Questions and answers I appreciate
Ephesians 6 also tells children to “honor” their parents. Does this apply to special cases, i.e. must you “honor” and “obey” a parent who is in prison, a crack addict, or an abusive parent?
Thanks for the thoughtful question. We’d like to answer it by making four points:
Point #1: Ephesians 6:1 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” The phrase, “in the Lord”, indicates that children need to obey their parents (1) by being one with the Lord, (2) not by themselves but by the Lord, and (3) not according to their natural concept but according to the Lord’s word. (Ephesians, 6:1, footnote 2)
The mistakes or sins of our parents do not excuse us from this requirement. Although the religous Jews and the political Romans were unrighteous and unjust toward the Lord Jesus, the Lord still lived a proper human life. So regardless of our parents’ mistakes, we children are not excused from living and expressing the divine life through our human life. The emphasis here is that we need to have a proper human living.
Point #2: “Honoring is different from obeying. Obeying is an action, whereas honoring is an attitude.” (Ephesians 6:2, footnote 1) From this note, we can see that not only should we obey our parents, we need to honor them in our attitude. In fact, if you check with your experience, you will realize that its possible to obey our parents without honoring them. This is wrong.
Point #3: We must have a proper regard for the importance of authority and learn the lesson of submission. For this, please look at the example of Noah and his three sons in Genesis 9. It is too easy for us to not submit to those in authority, like our parents, who have been placed over us. It is too easy for us to notice their mistakes and use them as an excuse to disobey and dishonor them. This is the seed of rebellion that is in man.
Point #4: You should have a proper appreciation of the first three points before reading this last point. The final point is that obedience is not absolute. In some matters, we cannot obey our parents. Our parents may be wrong. For example, our parents may tell us that we cannot believe in the Lord Jesus. We cannot obey this. However, submission is always absolute; it has to do with “honoring.” While we may not be able to obey our parents concerning a certain matter, we cannot have an attitude of rebellion. We must remain submissive and respectful; this is a matter of our attitude. Chapter 11 of Watchman Nee’s book, “Authority and Submission” is very helpful on this point.
Why does the Bible condone slavery in Ephesians 6?
A very good question; thanks for asking!
The Bible does not condone slavery. “God was utterly opposed to such a social system, for it was altogether contrary to the place of man in His creation. Paul certainly did not approve of this evil social system. But instead of trying to reform it, he charged the slaves to behave well in it, to live in it according to the standard of the humanity of the Lord Jesus. However, as a teacher appointed by God and as one with spiritual insight, he did not touch the existing social system. If he had done so, he would have given others the impression that he was a social reformer and not a teacher of Godï¿½s economy, a herald of the good news. Paul did not involve himself with reformation of the social system. On the contrary, he gave instructions to slaves concerning the need to behave according to the highest standard of human character. The slaves were to have an excellent testimony of the life of Jesus in their human living.” (Life-study of Titus, msg 4)
Perhaps some may feel that they are slaves in their jobs, and that their bosses are their masters. How should one live in such a situation? They should live out the divine life of Christ.
“If Paul had advocated the annulment of the system of slavery, he would have been regarded as a social reformer by those who read his Epistles. That would have obscured Paulï¿½s teaching concerning the living out of Christï¿½s divine life in our human living in the midst of any kind of social system. In order to guarantee that the light would shine without hindrance, Paul did not say a word about the social system in the way of correcting it or reforming it.” (Ibid)
In order to understand Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, we also need to know his other epistles. A general principle in understand the Bible is to study the specific verses in context with the entire Bible otherwise it is easy for us to take things out of context. Therefore, it would be helpful to read Paul’s epistle to Philemon, an elder in the church in Colossae and yet the master of Onesimus, his slave. Also, the Life-study of Titus, message 4 is very good to give us God’s view of slavery and yet what our reaction should be.
My friend is doubting the bible. He asks me, “Why are you a Christian?” I answer, “Because I have faith in God, and I want to be one with his image.” He then asks me, “How do
you know God’s will is right.” I say, “Because the bible tells me so, and i have faith in the bible.” But then he goes on, saying “How do you know the bible is right? Can you prove it without mentioning faith or the bible? Like actual science is proven, whether people like it or not.Christianity is just a belief, you can’t actually prove that there is a God just by using faith. You can have faith in anything but not be able to prove it.”
I want my friend to understand the Bible and the Lord, but how do I convince him?
Below are some answers submitted by serving ones and young people:
Answer #1. I was just looking through the Irvine YP website and I saw a question that one of the YP had when he/she preached the gospel to the friend. I think I have an answer for him/her. I was reading in a passage in the Life-study of Romans, and there was an example of Einstein that Brother Lee gave. Einstein had this one interview that asked him if he believed in God. Einstein answered by saying that he was insulted by that particular question and said that any scientists, like him, will definitely believe in God. This is sort of what the passage was saying. But there’s a passage in the life-studies. So I guess you can show the yp where to find it, I guess. So yeah…I just thought it would be a helpful fact for the brother/sister to know. [Note: the Life Study referred to is Life Study of Romans # 3 under the sub-heading “Knowing God by His Creation”. Click here to view the section.]
Answer #2. First, unbelievers are “dead in offenses and sins.” This means their spirit where the act of believing occurs is dormant and inactive. They are also “blinded by the god of this age (Satan)” and a thick veil is upon their faces. So, they cannot perceive the eternal things related to God; they are foreign to them. To make it worse, the minds and philosophies of this day and age are anti-God. So, it is normal for your friends to react like what you described.
On our part as their friends, I would recommend to pray that the Lord may remove the veil from our friends and bind the strong man (Satan, the god of this age). Then, positively they need to hear the gospel. Gospel is a good news concerning Christ who became a man like us so that He could shed His blood for our sins and resurrected to enter into us as the Spirit to save us to the uttermost. When they hear about their sinful condition, they are convicted and exposed. When they hear about the wonderful person Christ and His work, the faith is generated in their being. None of us had a faith by birth, at one point of our life, we heard the gospel. We appreciated Him, thanked Him for His love and realized that we needed Him. So, we cry out to Him to be our Savior. At that moment, He entered into us and He Himself became a believing ability within us. Then we had a faith in God.
I would encourage to pray for your friends. When you pray, tell the Lord what exactly you want Him to do in your friends. Usually, argument doesn’t help that much. Rather, invite him to the gospel meeting we are planning to have in this May. Somebody else will speak the gospel to your friends for you.
Answer #3: Only God knows the heart and decides who is saved or not. The Bible says that everyone who believes into Him has eternal life and will not perish (John 3:16).
Whether one believes or not is not something we can see or know. There are many in Catholicism who believe and will be saved. In Revelation 2, in the Epistle to the church in Thyatira, which refers to the Catholic Church, there is a call to the overcomers. This implies that there are some faithful
ones in Thyatira. We cannot know whether the pope was one of them or not. Even one so spiritual as Madam Guyon in the 1600 or 1700’s was so spiritual and one with the Lord, but was in Catholicism. Amen.
Wow. to have something like this when I was growing up would have been incredibly helpful for me. But then again, they would all probably know it was me who was asking all the questions. This is awesome. Thank you Lord for open yp and faithful serving ones!