1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Chapter six is a continuation of the practical outcomes in chapter five of being filled with the Spirit. The first four verses show the relationship of children to their parents. Household codes connect to our being filled with the Spirit. There is a reciprocal relationship between parents and children as well as between slaves and masters.
The address to “children” in the audience of the Ephesian church calls attention to the fact that children have accountability to the Lord. All children have this responsibility, not just small children. God expects children to study the Bible and obey it.
obey your parents
Note that “obey” for children is stronger than the “submit” addressed to wives (5:21). Obedience does not carry as much personal volition as submission. The literal idea of “obey” means to hear under. The idea is to obey by listening to an authority.
The Greek for “obey” means to obey on an ongoing basis and that it is a command; it is not an option.
in the Lord,
“In the Lord” does not mean that children are to obey their parents only if they are Christians. The idea is that, whatever the child does, he or she does to the Lord (Co 3:20). The phrase “in the Lord” qualifies the kind of obedience children are to have toward their parents. A child should not obey parents if they ask the child to do something that does not accord with God’s standards.
for this is right.
Obedience to parents is “right” in God’s eyes. “Right” is what is righteous or just in parent-child relationships. Obedience should come not only from obligation to parents but primarily because it is true to the nature of the relationship between parent and child.
Parents are mediators between children and God.
Parents are mediators of God’s values and worldview to their children. This is why the child is to obey his or her parents. Obedience is the fundamental role of the child.
God does not sponsor liberation of the child from parents. Children cannot choose to do whatever they may want to do. Children are vulnerable to cultural trends. Parents should have the ability to discern these trends and help their children understand why they are wrong in God’s eyes.
Children are to submit to their parents, but parents are to meet the needs of their children. Without this relationship, society will experience disorder. Our relationship to the Lord is the motivation behind family and social order.
Disobedience to parents is a characteristic of the last days (2 Ti 3:1-2).
A child who obeys his or her parents “in the Lord” makes it a higher service than unadulterated or slavish obedience to parents. It is a service out of reverence for Christ.