEMA seat of Christ and be rewarded, Mat 16:27; Rom 2:6-11; 1 Cor 3:10-15; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 2-3.
Col 3:22-25, “Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23Whatever you do, do your work heartily (PSUCHE – from the soul), as for the Lord rather than for men.”
Paul further defined the Christian work ethic in 2 Thes 3:6-15.
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Eph 6:8, “Knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.”
There are four parts to this verse; 1) Faith, 2) Divine Good production, 3) Rewards, 4) Equal Privilege and Equal Opportunity.
Here we have the promise related to doing our job well as described in these passages. It relates to the fourth point noted above; Glorify Christ by Working Expectantly, knowing that the ultimate reward is coming. No Divine good work goes unnoticed by God. We will stand before the BEMA seat of Jesus Christ and be rewarded, Mat 16:27; Rom 2:6-11; 1 Cor 3:10-15; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 2-3.
1.) It begins with the Perfect, Active, Participle of OIDA for “knowing, understanding, or recognizing.” It means there is a base set of information that is resident within the soul and applied; a fact of reality. In this case, it is Bible doctrine, by way of the promises of God, resident within your soul. The application here is that we have a base of information that we rely upon and trust; faith-rest in. This thing spoken of should be a fact of reality in our lives. So, this is part of the faith rest life, knowing and trusting in the promise of blessings and rewards.
2.) The Conjunction “that” HOTI, sets up what the base of knowledge is. Then in the Greek it reads, HEKASTOS. ἕκαστος, EAN TI, for, “each whenever someone.” We translate it, “whenever each one.” TI linked with the Conjunction EAN gives us a potential or 3rd class “if” statement that sets up a hypothetical condition where something is uncertain but likely to be done. In this case, it is Divine Good being produced from the obedient worker.
The Divine Good is found in the words, “good thing” AGAHOS, which is good of intrinsic value, that is preceded by POIEO in the Greek that means, “to do, produce, work, perform, accomplish, etc. In fact, POIEO is in the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive that looks at the entirety of the action, (Divine Good Production), as a probable occurrence performed by the obedient worker. Cf. Gal 5:22-23; Eph 5:9.
3.) Next, we have the promise of rewards, “this he will receive back from the Lord,” that begin with the Demonstrative Pronoun HOUTOS, that identifies the “Divine Good” produced. It is followed by the Future Middle, Indicative of KOMIZO, κομίζω that means, “provide for, care for; bear, bring,” but here means, “receive.”
The Future tense means post Divine Good production.
The Middle voice says that the obedient worker benefits from his actions and from the Lord’s blessings.
The Indicative mood is for the fact that the obedient worker will be rewarded by Christ, which is found in the last phrase here, “from the Lord,” PARA HO KURIOS in the Genitive of Source. Jesus Christ is the one who rewards believers. Therefore, whenever Divine Good is produced something happens; we can be rewarded by our Lord Jesus Christ in time and will be in eternity.
The bottom line is the fact that a Christian’s ultimate reward will come from the Lord, so service must be rendered as unto Him. Everything is dependent on the Lord Jesus Christ, and all believers, whether slave or free, will stand before the BEMA seat of Jesus Christ on the same level and be rewarded for producing Divine Good, Mat 16:27; Rom 2:6-11; 14:10; 1 Cor 3:10-15; 9:16-27; 2 Cor 5:10; 2 Tim 4:8; 1 John 2:28; Rev 2-3.
2 Tim 4:8, “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
Jesus Christ is the only one who knows whether or not a person produced Divine Good while on the job, or anywhere else for that matter. A boss or an employer may have the wrong attitude about certain things and may not credit the employee properly because of that improper attitude. Nevertheless, there need be no fear of that happening with Christ. His motives are always good and right. More than that, He knows exactly what each believer’s motives are, and He will judge accurately, rightly, and impartially.
4.) Finally, we have the principle of equal privilege and equal opportunity regardless of our socio-economic differences, “whether slave or free,” or any other types of differences. The Greek reads, EITE DOULOS EITE ELEUTHEROS.
EITE is related to the EI, “if,” and when used doubly, as here, it is for comparison that means, “whether – or.”
ELEUTHEROS, ἐλεύθερος is an Adjective that basically means, “freedom, free, or independent,” either politically or philosophically. In other words, freedom either socially or mentally, yet the two often blend together.
The point here is that it does not matter what your circumstances in life are. Everyone has the same privilege and opportunity to produce Divine Good and be rewarded for it, whether they are a hired hand, an indentured servant, or worse.
