Relationships Within the Family

MEMORY VERSE: “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” —Ephesians 5:21

EXODUS 20:12

THIS text of Scripture contains the commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother,” with the promise that those who do will enjoy a long life. It is well to remember in this connection that this promise of a material reward for obedience to the Law was made to children born under the Law, and subject to its requirements. The Law promised life to any and all who were able to live up to its terms perfectly, but none gained life in this way, for none was able, due to inherited imperfections, to measure up fully to the Law.

On the other hand, the Ten Commandments is a wonderful code of ethics for all in every age. Even unbelievers in Christ would find that observance of the Ten Commandments would make for better family and community life. How much better off the world would be today if children gave more honor to their parents, and if young people in general would give more heed and respect to their elders.

EPHESIANS 5:21 – 6:4

The first verse of this scripture is important—“submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” This is one of the basic requirements to good Christian fellowship, and to true Christian unity. Christ is the Head of the church, and all his followers are brethren. As Head, Jesus is not subject to the members of his body, but as body members we are subject to him. Sometimes this is overlooked by various ones in the church and they conduct themselves as though they thought other brethren should be subject exclusively to them. This makes for human headship within the church, and often leads to disappointments and heartaches.

Paul’s statement means that all the brethren should be subject one to another. This implies that each member of the church will seek to please his fellow members, and will humbly recognize the rights of all to be heard, and to do what is possible for the general welfare of the entire congregation.

This applies also within the family; and while Paul enjoins that wives should be subject to their husbands, it is not with the thought that wives are inferior to their husbands, nor does it mean that husbands should be domineering and unkind in dealing with their wives. It is a beautiful relationship, based on love and the mutual best interests of both.

Paul draws a beautiful lesson from this proper family arrangement. We quote: “For the husband is head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”—Eph. 5:23-27

Paul presents a further lesson: “Because we are members of his body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.” (vss. 30,31, ASV) Paul continues, “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church”—vs. 32

This “mystery” of Christ and the church is set forth in detail in I Corinthians, chapter 12. One aspect of it is stated by Paul in Colossians 1:27, which reads, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

The hope of glory enjoyed by the dedicated members of the church is based upon faithfulness in suffering with Christ, for it is only if we are faithful in suffering with him that we will, in the resurrection, be exalted to his glory, and share in his messianic reign for a thousand years, for the blessing of all the families of the earth.


Will obedience to the Ten Commandments result now in long life?

What is pictured in the divine plan by the relationship of husband and wife?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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