The family grows from the marriage bond between husband and wife. No other relationship so engages our high calling to reflect the love of Christ: wives in their reverent submission and husbands in their self-sacrificial service (Eph. 5:22–25). Together, husband and wife should become best friends through their shared life in Christ (vv. 28–30). Or, if a Christian’s marriage partner is not a believer, then God’s child must live before his or her unconverted spouse in hopes of winning the sinner by witness of the beauty of holiness, chastity, and godly fear (1 Peter 3:1–4). When bearing the cross in marriage pierces our souls, we must remember that God designed marriage for more than our satisfaction. Marriage exists for the glory of God. A loving spouse is an image of God (Gen. 1:27).
Joined as lovers and co-laborers, husband and wife love their children, with the man bearing primary responsibility: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up,” that is, give them what they need to survive and thrive in body and mind (Eph. 6:4). This transcends the things of this world and embraces “the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (v. 4).
Christian parents act in union with Christ our Mediator, for as members of Him, they share in His anointing. Consequently, they should love their children as prophets under the great Prophet, speaking God’s Word to them with passion and love (Deut. 6:6–7). They must love their children as priests under the High Priest with tender mercy, daily intercession, and joint worship in home and church (Heb. 2:17–18; 4:14–16; 10:19–25; 13:15). They must also love their children as kings under the supreme King, guarding them against corrupting and predatory influences (John 10:12–14) and ruling them with discipline to train them in the way of peace (Isa. 9:6–7). Yet, they must remember that they themselves cannot save their children, for there is only one Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5–6), and the gospel sometimes divides a family like a sword (Matt. 10:34–36).
Fathers and mothers, is Jesus your Prophet, Priest, and King? Are you acting in Jesus’ name as prophets, priests, and kings in your home with perseverance, for His sake?