Ephesians Chapter 6: "Them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity"
This discussion has established a principle. The regulation of our earthly affairs is not to be regulated according to our own unaided wish, nor in accordance with the spirit of the times. It is “as unto the Lord”. For that reason, then, Paul goes on to consider parent and children in relationship to each other (6:1-4), and to propound his instruction with a double mention of the Lord’s part in the matter. Children obey their parents as an earthy type of men and women obeying their heavenly Father; and parents guide their children with loving care, as their heavenly Father has provided for them. It is significant that Paul here takes a somewhat different approach from that used by the Lord. Jesus bids us knock, ask and seek, and God will respond; for, He says, “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone; or a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent. Or if he ask an egg, will He give him a scorpion? If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” (Luke 11:9-13). We can be sure that God will do better to us, even than we do to our children. But here the thought is the reverse: as in the Lord we know so much of His goodness, we ought to be the more glad to give all that is good and needful without stint unto our children. But it is in ‘‘the chastening and admonition of the Lord’’, and in the face of a certain disposition to give psychological fashions precedence over Scripture in this matter, it must be asserted with firmness that this counsel is utterly incompatible with the up to date extremes of free expression. Every instructed mind will at once think of convincing evidence from the scripture for this, and it is not pleasant to think of the term, which the Bible uses for those who are without chastisement (Hebrews 12:5-11).
The principles established here apply equally to the relationships between masters and servants, each in his own way fulfilling the will of God, in rulership or in submission (6:5-9). The reward of such service is not to be measured in terms of earthly wages (6:8), and the grace of such rulership will in time to come be heaped again into the bosom of the generous master.
And with this Paul ends this type of practical counsel. There remain in the letter a rousing call to strength, preparedness and steadfastness, knowing that God is with us in His heavenly places as we fight, and assured that the armour of God is able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, leading the saint on to assault against wickedness which cannot be resisted if penitence can be provoked. The armour of the Roman soldier is put to effective use to teach us that it is truth, and not opinions, which we must preach; faith, and not self-assurance, which will keep us whole; righteousness, and not guile which must be our spirit; “the readiness to preach which the Gospel of peace gives” which must move us; the hope of salvation which must guard our minds, and the power of the Word, quickened by the Spirit, which must pierce our adversaries’ defences (6:10-17).
Above all there is needed prayer, earnest, sincere prayer in the Spirit, not only on our own behalf, but on the behalf of all, for all saints, in those days for Paul himself in his supreme labours on the Lord’s behalf: that the gross indignity of imprisoning the Lord’s ambassador might be undone, for the Lord’s sake, and Paul’s work continued with the same triumphant success that faith has secured for it before.
We could close on no better note. “Now unto Him” must be the end of all our words, and the beginning of them. We have no doubt in this unparalleled expression of spiritual faith how Paul begun and we can do no other than join him, thinking of our fellowship one with another in the way he ends:
“Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.” (6:23-34).