Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
5 Bondservants, obey your earthly masterswith fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Masterand yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
The duty of children is to obey their parents. That obedience includes inward reverence, as well as outward acts. By obeying your parents, you are obeying the Lord. By serving your parents, you are serving the Lord. Our families are meant to be an imitation of Christ, and our submission to our parents is a way of imitating our submission to Christ. God used our parents to create us. He uses our parents to provide for us and to sustain us. If it weren’t for our parents, we wouldn’t be here today. Honor Christ by honoring your parents. It is one of the best ways that you can serve the Lord in your youth. And make no mistake, you are serving the Lord by doing it.
Next, Paul takes a look at the relationship between a bondservant and a master. Some of your translations may refer to it as a slave and a master. However, the practice of slavery in the bible is different then what we think of when we hear the term today. In biblical times, slavery was not based on race. People sold themselves as slaves when they could not pay their debts or provide for their families. Some people would become slaves as a way to ensure that all their basic living needs were met. Paul isn’t writing this letter to reform the governments of the day, but to share the good news of Jesus Christ and offer a hope beyond what was imaginable to his audience.
Are you honoring your parents? What are some ways in which you can do so this week?
What does it look like for your obedience to show inward reverence as well as outward acts?