RELATIONSHIP RULES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Colossians 3:18-22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.
Verses twelve through fourteen, that precede the lesson text of this chapter of Colossians, tells Christians, as the elect of God, the characteristics that they should put on - the things others should see in their conduct that exemplifies godliness. This is contrasted to the sinful acts of conduct that are to be put off; not to be displayed in the lives of His children,which Paul told them about in verses five through nine. The Christian characteristics that we "wear" are to be exhibited in the things we say and do - in word or deed ...in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him (Vs. 17). This is a general commandment from God that includes the total conduct of one's life - everything whatsoever ye do.
Within this general law of Christian conduct can be found specific commandments of God. In the lesson text Paul tells us the rules and responsibilities within certain "household" relationships that God expects of His children. Paul, in his epistle to the church at Ephesus, teaches this same lesson, in even greater detail (See Eph. 5:22 through 6:9). To the Colossians, Paul wrote, wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. He adds, in his letter to the Ephesians, that the husband and wife relationship is to be like that of the church to Christ - as Christ is the head of the church; and...Savior of the body, so the husband is to be the same to his wife.
Husbands, love your wives (the Ephesians' letter adds) even as Christ also loved the church.The marriage relationship is to be one of respect and sanctity; pure and free from sin and strife. The wife is to be adored by the husband just as Christ loves His church. The rule of God says that the marriage relationship it is to be made up of a submissive wife and an adoring husband. Some speculate that God requires the subjection of the wife in the marriage relationship because Adam was first formed and followed by the creation of Eve. Others indicate it is so because woman was created from man (from Adam's rib, Eve was created). Still others believe it is because Eve was first to transgress the commandments of God. The debate may continue, but the rules and responsibilities of the marriage relationship were established by God, and will never change. Make your own observations. Look around! You will see beautiful marriage relationships that are founded on this commandment of God. Without exception, the marriage that fails lacks either a submissive wife, an adoring husband, or a marriage in which both may be lacking.
In the child/parent relationship, it is God's will that children obey their parents, and parents are to lead and instruct their children, with a kindness and gentleness, that will not provoke anger, and cause them to become discouraged and rebellious. As Paul told the church at Ephesus, children are to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Harsh and oppressive parents, that have bad tempers, and are verbally and physically abusive, are often a discouragement and a hindrance to a child's physical and spiritual development. Tender love, and godly parental examples, teach children lessons that will remain with them throughout their lifetime. This responsibility is a rule of God that all parents should obey.
Especially during the time of Paul's writing, and even under some societies today, a servant/master relationship exists. Both are obligated with the godly responsibility of love and respect for each other. In carrying out their individual responsibilities, both are to do so in fear of God's retribution, for improperly discharging their duties, to both God, and to each other. There is a right way and a wrong way for a servant to labor for their master. Servants are not to be pleasing and obedient in the eyes of their master only when he is present, but they are to be just as diligent in his absence. Duties are to be carried out with singleness of purpose - to obey the will of their earthly master just as if they were laboring for their heavenly Master.
Through the apostle Paul, God has laid out our relationship rules and responsibilities. Obey His will!