The Christian home is beset on all sides by enemies. In many places, the enemies are in the gates and that is why Christian homes are in just as much disarray as unbelieving homes. This condition has come about largely because many Christians have failed to view their family covenantally. In other words, we’ve adopted the individualism of the modern age. This ingrown individualism convinces you to be the consumer of everything; from what sort of car you’ll drive to what gender you will be and the accompanying preferred pronouns. Many Christians have unreflectively allowed their homes to drift along in this riptide of hyper-individualism. It is only when they finally look out the window and realize they have drifted so far from the mainland that they start to wonder, “How’d we get here?”
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
We have presented to us, in that glorious prose of the Apostle Paul, what might be called the “Inescapability of Fatherhood.” It has been pointed out by others that Paul is using a play on words here that doesn’t come through in our English translations. The Father (patera) is the One from whom the whole family (patria) is named. A family bears its father’s name, and all families of the earth derive their name from the Father of our Lord Jesus. This “pun” is a deliberate rhetorical tactic.
It is God’s Fatherhood which forms the basis for how we enemies of God might be brought in to enjoy all the riches of His glory, enjoying the expansive love of God through His Son Jesus. In other words, integral to the Gospel is that you have not only been justified freely by grace (Eph. 2:8-10), but you are adopted into God’s household (Eph 2:19-22), and the love God has for His Son is also directed towards you (3:14-19). You can’t have family without father, and there is no fatherhood without the Father.
The Home as a Weapon
This means that the home is not a mere accident of sociology. I am indebted to other theologians for this point––namely Peter Leithart’s fantastic book A House for My Name––but the story of the Old Testament is that God build a garden sanctuary for Adam and Eve to dwell in. They wrecked that glorious home and brought the whole world down with them. From then on, God set out to build a house in which mankind might once more fellowship with God Almighty. The patriarchs, Moses, David & Solomon, and the prophets were all laborers on the scaffolding. God used them to build a house for the worship of His name. Christ came to take up residence in the house which the Father had built. We’re told this explicitly in Hebrews 3:1-6.
Our families derive their name from the Father, and our homes should be a reflection of the home which God has built. We are God’s house. Our households must take their cues for how to be run from how God runs his house. This means that a certain order and hierarchy will be necessary. To return to Ephesians, we see how the theology of our salvation through Christ (chapters 1-3), informs and shapes how we are to live practically (chapters 4-6). God is our Father, and as members of His house we are to live in a certain ordered way in our varied relationships.
Order is Not Our Enemy
This is where modern egalitarianism and feminism most vibrantly comes strutting into view to make fun of outmoded Biblical views of the family. Family is “whatever” you feel like it should be, and with whoever you want it to be with. You by yourself with ten fur-babies qualifies as a family these days. How dare we try to define family in such a narrow and intolerant way. In our forlorn days, husbands who lead their wives by Christlike strength, courage, and diligence (Eph. 5:25-33), wives who submit to their own husbands with all meekness and quietness of Spirit (Eph. 5:33; 1 Pt. 3:1-3) fathers who train their children in the way they should go (Eph 6:4), mothers who are into their children (Tit. 2:3), and children who obey their parents in the Lord (Eph. 6:1-3) pose a lethal threat to the totalitarians.
The secularists want the only transcendent entity to be the State. It has put the State as the final word on all things through the sleight of hand of telling us this is all for our health and safety. It is striking that on one hand we are inundated with a message of individualism, while simultaneously trapped in a collectivist gulag. But we confess that God is above, we are below, and all authority derives its power from Him, the only Transcendent One. This means we must order our homes according to His Word, not according to how our Statist overlords, or the entertainment/propaganda industry tell us. Again, notice how in Paul’s epistles in particular the soaring theology always lands in the particulars of household duties (husbands to wives, wives to husbands, masters and servants, citizens to magistrates).
The Gospel for Generations
This is why it is vital for faithful Christians, regardless of their stance on infant baptism, to think covenantally about their children, and their children’s children. Viewing the world covenantally is of vital importance in combatting the twin evils of libertarian individualism and Statist collectivism. As my friend Toby recently tweeted: “I’m an individualist over against collectivism, but I am covenantal over against libertarianism.” Children in Christian homes are the fruit of a covenant; that covenant, made in God’s sight has the capacity to produce tens of thousands of faithful individuals within 4-5 generations if you raise your children to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
This means turning away from all the individualism which sets out to entice husbands, wives, parents, and children. We have turned away from the household towards all manner of distractions, many of which are not sinful in any way other than they have taken us away from our primary obligations.
Why do men work hard? It is so they can assure their wife that her closet and cupboards will be full of his love. But if a man’s workaholic tendency hollows out his schedule so that he is not present to be a presence of love and joy in his home to his wife and children, his work is largely in vain. The cupboards may be full, but not of love. Don’t set out to gain the world only to lose your soul and the souls of your children.
Feminism has convinced a generation of women that corporations and paychecks as large as their male counterparts will gratify and bring fulfillment. It is no wonder that so many women must medicate with wine-nights, antidepressants, and the lies of “self-love” as they grieve their barrenness. Many modern women aborted their offspring in order to pursue a career of serving a corporation who will toss them aside without blinking twice, instead of investing in a herd of children whose souls are eternal.
In other words, are you leaving a godly heritage to your great-grandchildren? That is how we will win. They want us living in isolated cells, with the strongest bond of loyalty being the relationship formed between you and the government through their monthly welfare check. The men who hate God are setting out to reset the world, remake the world in their hideous image. South Africa recently learned how much of a bully these tyrants are. South Africa discovered the Omicron variant, and like an eager student, reported its findings to the rest of the class; for its reward, the Globalists stuffed South Africa in the locker. They want the world to conform to their narrative, to their program for mankind. Christians must resist the devil, and that means coming into conflict with the accepted narrative. That narrative is that you as an individual might live in autonomy, so long as it stays within the clearly defined lines of their godless ideology.
The Gospel offers a different bond. It offers a new family in Christ. In Christ’s family, the church, there are instructions which if obeyed will cause our earthly families flourish and build while rejoicing in the Lord together. Christ died, Christ rose, Christ ascended so that you can be saved from your sins and set about to do the good works He’s prepared for you. Those good works begin with those right in front of you. Love your wife. Honor your husband. Raise more than 1.9 kids to walk in the fear of the Lord. Worship the Lord with faithful saints every Lord’s day, and don’t let tyrants tell you that you may not do so. This Gospel is feared by the secularists, because it topples the god of individualistic autonomy, and breaks open the doors of the collectivist cage they want us to live in.
This Gospel which we have received by the Apostles’ doctrine is that God is our Father because Christ our brother died for us, and by His Spirit we are made into a new humanity, a new family, so that we as individuals and as families might enjoy fellowship with the triune God.