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18230
“The Fifth Commandment”
by Ian C. Kurylyk   
February 9th, 2013

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12).

The law is in two basic parts. “And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27). In the second part our relationship to God is tested through human relationships (how we live toward our neighbour). The first grouping of commandments is directly about our love to God. “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:39).

We will understand this better if we consider this fifth commandment closely. God’s laws are ultimately about honouring Him, but this involves giving honour to our parents as He commands. Paul instructed children to honour their parents with obedience. “Children obey your parents” (Ephesians 6:1a). Children disobeying parents involves a measure of disobedience toward God.

Through this program of God for the home He brings to light the great principle of authority. He is the one in whom is vested all authority as the Creator. But in His design for humanity, He has delegated a certain amount of His authority in accordance with His purposes. God has designated parents to be in authority over their children. This is not bullying. It is the plan of God for life on this earth. To challenge these authority figures who act as His deputies in their given spheres is to challenge Him.

God has planned the home and its functioning so there would be an earthly reflection of heaven and of Himself. He is both loving and authoritative. In fact in his offer of salvation both of these facts must be faced. Jesus Christ is the Lord and the Saviour. He calls for repentance from sin and rebellion against Him. His call is also unto trust in His loving provision of salvation provided by His death for our sins and by rising again. Those who respond in faith to this revelation come to know God personally as their heavenly Father. God knows that our homes will work best if parents are both loving and in the place of authority over their children. He also knows it gives a background against which we can understand something about Him.

A famous person once said that it takes a whole community to raise a child. If by this it is meant that we all have to learn to live in our society and interact with our neighbours, policemen, businessmen, health officials, and so on, there is a truth in it. But if the meaning is intended to diminish the very distinct place of parents and their unique authority in the lives of their children then it is a simple denial of God’s law.

The honour of father and mother is denoted by Paul as “the first commandment with promise” (Ephesians 6:2b) since it includes the words “that thy days may be long upon the land that the Lord thy God giveth thee”. Obedience to parents tends toward stability in the life. Parents are the best experts on matters of life for two reasons. They have experience, and they have the greatest interests in their children’s well being.

Rebellion breaks down the protective hedge of commandments in the name of liberty but leaves the individual vulnerable to evil. “Whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him” (Ecclesiastes 10:8b). Israel enjoyed stability in the land of Canaan as she heeded the examples set by her father’s (the patriarchs) of faith and obedience toward God. The world today is becoming a very unstable place as the truths of Bible Christianity are being left behind. The apostles’ teachings in the New Testament, concerning salvation through Jesus Christ and concerning God’s plan for this age cannot be forgotten without consequences.

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