Ephesians 6

Family Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Paul continues with the image of the domestic church; the family. Children are to obey their parents. (v1). Obedience is the primary means by which children honor their parents when they are younger. Paul reminds them, “’Honor your father and your mother’ is the first commandment to carry a promise with it…” (2). It is a commandment from God as given on the tablet to the people of God. The first three commandments deal directly with God and not offending Him most directly. The other seven deal with how we treat our neighbors, who are made in the image and likeness of God. The first commandments come first as they are the most important. The first of the commandments dealing with others is honoring our parents. This is yet another sign of the home being the sanctuary where God is discovered in the love spouses have in each other and the love children discover in their parents. “Fathers, do not anger your children. Bring them up with the training and instruction befitting the Lord” (4). The Father in Heaven loves the Son with such purity and fullness. The Son in turn loves the father also with such purity and fullness. In a similar way, children are to love their parents and parents are to love their children.

Slavery still exists today. India and China are today’s land of slavery. I am not talking about slavery in figure of speech. Actual slavery does exist. So the message to the slaves does apply to slaves today, but they can also apply to us. Slaves suffer more than those who are free. Most people would agree on that. If those who suffer so greatly have things required of them, then we should listen ourselves as to God’s will. It would give us a great clue as how to act and how to honor God by our lives. Paul instructs them to obey the slave owners. Obey willingly and with care. God is the one who will judge. Verse nine gets really strange; instructions for slave owners. Paul tells them to respect the slaves and do not threaten them. Paul reminds them the real “master in heaven… plays no favorites”. No person has anything that God is in need of. Their status in this life means nothing to God.

So often we think our enemy is each other. We get worried about this person or that person. We worry about political people or people of influence and what they may do to us. God will take care of them. God is our strength (10). Not only does God protect us, but He also arms us with His weapons. When in warfare, it is important to injure the enemy, and not cause injury by “friendly fire”. The army that goes out to do battle needs weapons meant for the enemy and that are capable to help them to victory. So in every war, you must make sure you know and understand who your enemy is. So who is our enemy? Paul says in verse 12; “Our battle in not against human forces, but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this worlds darkness and the evil spirits in regions above.” Swords and guns are of no use against spirits, principalities and powers. Rather, Paul suggests truth as the first weapon against the weapon of our enemy, lies and deceit. As humans, we use our intellect to find truth. Then to seek our justice (14). Justice is in an act and is found in the will. Zeal is expressed in the passions, but is put forward as a way to peace. This is opposed to complacency that allows everything to run amuck and cause discord. Faith is the shield that protects us, especially when it is well integrated. Faith allows us to use these Godly weapons with prudence. It guides us in all matters as faith is instructed by God who knows all things. The promise of salvation protects us as we enter the battle. We know our Lord is trustworthy. He would never leave us in the battlefield. The Holy Spirit speaks through His holy words in the Bible. But the Holy Spirit is not limited to scripture. He works through the Church and His followers in prayer. In fact, Paul dedicates a paragraph to pray. Prayer is very powerful. Some people may wonder what cold be done in prayer. Prayer is a communication, particularly with God. God so happens to be the creator of all things. What He says goes. Now imagine that God would decide in your favor. Yes, prayer is very powerful indeed. 

Father Barr