The Lord’s Day, June 20, 2021
What advice do I have for fathers on this Lord’s day? The apostle Paul wrote to children: “Be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.” (Col. 3:20) But to fathers he wrote: “Do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.” (Col. 3:21) This same content is repeated in Ephesians 6:1-4: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
This past week I wrote about questions 63-66 of the shorter catechism. This just so happened to precede fathers day, just like in Paul’s letters, his word to children preceded his word to fathers. Therefore today I would like to speak to fathers.
When the apostle Paul wrote these letters it was unanimous among both Jewish and Greco-Roman writers that children needed to honor their parents. Among Jews, the command to honor one’s parents went beyond childhood. Some Jewish writes believed that honoring one’s parents was the most important commandment. Many taught their children through harsh discipline. Paul did not agree with the beating of children in child rearing. This is what Paul meant by “Fathers, do not exasperate your children.” (IVP, BBC, NT)
However, I think that it goes much deeper than physical because words hurt. “A domineering and thoughtless father can discourage obedient children.” (Col. 3:21, ESV Global SB Notes) There is no responsibility among men in this world greater than to be a father of a child.
Father’s, discourage your children from worldly lusts but be careful that you do not discourage them in the Lord.
Your Servant for Jesus’ Sake