Heidelberg Catechism Meditations (366)

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September 26 - LD 39, Day 3: Obedience in the Lord

Tuesday the 26th of September

in Heidelberg Catechism Meditations

Ephesians 6:1: Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Our obedience to the fifth commandment is obedience in the Lord. That is why this fifth commandment is expounded by the Catechism in the section on Thankfulness. Christ holds forth the law now for us who are His! That is how we stand before the law. The law no longer provokes us. The law no longer irritates us with its “impossible” demands. Christ holds forth the law, saying to us, “You are mine.” He has redeemed us from the disobedience to authority that brought down the first man — disobedience to God’s authority, the authority of His Word. He has not only delivered us from the punishment of our guilt; but by the empowering work of His Holy Spirit, He has called us efficaciously to a life of thankfulness. That we learn obedience, that we again acknowledge God’s sovereignty, that we submit to His authority, is Christ’s redeeming work in us. That is due obedience.

It is God’s will that we, who by nature are quite rebellious, learn the sacred act of honoring authority in the family. The foundation is laid in the home with father and mother. What goes on in our homes is of utmost importance. Even though the focus falls upon the calling of the child, parents also are given by God a tremendous calling. Parents must exercise godly authority that requires the honour and obedience of their children. Parents must also teach their children by their own word and example — proper honour toward all authority. In the family, we stand at the source of all the other relationships in church, state, school and society. How the parent (and the father bears the greatest responsibility for this) teaches the child in this matter will have a profound and usually lasting influence on the attitude the child takes with respect to the fifth commandment.

When you as a parent require honour and obedience for God’s sake, the child will not forget it. When you hold in esteem your children’s teachers, the office bearers of the Church, and the magistrate, you teach your children to honour those in authority. This is necessary — for the honour and glory of the God Who has saved us.


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