Useful Bible Studies > Ephesians Commentary > chapter 6

The command with a promise

Ephesians 6:2-3

Sometimes people try to argue that Christians do not need to obey God’s commands. This passage shows clearly that they are wrong. Paul was teaching Christians to obey God’s commands. Here, he teaches them to obey Exodus 20:12.

God originally gave that law to Israel’s people, both as a command and as a promise. The command was that people should respect their parents. Therefore, they should both look after and obey their parents. The promise (in Exodus 20:12) was for Israel’s people to remain for a long time in the country that God had given them.

In other words, if people chose to be selfish and greedy, their society would not be successful. However, when people establish right relationships in their families, they act in the right way towards other people too (Exodus 20:13-17). Then God shows his kindness to them; he protects and defends them (Psalm 18:1-3).

When Israel’s people refused to obey God’s commands, in the end they had to leave their own country (2 Kings 17:13-23). God later permitted them to return (Deuteronomy 30:1-10) - but that did not happen until many years afterwards.

Paul wanted Christians to know that this command and this promise were for them, too. No church and no society on earth is likely to last for long if people will not respect their parents. Especially in churches where people serve God loyally, we should encourage the children to imitate their parents’ behaviour. If the children do that, then their church’s work for God will not end at their parents’ death. Instead they themselves will continue to serve God as their parents did, perhaps with their own families. That might happen in the same place or somewhere else - but wherever God directs them, that church’s work for God will continue by means of them.

Next part: How a father can teach his family to serve God (Ephesians 6:4)


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© 2019, Keith Simons.