Therefore, this tells us that the Bible promises God’s people an eternal reward that will far outweigh the difficulties experienced in these few years upon this earth.
Remember, the parallel to our passage is Col 3:24, “Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
God is the One who can accurately and impartially judge our performance and motivation while on the job, cf. 1 Peter 1:17.
1 Peter 1:7, “So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
The negative aspect of this is noted in Col 3:25, “For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.”
Interestingly, in Col 3:25, Paul included failure to fulfill your “Christian” responsibilities on the job. The principle of sowing and reaping is emphasized in many places in the Scriptures. Just as a person who sows corn can expect to reap a harvest of corn, so a person who sows righteous acts can expect to reap righteousness.
Mat 13:23, “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”
No one is foolish enough to think he can sow one type of seed and reap some other type of fruit, cf. Hose 8:7, but many people seem to think they can sow unrighteousness without reaping the results. The reaping is just as sure as the sowing.
And “without partiality” in Col 3:25, tells us that God does not show favoritism. “Partiality” comes from the Greek root word PROOPON that means, “face.” Paul is saying that what a person’s face looks like does not make any difference with God. Because of attractive physical features, some people are able to get away with things other people might not be able to get away with in their human relationships. God, however, does not make His decisions based upon the facial features of a person. He will reward according to the inner motives of the individual.
Prov 18:14 says, “The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, but as for a broken spirit who can bear it?”
If a person’s spirit is crushed, life can become unbearable. But what lifts the spirit? Christ! Future hope! Therefore, be freed from the mundane of serving man and be occupied with the higher calling of serving God on the job.
1 Tim 6:1-2, “Let all who are under the yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine may not be spoken against. 2And let those who have believers as their masters not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but let them serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.”
In conclusion, in each of the four verses regarding “workers,” Jesus Christ is mentioned:
Vs. 5, Workers are to be obedient to their bosses, “as to Christ.”
Vs. 6, We perform our jobs not in eyeservice, but “as slaves of Christ.”
Vs. 7, With a positive attitude, we do a good job, “as to the Lord.”
Vs. 8, We do our job with absolute confidence that we will, “receive good back from the Lord.”
Therefore, we should work through Christ, like Christ, and for Christ, cf. 1 Peter 2:18-25, because we are to serve Christ, not men, because we will receive our rewards from Christ, not from men.
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Eph 6:9, “And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.”
Like vs. 8, there are four aspects to this verse as part of the responsibilities of management:
- Bosses have the same basic responsibilities as their workers.
- Stop bullying your workers.
- Faith-Rest in God while performing your duties.
- Bosses too will be judged for rewards at the BEMA Seat.
1. It begins with the coordinating Conjunction KAI for, “and,” with the Vocative of Address of HO KURIOS for, “the masters.” This would be the boss on the job today. Then we have HO AUTOS in the Accusative, Neuter, Plural for, “the same things,” referencing the types of behaviors commanded of the workers on the job in vs. 5-8. Then we have the Present, Active, Imperative of POIEO for, “do, produce, work, perform, etc.,” and PROS AUTOS in the Accusative, Masculine, Third Person, Plural for, “to them,” meaning the workers on the job. Therefore, with the Imperative Mood of POIEO, the bosses are given the command to render the same type of service that their Christian workers are commanded to perform.
Here we are to practice mutuality. Bosses or management should treat their workers as they want to be treated; with integrity, respect, humility, and gentleness. They are to treat them as if they were treating Christ, cf. Mat 25:40.
Mat 25:40, “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me’.”
If bosses want respect and service, then they should give it also. This verse reminds bosses that they too have bosses they are accountable to and are to do their job as a boss, supervisor, manager, etc., for their boss as unto the Lord in all respects, just as the Christian worker is to do. Therefore, they are to do their job of managing others obediently, respectfully, sincerely, not by way of eyeservice or as men pleasers, with good will, (a positive attitude), and with the knowledge (faith-rest) of eternal rewards and blessings, as they do their jobs as to Christ, as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, as unto the Lord, with the confidence of being rewarded for such service from the Lord at the BEMA seat of Jesus Christ.
2. With this in view for their first mandate, the Lord gives them an additional mandate, “and give up threatening,” which is ANIEMI HO APEILE.
