Text: Ephesians 5:21 to Eph. 6:4
Both the family and the church have the duty to guide another, and be responsible for training and equipping the next generation. Instead of seeing the youth or other parts of the church body as a separate entity to the point of perceiving it as a parachurch. Why not let us explore God’s Word today through Paul’s letter to the Ephesus.
The overall context in this chapter is located in verse 1, the church called to be imitators of God. Of course, we need to know the revealed God, Jesus Christ for us to imitate God. How do we know Christ? It is through His revelation, His Word, the Bible.
Narrowing this command to imitate God in Christ, the church is compared to a family. Reading through our passage, the viewpoint is that the church as a family ought to live in submission to one another—called humility through a mutual union. Also, the church is called to love just like how a husband loves his wife. Finally, the church needs to exemplify honor to one another just as how the children need to show respect and obey their parents.
Apostle Paul explained to the churches at Ephesus concerning unity and imitating God. He used the mystery of being one in marriage, and how the church is in union with Christ. Going beyond being one in Christ as a husband and wife, Paul included the children who must exemplify honor. Paul is describing a biblical image of what a church is, and at the same time, what a godly family is. This might sound too good to be true, but apart from God’s grace, this principle—the one that exemplifies humility, love, and honor—is unachievable. Indeed, no family is perfect, but any imperfect family can walk in a godly manner.
- The first principle is Humility/ Submission. Let us check verses 22-24.
When wives are called by God to submit to their husbands, it has no implication of inferiority–but rather is done in their highest eternal interest.
Understanding this submission in context, we need to read the prior verse. In verse 21, it states about a mutual submission to one another as followers of Christ. Adding to that, this submission is compared with the church’s submission to Christ. Christ being the head of the church does not mean coercing one’s will to submit. It is faith-based.
Let me sight some biblical samples on submission. First, in Philippians 2:5-11, the incarnation scene. Christ submitted Himself to the divine plan of the Father. This submission does not show that Christ is inferior to the Father, but Christ as the Son fulfilling His role by subjecting upon the Father’s will. This is similar to Christ’s resurrection presented in 1 Corinthians 15:27-28, submission for God to be all in all. Lastly, in Luke 22:42, Christ praying and depending on the Father’s will. Humility through submission does not mean inferiority.
Monica, the mother of Augustine, “who was faithful, was weeping for… [and] pleaded all the more insistently and with free-flowing tears” that Augustine would come to faith in Christ. While Susanna Wesley, who had 19 children but 9 died as infants. Despite the complexities and busyness of Susanna as a mother nurturing her 10 children, she finds time to pray two hours every day. She covers her head with her apron and sits on her favorite kitchen chair with her favorite Bible for her quiet time. She prays for her whole household in that unique prayer room she made.
2. The second principle is Love.
Husbands, do not expect great submission without you following the duty of loving your wife. This kind of love goes beyond the world’s definition of love. Love here in Greek is agape, dispositional, and unconditional. A kind of love that is willing to give oneself to death for his beloved. In context, this love is Christ’s kind of love, who gave Himself to death for his church. A self-giving kind of love.
This is a purposeful love. A love that will point your wives to holiness, to intimacy with Christ, and forming a godly walk in your family. Your love for your wife a reflection of how you love yourself. Self-love, in the husband’s context, should be a self-giving love since you and your wife are one.
Now, through God’s grace, your love goes beyond this practical simple. Husbands, take note that even when both you love banks are at a low level, you ought to still love your spouse, choose to love her daily, and love her more because this is how Christ modeled His love for us and His church. This is the godly way of love; the gracious way of loving.
3. The third principle, Honor.
Children, listen to this, the secret to having a long life is to honor our parents. So, eating pancit is fake news because we know it makes our life longer. Funny, right? But this life does not speak about just having more years in the world, but it speaks about a flourishing life, a life that is blessed. In Proverbs 1:8, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Youth, you need wisdom from the adults. Do not take this for granted. This is both essential and a privilege.
Deuteronomy 6: 4-9, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your 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.8
In short, in everything, parents ought to exemplify a godly living (check 6:4). Why do we expect our children to be lovers of the Word while we, as parents, are lovers of the world or idolizers of your works? If we are serious to model to the young people that we ought to prioritize God’s Word, then we make time for it, not just try to fit it into our schedules.
Loving, submitting, and honoring one another within the family in Christ are all inseparable. Respect, indeed, is earned and given. A father ought to exemplify a life that is honorable and worthy of respect. Likewise, a mother ought to show the greatest model of love which is submission or humility. Just as how Christ humbled Himself, the mothers have the privilege to be the tower of humility. Furthermore, children ought to honor their parents, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, this command is given. Give them the utmost respect and trust them in their wisdom about life. Of course, trust also is needed for the parents to their children. You also need to trust them; they need that for their personal development.
Lastly, trust God. We all have the duty, as a family and as a church, to equip each other. But only God can truly transform one’s heart and life. Let us take part in our duties and entrust everything else to God.
Ptr. John Paul Arceno February 28, 2021
*This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript above.