Monday, December 22, 2014

Commands for Parents (Part 1) | Ephesians Study

Ephesians 4:1, 
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Provoke to wrath -  NT:3949 parorgizo (par-org-id'-zo); from NT:3844 and NT:3710; to anger alongside, i.e. enrage:

Nurture - NT:3809  paideia (pahee-di'-ah); from NT:3811; tutorage, i.e. education or training; by implication, disciplinary correction:

Admonition - NT:3559 nouthesia (noo-thes-ee'-ah); from NT:3563 and a derivative of NT:5087; calling attention to, i.e. (by implication) mild rebuke or warning:

Again, we see another "put off/put on": put off provocation, put on nurture and admonition.

It is possible for fathers to be guilty of provoking their children to wrath - otherwise, they would not be warned against it. Colossians 3:21 reiterates this, "Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged." Here, lies the responsibility of the father, not of the children. Children have already been commanded to obey and honor, but fathers should never use that as a reason to do whatever they desire. Even by demanding obedience and honor, fathers can provoke their children to wrath.

Instead of provocation, fathers are given the command to raise their children with nurture (education, training, disciplinary correction) and admonition (calling attention, mild rebuke or warning). These words help us to understand the attitude behind training. Instead of forceful, angry training, fathers are to have a humble attitude. They can discipline their children and rebuke them, but it is done in a gentle spirit. The issue at hand is not the means of raising children, but the attitude of raising children.

What better example of fatherhood is there than God the Father? Hebrews 12 gives us a glimpse of God the Father: "(5) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: (6) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (7) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? (8) But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. (9) Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? (10) For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. (11) Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." (Hebrews 12:5-11)

God does not father without chastening - but His chastening is always rooted in His love for us and His interest in our profit. God never chastens because it just "feels good" to chasten. He always has a reason for His chastisement.

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