The New Covenant is not about what to do or how to act. It is about who we are in Christ. However, who we are can be revealed in what we do and how we act. I believe that the apostle Paul was a man with great understanding of grace. He was formerly a man of Law who was transformed to be a man of grace. Surely he understood the Law, but he was not afraid to confront those who were bound to the Law to embrace a salvation and a testimony that can only come by God’s manifest presence in the human heart through the power of God’s grace. Paul presented principles of grace more than concepts of Law. Unless we make that leap in our thinking our understanding of Paul’s writings can be twisted to say something that he never said. Just as Paul used husbands and wives to present a truth of Christ and the Church, he used family and everyday practical realities to reveal a truth of God’s grace and the power of faith.
Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
As a child of God I look for those who are my parents and mentors in the way of life. As a child of God I look to extend and expand the inheritance of my parents. I look to make the days of the family name long in the earth. As members of Christ’s Church we must show honor to parents. And as parents and leaders in the Body of Christ we must never provoke church members to wrath. We must not see our knowledge as greater than the successive generation, but only as a tool to serve them in becoming a testimony of what we could only begin in our own lifetimes. We must not frustrate those we lead by trying to control their lives. We must inspire them to hear God’s voice within their hearts so they too can walk in the path of destiny set out for them by God in life.
Ephesians 6:4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
The objective of fathers is to raise up sons who too become fathers. The dream of the old must become the vision of the young and the vision of the young must further inspire the old to dream. I am finding this to be true in my own life as a father to my own children and a spiritual father in the Body of Christ. These things are not the rules of the kingdom, but merely the testimonies of true kingdom life in Christ. It is not a matter of law, but a testimony of true grace.
As those who are involved in the task of ministering to others, we often get caught in the duty of service. Being in charge of something doesn’t free us from the responsibility of representing others in life. To have authority we must first be under authority. We must also understand that what has been entrusted to us is meant to produce life in those who are under our authority. Whether it is in a secular job in the workplace or in serving practical duties in the church, we all serve others in our task of life.
Ephesians 6:5-8 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
We don’t serve others to get ahead in life. We serve others because it is our nature to love God and people. We serve because we love. This is not a thing of being noticed, but it is the character of the family of God. Someone is always going to have a greater mastery in some area of life and we must serve who he or she is to be who we are meant to be. This includes the concept of employers and employees and leadership and membership in the Church. Being a master is not a matter of being better that those who serve their area of mastery, it is a matter of accepting the responsibility of tasks given in life. Being a servant doesn’t make us less than masters; it is simply a fuller expression of all that needs to be done in a corporate sphere of influence.
Ephesians 6:9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
My challenge to us all is that we embrace the culture of family in the Church. Let us all embrace the testimony of being God’s family of love in all that we are and do. What we do and how we act will reflect who we are. If we are the family of God, we should be like God in His character, nature, way, power, and authority in all that we do. This is not a matter of principles, rules, or any expression of law. It is a testimony of the grace of God at work in our hearts. We are the family of God!
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson