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In the second half of Ephesians, Paul fleshes out the practical implications of the half. Note that it is not as if Paul had some important theological truths to share (ch. 1-3), followed by a laundry list of unrelated points to make about practical Christian living (ch. 4-6). Chapters 4-6 are deeply connected to 1-3, as the necessary implications of the preceding chapters. We live in a certain way because of how we have been saved.
Children and Parents v. 1-4
We are saved by being brought into a Father/Son relationship. And so, in our families, the relationship between parents and their children says something about what we believe our salvation to be like.
Children – The fifth commandment instructs children to honor their parents, and Paul explains that this is the first commandment to bring with it a special promise – long life in the land. It is worth noting that Paul represents the command to “honor” with a command to “obey.”
Parents – Parents are commanded to raise their children in the training and admonition of the Lord. Be very clear about this. God’s objective for our parenting is that we raise kids steeped in the Gospel, such that they grow up to love God. There are a world of tools that are available to you in reaching this objective (education styles, parenting methods, financial principles, etc). But the tendency of the sinful heart is to replace God’s objective with your own manmade objectives.
This is why Paul warns parents about the danger of provoking their children to wrath (Col. 3:21). The Christian home shouldn’t be exasperating.
Servants and Masters v. 5-9
Similarly, our salvation is described in terms of us having a new master. This means that how we act when service is owed is another declaration of our faith in the Gospel.
Paul recasts how we think about work. We are to imagine ourselves, not working for another man, but for Jesus Christ himself (Col. 3:22-4:1). How would you handle this job if Jesus were the boss? But Paul is saying something stronger than “as if ” Jesus were the boss. He is saying that Jesus actually is the boss that we are serving. This is really the essence of what it means to have a biblical worldview in your vocation. This is a principle that we are to use whether slave or free (v. 8). And it changes not just how we serve, but how we lead.