The duty of obedience
‘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 that thou mayest live long on the earth.’ Ephesians 6:1–3
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Deuteronomy 5:1–22
The duty of children to obey their parents is also founded on the authority of God. It is his command. When he gave but ten commandments this was one, which shows its importance, and there is a promise—which literally was in some sense peculiar to the Old Testament dispensation, but in general it expresses that obedient children have reason to hope for his blessing, and that disobedience exposes to his displeasure. Under the law, such were subject to the same punishment as blasphemers, and there is severe threatening (Proverbs 30:17). In effect we see that those who are disobedient to their parents are usually marked by the providence of God—some meet the same return from their own, and if you enquire of them who are brought to an untimely end by the law of the land, many or most of them will confess disobedience to parents was their first fatal step that led them into the way of mischief.
This duty of obedience is also founded on the example of Jesus, who, though Lord of all, yet when he humbled himself for our sakes, was subject to his parents during his private life.
Dear Myra, hear the Saviour speak,
Devote to me your early days—
He speaks this day to thee,
Can you too soon be blessed?
Renounce the world (he says), and seek
And I will guide you by my grace,
Your happiness in me;
To an eternal rest;
The world will flattering baits present,
The object of my care and love,
But ’tis delusion all,
You then shall walk in peace,
And you can only find content,
And rise to higher joys above,
By yielding to my call.
When this frail life shall cease.
John Newton to Miss Sarah Gardiner on the anniversary of her birthday
SERMON SERIES: RELATIVE DUTIES, NO. 3 [2/5], EPHESIANS 6:1–3