Help for Family Living

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

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 5:21-23

THE supreme example of the ideal family life is to be found in the family of Jehovah God. And the basic element that distinguishes and binds that family together is love, for “God is love.” (I John 4:8) Long ago the psalmist wrote, “How excellent [precious] is thy loving-kindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.” (Ps. 36:7-9) Indeed, so great was Jehovah God’s loving-kindness towards his errant human creation that he gave “his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) That same surpassing love of the Father for fallen man was also shown by Jesus, who freely gave his own perfect life “as a ransom for all.”—I Tim. 2:3-6

And we are the children of that great God of love, and brethren with his son, our dear Lord Jesus Christ. “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God,” the Apostle John wrote. If, then, we truly love this great God of love “who first loved us,” and his equally loving son Jesus, the apostle continues, then we should also love those who are our brethren in Christ. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. … Hereby perceive we the love [of Christ], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (I John 3:1,14,16) But we who call ourselves Christians may not, and should not stop there; we must also love our neighbor. “And who is my neighbor?” a certain lawyer asked Jesus. In his reply our Lord indicated, in effect, that anyone, anywhere, who needs our help, our comfort and our love is our neighbor.—Matt. 19:19; Luke 10:25-37

One might suppose that this should be sufficient; but Jesus says, No! In that beautiful sermon on the mount, he told us we are to love even our enemies. He said, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?”—Matt. 5:43-46

In our recent lessons we have noted Jehovah God’s admonition to his people, “Ye shall be holy, for I the Lord am holy.” This then, briefly, is the high standard, the heavenly example which we, as Christians, must daily strive to follow, both in our family and in our public lives. And in view of all our Heavenly Father has done for us, how can we aim to do less? Thus, the apostle instructs us, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”—Eph. 5:1-5, RSV

Elsewhere, the apostle gives us practical advice in our efforts to attain our goal. He writes, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, and not on things on the earth. … And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Col. 3:1,2,17) He then refers more explicitly to the day-to-day family relationships of God’s children. He says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. … And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ.”—Col. 3:18-24; See also Romans 12:9-21

What a joyous and reverent relationship between all the members of such a godly family would result if each would strive to heed the apostle’s instructions in these temporal matters, which comprise so large a part of our daily Christian lives! And this is exactly what God has promised shall be true of all his resurrected family of mankind in that glorious, coming new world “wherein dwelleth righteousness!” Behold, “What love the Father has given us, that we should be called the children of God!”—Gen. 12:3; II Pet. 3:13

Dawn Bible Students Association
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