Families in Union with Christ

Families in Union with Christ

Last night’s Bible study was Lesson 23 in the series “Ephesians: Living in Union with Christ.” Focusing on Eph. 6:1-4, we considered what happens when the Gospel begins to transform the most basic human relationships–in marriage and in the family. The Word of God speaks first to husbands and wives, but it does not neglect children. God addresses children directly in His Word, as members of the family of God, as “the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Jesus Christ” (1:1). Children are members of God’s covenant community, having the mark of the people of God upon them in baptism. For this reason, God addresses them as those in covenant with Himself, as those who are obligated to commune with Him through repentance, faith in Christ, and obedience to the whole counsel of His Word. The family is a picture of God’s love for us in His Son Jesus Christ. For that reason, obedience to the commands of God is not legal obedience, but Gospel obedience: “hearing the voice of God with a delighted and delightful readiness to do all that God has said to us in His Word.”

We also saw that God speaks in the Gospel directly to parents–especially to fathers. God’s Word addresses fathers directly (and mothers indirectly through them) because fathers have a responsibility for the spiritual condition of their covenant homes. Fathers are particularly accountable to God for the souls of their children, just as the elders of the church are accountable for the souls of the children of God under their ministry and pastoral care (Heb. 13:7, 17). Fathers are to exercise their authority in the home in a Christlike, tender, gentle, loving way, not provoking their children to wrath, but bringing them up–nourishing and nurturing them–in the training and admonition of the Lord. This is hard work. It involves great sacrifice, intentionality, and attention. But the reward is of eternal value. Parents who feel overwhelmed by the great responsibilities involved in parenting can take great encouragement in the Gospel promise that Christ Himself dwells in us and is working in us to enable us to minister His grace to the hearts of our children.

The video lesson may be found here.

 

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