Our relationships with God

I used the plural, relationships, in the title because God is a trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and Christians are related to each of these in a different way.  Ephesians 5:22 to 6:9 gives instructions regarding three kinds of human relationship which also serve as illustrations of our relationships with God.

The first is that between a husband and a wife.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Ephesians 5:22-33

Wives are to submit to their husbands in the same way the church submits to Christ.  Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church.   Since Christ died for the church this means they should be willing to give their lives for their wives.  The relationship between a husband and a wife is intended to show the relationship between Christ and the church.

(In the New Testament the church is called the bride of Christ.   In the Old Testament God refers to Israel as his wife.  Marriage is intended to be a picture of the relationship between God and those who follow him with the husband taking the role of God and the wife that of his worshippers.   It is impossible for two men or two women to portray this relationship.  That is why same sex marriage is wrong.)

The next set of instructions is to parents and children.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:1-4

Human fathers are commanded to instruct and discipline their children.  God is our father and he disciplines us when it is necessary.

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
Hebrews 12:5-10

The final set of instructions is for masters and servants.  Today we would call them employers and employees.

Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.

Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
Ephesians 6:5-9

After we are saved we are given work to do for God and it is the Holy Spirit who directs us in this work.

First he gives us the spiritual gifts we will need.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7

Then he assigns each of us the work in which we are to exercise that gift.

Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
Acts 13:1-3

Finally he guides us as we carry out this work.

And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.

So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Acts 16:6-10

The order of these instructions is significant.  We were once separated from God because of our sins.  Christ died to pay for our sins and we must first be forgiven by faith in him.  We are then born again and become children of God.  After that we can begin to serve God.

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Posted on July 21, 2012, in Bible study, practical lessons and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Our relationships with God.

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