In Ephesians 6:1, Paul tells children to obey their parents. To rightly understand Paul's admonition to children, we must remember how Paul previously describes obedient living to the Ephesians. Here are two examples: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).
"Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:1-2).
The truths of these two verses must not be separated from what Paul writes in Ephesians 6:3. Otherwise, obedience becomes about performance and earning approval. Obedience is not about doing what I say or else. Obedience to parents must be rooted in love for God, offered to him as a fragrant offering. We are lovingly created in Christ Jesus for good works. Obedience given to parents must be seen as obedience to Christ. They cannot be separated.
So when Paul says in Ephesians 6:3, obey so that it will go well with you, he is not saying "follow this formula to success." Rather, Paul says that obedient works must be seen as a love offering to God. This is what children should be pursuing with all their hearts. There is nothing in the first five chapters of Ephesians that suggests that obedience is anything other than a gift we offer back to God. For this to happen, nothing short of the miracle of the gospel is needed.
[Read the rest of the article at Shepherd Press.]