A physical human being deserves no honour. Physical humans are destined to perish at some point, regardless of longevity, as designed to survive only for some duration. The degradation of the human body was designed to revert to the soil, from where it came. This is different from a person created in God’s image. Hence, Jesus manifested the degradation of the physical body on the cross.
There is a Scripture, clarifying this point, instructing young children to honour their parents, without forgetting this reality. Paul wrote to the Ephesians about the most important application that would keep young people focused on survival. Failure to apply the principle would shorten their lives. It is essential, therefore, to analyze the Scripture in question, to appreciate its applicability.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3 NIV).
There can be no doubt that this is one of the favourite Scriptures, for parents, when attempting to deal with their children. But there is a vital phrase, in the area of obeying, that the children are expected not to overlook. The author included the phrase: “in the Lord.” What does that mean, for children who desire to obey parents, according to Paul’s instructions?
Paul implies that the aspect of obeying parents included the need to be in agreement with the Lord’s teaching. For instance, a child cannot randomly obey the instruction of a parent who sends him/her to steal. She also cannot obey her parents when instructing her to commit adultery. The child would be expected to evaluate instruction from the parents, whether agreeable with the Lord’s teachings or not.
That passage reveals that the child would be freer in the Lord than in the parents concerned. The child goes out of his way to obey the parent, as long as the parent’s instruction would be in agreement with the Lord’s instruction. Parents are accorded positions of authority, only as they apply Godly information.
This datum is as important as freeing children from parental abuse. This is also as relevant as applicable to the administration of human societies. Authoritarian instructions are relevant, only when agreeing with the Lord’s Word.
We leave in a world where juniors are conduits of committing crimes, on behalf of those in authority. In government, for instance, one takes instructions to kill innocent people. The junior goes with a straight face to commit such evil, knowing that the instruction would be wrong.
The person commits the crime, but feels innocent, as obeying the superior’s instructions. The pretext used would be that one is expected to obey instructions from superiors. That junior employee would be subscribing to being “loyal” and “obedient” to those in authority. After all, there are Scriptures that are often wrongly used, to justify such nefarious activities.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience” (Romans 13:1-5 NIV).
Indeed, if Christians are known to be favoured by oppressive governments, the above scriptural reference would be at play. Christian leaders simply quote this Scripture, and then everyone is whipped into line. However, all authority belongs to the Lord. Christians are expected to submit to lawful instructions but are aware that the ultimate authority is not with human leaders.
There are very few Christian leaders, with spines, to stand up for the Lord. The majority of them take comfort in the above Scripture, incapacitating them from opposing evil. Putting trust and obedience to anything that is physical is tantamount to idolatry. One of the Ten Commandments is not to have other gods, before the living God, who is Spiritual.