Relationships as the New Society
We have been plodding our way through the book of Ephesians over the last year. In this study we have discovered how the Triune God is building the new society, his church. Over the last several months we have seen the church in light of her unity and purity as we have studied chapters 4 and 5. As we move on to the end of the book in the next two months in chapters 5 and 6 we will be looking at that unity and purity expressed in relationships.
The apostle Paul will lead us through three primary relationships in these last two chapters. In the previous chapters he has focused on our relationship as the church to one another as the new society. In chapter 5 and 6 he focuses our attention on relationships in the family, in our work, and with our enemy. Paul becomes very practical as he teaches us that the new society is expressed in the settings of the family and the workplace. It is in these places that God expresses his goodness, wisdom and power through his new society. If there is no unity and purity as his church expresses herself in these places, then what is the point of peace and purity in the church? He also is expressing that our enemies are not in our families and workplaces but the unseen realm of spiritual warfare. In chapter 6 Paul equips us for our battle against the enemy, so that we may live at peace and in love with God and toward our closest neighbors. In these final chapters it is a harmonious practical Christian life we are called to live at home and work while we stand stable in the fight.
We all share a common human existence. Some of us exist as husbands and wives, some as Fathers and Mothers, some as children, and some as employers and employees. We all have our beginnings as "sexual beings". We have mothers and fathers and we continue to relate to all those with whom we exist in bloodlines or adoptive lines. This is an inescapable reality, no matter how we wish to escape it, even on "family vacations" or the refusal to attend a family gathering. We also have our generational existence. We belong to a generation. Cultural experts call some "the greatest generation" or "baby boomers", the "gen-xers", "post moderns" or the "millennial generation". Whatever your generational tag may be this is nothing more than the observation that eveyone is tied to the generation to which he belongs. We were born by God's designs into a particular time. We also have an economic existence. We are material beings who exist in an economic structure. Whether your a Marxist or Capitalist you acknowledge this reality, and this reality places you in a market relationship. It is into this common human existence that we all share that God speaks by his Word.
The apostle Paul with the other apostles and New Testament writers do not shy away from this reality as they speak practically about the new society functioning as husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, masters and slaves or employers and employees. The "new self created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness" (Eph.4:24) is not meant for a spiritual experience that ignores relationship realities. These chapters will lead us plainly and practically as God's new society in the ways of righteousness, holiness and the knowledge of God expressed in the family and workplace.
This is instruction in the practical duties of the Christian life in home and work. Martin Luther's first catechism called this Haustafeln, "house tables or tables of household duties" addressed these practical duties. He recognized the church's privileges and responsibilites in the home and neighborhood as the new society of God. The new society of the Triune God is practically expressed in the common relationships that all men share, and this is the design of God to reveal his glory. However, we must always remember that these practical instructions are written in the context of the gospel of grace penned in the first three chapters. We must never divorce ourselves from this truth. The cost of this divorce in the new society only glorifies itself and not her Redeemer in whom she lives as his body the fullness of him who fills all in all (1:23).
Join with me in prayer as we approach these chapters together that we may live as his new society in the reality of the relationships we have been placed in for his glory.
May 4th Ephesians 5:22-32 It's About More Than Marriage
May 11th Ephesians 5:22-32 A Husband's Love
May 25th Ephesians 5:22-32 A Wife's Respect
June 1st Ephesians 6:1-4 Family in a New Society
June 8th Ephesians 6:5 - 9 It's About More Than Work
June 22nd Ephesians 6:10-24 Your Enemies are Not People
For His Glory,