6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
Beginning chapter 6, Paul continues with very practical instruction according to the mystery of Christ.
He reiterated obedience to parents and even looked to the Old Testament to reference the fifth of the ten commandments. The fifth commandment being, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”
This instruction of Paul shows that honoring parents Biblically is synonymous with obedience to parents. Honoring parents is definitively a cross-dispensational truth that has a place within the ins and outs of the Body of Christ.
Departing from a honor and Godly parental wisdom has an effect on the life of children as they transition into young adulthood and so on.
This instruction brings an interesting point to the attention of the believer as well. Often, we hear sayings similar to “kids will be kids” or “boys will be boys”. In Ephesians 6:1-3, this instruction is directed to children not parents.
This implies that children can and are expected to have a level of responsibility and understanding. But with this responsibility and understanding, like adults, parents must be graceful as they are growing in the Lord much like the children.
6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Now referring to fathers, we read that fathers are not to provocate children to wrath. The Bible has much to say about wrath and the Bible instructs us to forsake vengeance and wrath; because, the wrath of man leads to evil (Psalm 37:8; James 1:20).
The wrath of God is just and will be carried out against those who choose to flee from the Body of Christ and His Gospel (Romans 12:19).
Godly fathers (spiritual [1 Corinthians 4:15] and physical) edify family units and build them up in the way of the Lord which is found in His word.
6:5-8 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
The word servant in its original Greek is “doulos”. This is a Greek word referring to voluntary or involuntary servitude and is often used in the same context of the word, “slave”.
Slavery and indentured servents were common practices in the ancient Middle East, although much different circumstances that more modern history. Because of the commonality of the practice, Godly instruction had to be presented by Paul in how to treat each other, servants and masters.
Reading Scripture with a modern, fleshly mindset out of context will cause a confused and warped depiction of the nature of God and should be avoided.
Paul compares servanthood according to the flesh to our service to Christ. Saying this, a reverent and humble obedience is depicted. Service is contrary to selfishness.
Even in unfavorable circumstances, Paul holds servants to the high calling of Christ (Philippians 3:14), calling for Godly service and ministry for the will of God.
Our works and righteousness are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) and is one reason why Jesus Christ’s finished work and Gospel is so important. His righteousness is imputed upon us and we are given an inheritance which is far greater than a return on our works. Life’s journey will be well worth it!
6:9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
Masters are called to the same expectation of Godly service to their servants, knowing that they have a master in Heaven, who see them not as bondman or free, but as sons and daughters of God (Ephesians 2:19-22).