Explore the Bible

with Cyndi Grace

Sunday, November 17

Walking as Family

Ephesians 5:22-6:4

Order is a part of life and without it chaos rules. My brain does not function in chaos. I become paralyzed, not able to make a move. 1 Corinthians 14:33 says, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (KJV). Perhaps the confusion and chaos we have today is that we have forgotten God’s proper order. He didn’t create vegetation before He created soil and water; that would have been disaster to the plants. There was a proper order.When we read of His creating the one in His own image, we also see order. He created man, then woman, then children. That was as intentional as the creation of soil before plants. He also made family before community. It was an order that would provide peace. It symbolized the God/Man relationship. Believing this flies in the face of what today’s society says. We have inserted our opinions in place of God’s order.Because Ephesus was a Greek community, philosophers and teachers prompted the thoughts of their community. There was more of an emphasis on the individual’s benefit to society rather than the family but being an open-minded group of people, they were willing to listen to the Apostle Paul’s idea of order in the family, even if they might not at first agree with it.The order Paul listed in our Scripture followed the order of creation. There was a hierarchy. There is an adage used when things are not getting done in the corporate setting: Too many chiefs and not enough Indians. We live in a world where more people want to be in charge rather than follow orders. Social media has opened the floodgates for opinions of how to solve every problem from how to care for your pet to running the country. It seems no one wants to be under anyone else’s authority. The unintended result is that our nation, but even more so our homes are in chaos.This week’s Scripture is clear, and no amount of justifying changes its meaning. Let’s back up one verse and read Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (NIV ’84). This hierarchy of submission begins with each one of us submitting to each other as Christ submitted Himself to His Father. We must follow His example. That very submission places the rest of the verses into proper context. No one is in charge except Christ and by submitting to Him, we follow His commands.Paul then continues to set the order for the family. He begins with wives submitting to husbands and this seems backwards to our modern way of thinking. It probably seemed the same way to the Ephesians, as the women of that day were considered equals in every part of their society.  They owned businesses and were involved in all the city’s workings. Why should they submit to their husband? They were just as important, but then Paul continues by stating the husband is to love His wife as Christ loved the church and died for it. This is the much harder task. To love any other person the way Christ loved seems impossible, but it is truly what God intended in the family. This probably left the readers scratching their heads but then Paul inserts an extremely important part of the theology in verse 32.  “This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church” (CSB).Just as the creation of Adam symbolized the hierarchy of the God/Man relationship, the proper working order of a Christian family symbolizes Christ and the Church. The Book of Revelation calls the Church the Bride of Christ. He is the Bridegroom (head) who loved His Church (the Bride) so much that He gave His very life to preserve it. It is a great mystery to those who lack spiritual eyes, but to those who see things from God’s perspective, we can clearly see that a properly ordered family will symbolize Christ and the Church.How are we doing? The answer is clear. Many families are in chaos because they have neglected to follow God’s order. They have instead followed selfish desires. Men have not loved their wives and wives have not respected their husbands (v. 33). The result is children are confused and disobedient. It is not too late. Reestablish God’s order in your own family, even if it is hard, and God will bring peace.Grace is a conference speaker, author, and member of First Church, Clinton.