on Ephesians 6 :1
Children, obey your parents - This is a duty with which God will never dispense; he commands it, and one might think that gratitude, from a sense of the highest obligations, would most strongly enforce the command.
In the Lord - This clause is wanting in several reputable MSS., and in same versions. In the Lord may mean, on account of the commandment of the Lord; or, as far as the parents commands are according to the will and word of God. For surely no child is called to obey any parent if he give unreasonable or unscriptural commands.
on Ephesians 6 :1
Children - τέκνα tekna This word usually signifies those who are young; but it is used here, evidently, to denote those who were under the care and government of their parents, or those who were not of age.
Obey your parents - This is the first great duty which God has enjoined on children. It is, to do what their parents command them to do. The God of nature indicates that this is duty; for he has impressed it on the minds of all in every age; and the Author of revelation confirms it. It is particularly important:
(1) Because the good order of a family, and hence of the community, depends on it; no community or family being prosperous where there is not due subordination in the household.
(2) because the welfare of the child depends on it; it being of the highest importance that a child should be early taught obedience to "law," as no one can be prosperous or happy who is not thus obedient.
(3) because the child is not competent as yet; to "reason" on what is right, or qualified to direct himself; and, while that is the case, he must be subject to the will of some other person.
(4) because the parent, by his age and experience, is to be presumed to be qualified to direct and guide a child. The love which God has implanted in the heart of a parent for a child secures, in general, the administration of this domestic government in such a way as not to injure the child. A father will not, unless under strong passion or the excitement of intoxication, abuse his authority. He loves the child too much. He desires his welfare; and the placing of the child under the authority of the parent is about the same thing in regard to the welfare of the child, as it would be to endow the child at once with all the wisdom and experience of the parent himself.
(5) it is important, because the family government is designed to be an imitation of the government of God. The government of God is what a perfect family government would be; and to accustom a child to be obedient to a parent, is designed to be one method of leading him to be obedient to God. No child that is disobedient to a parent will be obedient to God; and that child that is most obedient to a father and mother will be most likely to become a Christian, and an heir of heaven. And it may be observed, in general, that no disobedient child is virtuous, prosperous, or happy. Everyone foresees the ruin of such a child; and most of the cases of crime that lead to the penitentiary, or the gallows, commence by disobedience to parents.
In the Lord - That is, as far as their commandments agree with those of God, and no further. No parent can have a right to require a child to steal, or lie, or cheat, or assist him in committing murder, or in doing any other wrong thing. No parent has a right to forbid a child to pray, to read the Bible, to worship God, or to make a profession of religion. The duties and rights of children in such cases are similar to those of wives (see the notes on Ephesians 5:22); and in all cases, God is to be obeyed rather than man. When a parent, however, is opposed to a child; when he expresses an unwillingness that a child should attend a particular church, or make a profession of religion, such opposition should in all cases be a sufficient reason for the child to pause and re-examine the subject. he should pray much, and think much, and inquire much, before, in any case, he acts contrary to the will of a father or mother; and, when he does do it, he should state to them, with great gentleness and kindness, that he believes he ought to love and serve God.
For this is right - It is right:
(1) because it is so appointed by God as a duty;
(2) because children owe a debt of gratitude to their parents for what they have done for them;
(3) because it will be for the good of the children themselves, and for the welfare of society.
on Ephesians 6 :1
6:1 Children, obey your parents - In all things lawful. The will of the parent is a law to the child. In the Lord - For his sake. For this is right - Manifestly just and reasonable.