There is no KAI for “and” in the Greek here, but it is added to reflect the additional mandate given. “Give up” is the Present, Active, Participle used like an Imperative of ANIEMI, ἀνίημι that can mean, “untie, desert, give up, stop, unloose, leave, neglect, etc.” It is used here and in Acts 16:26; 27:40; Heb 13:5. While the other usages mean to loosen or untie or “never desert,” here we have the idea of “relinquish, give up, suspend from, cease, or desist.” In other words, stop doing what you have been doing. The thing to give up is “threatening,” APEILE, ἀπειλή. It is also used in Acts 4:17, 29; 9:1. In its application here, bosses are not to extract service from their employees by inducing fear in them in any form or fashion. There are many ways a person can threaten another, such as, bullying, intimidation, coercion, extortion, mistreatment, harassment, oppression, or treating unfairly, and bosses are exhorted to not employ any of them towards their workers.
Therefore, bosses are to avoid hostility. This type of exhortation to bosses back in Paul’s day would have been extremely rare. But Christian bosses were to be different. They were not to bully or use aggression to get their workers to perform. Bosses must not indulge in abusive, tyrannical, or manipulative treatment.
3. Next, we see that bosses are also given an “OIDA” mandate, “knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven.” As in vs. 8 for employees, “Knowing” is now given to the bosses with the Greek Perfect, Active, Participle of OIDA which represents an aspect of the faith-rest life. The faith-rest bosses are exhorted to apply is that they are accountable in the end to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is noted in “that both” HOTI KAI, “their Master,” AUTOS HO KURIOS, “and yours,” KAI HUMEIS, “is in heaven” EIMI EN OURANOS. EIMI is in the Present, Active, Indicative, for the current and ongoing reality of the Ascension and Session of Jesus Christ being seated at the right hand of God the Father, who will also be the judge at the BEMA Seat judgment.
Just as the workers were exhorted to know dogmatically in faith-rest that they will be rewarded for their Divine Good production, so too are bosses reminded that how they do their jobs as bosses will be rewarded at the BEMA Seat of Jesus Christ, if they perform it according to God’s Word applied from their souls through the power and filling of God the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, Christian bosses are to live with Christ-centered accountability. Management should live with a fear / respect of Christ. Proverbs speaks of this equal accountability of rich and poor:
Prov 22:2, “The rich and the poor have this in common: the Lord is the maker of them all.”
Prov 29:13, “The poor man and the oppressor have this in common: The LORD gives light to the eyes of both.”
Prov 15:3, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good.”
4. Finally, bosses are given the reality of Jesus Christ’s judgment along with the principle of equal privilege and equal opportunity in the phrase, “and there is no partiality with Him,” which in the Greek reads, PROSOPOLEPSIA OUK EIMI PARA AUTOS. This not only explains Jesus’ authority to judge, but also tells us that He is the example bosses should emulate.
PROSOPOLEPSI, προσωποληψία is a Noun that means, “partiality or favoritism,” it is also used in the parallel passage of Col 3:25, and in Rom 2:11; James 2:1. As we noted above regarding Col 3:25, Jesus Christ is a fair, equitable, honest, righteous, and just judge. He knows all, even the heart of the man, and will judge perfectly. Bosses do not get a pass on being evil to their workers because of their position. The ends do not justify the means, nor do the means justify the ends. As in all aspects of the spiritual life, we must do a right thing in a right way. When we do, we produce Divine Good and will be rewarded by the Supreme boss and judge, our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:15-17, “But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” 17And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth.”
Deut 10:17, “For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.”
Acts 10:34, “Opening his mouth, Peter said: ‘I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality’.”
Rom 2:11, “For there is no partiality with God.” Cf. Gal 2:6.
Therefore, bosses are to remember God’s impartiality. Partiality was written into the Roman law. But Paul says on the last day it will not matter. The Lord Jesus is utterly impartial. Roman law was discriminatory, but heavenly justice is not.
Then we see in the parallel verse of Col 4:1, “Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.”
In this passage, “threatening” is replaced by treating your workers with “justice and fairness,” DIKAIOS and ISOTES. DIKAIOS, δίκαιος means, “just, righteous, right, upright, or impartial,” and ISOTES, ἰσότης means, “equality, equity, or fairness.” It is a stern warning that bosses are to treat their workers properly, because they also have a Lord or Master. “Just” in this verse refers to providing justice, and “fairness or equal” relates to the necessity of being equitable in all transactions with workers. Therefore, in both verses, Masters are warned to treat their workers fairly, realizing their own ultimate responsibility and accountability to their own Master in heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ.
- God is fair, He does not show partiality, He is not impressed with the personality of an individual or his ability to enter into flattery. He treats us on the basis of His character. Therefore, His integrity is beyond reproach, He plays no favorites, and He is fair to all. Therefore, it should be the same with Christian management. The spiritually mature believer in management or authority should emulate his Lord.
- The Christian faith brings harmony by working from the heart. Christ gives us a new motivation, not a new organization. Both servant and master are serving the Lord and seeking to please Him, and in this way, they are able to work together to the glory of God.
- Bosses then should lead through Christ, like Christ, and for Christ.
a.) Lead through Christ. The challenge of leadership. You take on numerous responsibilities and make numerous sacrifices. You need the Spirit’s power. Paul felt the pressure of leading churches, 2 Cor 11:28. But he goes on to describe how in his weakness the grace of Jesus is sufficient, 2 Cor 12:9. We must lead out of Christ’s strength too.
b.) Lead like Christ. Christ is not just the model Servant; He is the ultimate Master also. What kind of leadership did Jesus execute? Servant leadership. He displayed the attitudes those in leadership should follow. He came to serve. He took up the towel. He cared for the vulnerable. He did not seek earthly praise. He was a shepherd, not a dictator.
Jesus said the way to be a ruler is first to be a servant in Mat 25:21, “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master’.”
Many of the great men of the Bible were first servants before God made them rulers: Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, and Nehemiah are just a few examples. Even after a man becomes a leader, he must still lead by serving. As our Lord said in Mat 20:27-28, “And whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
c.) Lead for Christ. Paul says masters will give an account. As a leader, you may have more opportunities to bend the truth and make unethical decisions, because you have less accountability and more control over your time. Remember, your audience is Christ. He is an impartial master. What this means is that you should seek to honor Him with holy leadership.
4. This passage should change the way we relate to people. Our culture subtly tells us that there is a hierarchy of value among individuals, and it tells us where we fit in this value system. This text crushes that idea. Although there are different roles and levels of authority, in no way do these roles define one’s value. This hierarchy does not exist for the Christian. We have the same Lord, and we await the same judgment, Rom 2:6-11. Further, James tells us that showing partiality is inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus, James 2:1.
5. We should relate to people differently from the way our culture relates to people. Do not give preferential treatment to a certain class or ethnic group. Care for the rich and the powerful, as well as the poor and the powerless. Be careful about your body language, your attention on others, and the way you communicate to others. Do not give the impression that you are superior or that someone is not worth your time. Do not dehumanize individuals by thinking less of them. Do not idolize any human by thinking too highly of him or her.
6. These passages should change the way you evaluate what is important. What matters according to this text is your relationship with Christ. The most important thing in this life is not whether you work in a saw mill or an office building in a nice part of the city. What matters is how you respond to Jesus Christ. Is He your Master?
Jesus said it like this: Mark 8:36, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”
7. If you know Christ, then you are rich. Because of this, you can say with Paul 2 Cor 6:10, “As having nothing yet possessing all things.” The person who has Jesus and nothing has no less than the person who has Jesus and everything else. If you belong to Jesus Christ, then you have everything. Then what you do in this life matters. It matters in this life, and it will be revealed in the next life. What matters most to you? The economy? The president? Your team? Your grades? We should all long to say it like Paul: Phil 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
8. If you do not have Christ, then you need to receive the One who, though being the ultimate Master, became the ultimate Servant, dying for sinners like us. Jesus came to do for us what we could not do for ourselves: to free us from slavery to sin and bring us into loving relationship with the Father. He came to give us what we could not earn; spiritual life. He came to make us what we could not become: no longer slaves, but sons. He is the obedient Servant, the best Master, and the sovereign Lord. Look to Him and live.
In conclusion, only a Spirit-controlled believer, Eph 5:18, is able to fulfill the obligations given in this section, Eph 5:15-6:9. Many of these verses emphasize selflessness, which results in harmony, one evidence of the Spirit’s work.
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Click here for Part 2 (vs. 10-12). The study includes:
The Empowerment (continued)
Exegesis of Ephesians 6:10-12
E. The Believer’s Walk in Warfare; God’s Provision for His Children’s Spiritual Battles, Eph 6:10-20.
1. The Exhortation to Arms, The Believer’s Warfare, Eph 6:10-13.
a.)The warrior’s power, Eph 6:10.
b.)The warrior’s armor, Eph 6:11.
c.)The warrior’s foes, Eph 6:12.
- The Doctrine of False goddesses, god’s of Ephesus
- The Doctrine of The Angelic Conflict
- The Doctrine of Satan’s Beatitudes
- The Doctrine of The Career of Satan
- The Doctrine of the Antichrist and False Prophet
- Video of 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos Kloster Switzerland
- The Doctrine of Satan’s Strategies
- The Doctrine of The Four-fold Demonic Forces
- Hierarchy of Satan’s Cosmic System
- The Doctrine of The Demons: the gods of the Nations