Fathers and Sons (Part 2)

In our first study about fathers and sons, we saw that God has called on fathers to discipline and correct their children in the same way our Heavenly Father disciplines and corrects us. God Created men in His image and likeness, so we need to look to God to understand our purpose in the family, the Church, and the world.

God “formed” men from the earth to “form” things from the earth. Men are formers, leaders, providers, and protectors in the home. Our wives look to us to accomplish those things in the lives of our children. The result of doing that? “A wise son makes a glad father.” (Proverbs 10:1) The result of not doing that? “A foolish son is a grief to his father.” (Proverbs 17:25) “A foolish son is the ruin of his father.” (Proverbs 19:13) How does a son become wise? “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction.” (Proverbs 13:1) The Hebrew word here translated “instruction” is the same word from Proverbs 1:8 – musar – meaning “discipline” and “correction.”

The Apostle Paul wrote often about the importance of the father’s role in the family. In Ephesians, before telling men about their role as father, Paul told them to love their children’s mother – “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) I heard someone say many years ago that the best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. How true! Men loving their wives is one of the highest human examples of how God loves His people. What’s the purpose of that kind of love?

“… that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. ” Ephesians 5:26-28

Notice three things Christ’s Love accomplishes for the Church: sanctify, cleanse, present. The Greek words – hagiase, katharisas, paristemi – mean “set apart for holy service,” “free from impurity, spotless, without blemish,” “to set beside.” How does this happen? “… with the washing of water by the word.” “Washing” is loutron and speaks to the effect the Word of God has on the activities and behavior of a believer. It is through that process the Lord presents His Church as glorious, “not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Jesus wants men to do the same thing for their wife – “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.” Men loving their wives is part of fathers training their sons to become men of God.

Important note: The work of disciplining and correcting children has the potential of becoming unbalanced. Look at what Paul wrote fathers about this in his letters to the Ephesians and Colossians.

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

“Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Colossians 3:21

The word “provoke” in Ephesians 6 is parorgizete and means “arouse to wrath anger, exasperation.” The word in Colossians 3 is erethizete and means “stir up” in a negative sense. How does a father do that? How does a father arouse or stir up a child to become so angry that they become intensely irritated, infuriated and annoyed?

Fathers – what is in your heart when you discipline and correct your children? Are you angry, irritated, infuriated, frustrated, annoyed? Or are you filled with love for your child and want only the best for them – knowing that the best thing you can do for your child at that moment is to discipline and correct them? Children will respond to their fathers in the same way their fathers discipline and correct them. Children are sensitive to emotions behind actions. They can see in your eyes and body language and hear in your words (or lack of them) and the tone of your voice what emotions are driving you to discipline them.

Discipline and correction are when men can teach their children so much about God’s love. God teaches us in many different ways – including discipline and correction. Does God love us less when He disciplines us? when He corrects us? Of course not. God’s Love is always perfectly balanced. That balance is an important lesson for human fathers as well. Children need discipline and correction to learn how to deal effectively with the many challenges of life. Fathers discipline best from a position of love and compassion – just like our Heavenly Father.

In the next part of our study, we will look at the important role fathers have in the Church.

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

Mark McGee

GraceLife Ministries

“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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Fathers and Sons (Part 1)

In our previous study about Mothers and Daughters, we learned that God Created man in His Image for the purpose of having dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, over the cattle in the field, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. God Created man as male and female, blessed them and told them to be fruitful, fill the earth, subdue it, and have dominion over every living thing that moves on the earth (Genesis 1:26-28). Even though the first man and woman sinned against God, their mandate never changed.

The greatest example of a father is God the Father and the greatest example of a son is God the Son. Isn’t that an amazing thing? God Created humans in His Image and Likeness and introduced us to the eternal relationship the Father has with the Son through human fathers and sons. God the Father has great joy in His Son. Do you remember what God the Father said to Jesus Christ when He came up out of the waters of baptism? “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11) God the Father is well pleased (eudokesa – “delight, good pleasure”) with God the Son. God the Father has Dominion over all things and shares it with His Son Who pleases Him. That is a relationship the Son has always had with His Father. It is the highest example we have for a father and son relationship.

“I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17:4-5

God calls on fathers to have dominion in their family relationships. Fathers have that dominion (rule) through the process of mastering (subduing) the positions God gives them through knowledge, understanding and skill. God does not ask men to “bully” their families through intimidation. They are to master them through love, knowledge, wisdom, holiness, and spiritual power. A father is the man who loves his family with all his heart, protects them with all his strength, and guides them with all his mind and soul.

Being a father to sons is very special. God blessed us with two sons to raise and it was truly one of the greatest privileges in our lives. They are grown and married and building families of their own now and their continued friendship means the world to us.

This study is specifically about fathers and sons, so let me address some important things about being a father. Christian men are imperfect human beings. That means they will be imperfect fathers. However, the purpose of being a father has not changed just because of imperfection. God Created men in His Image, His Likeness, and Formed men to “form” things from the earth (Genesis 2:7-8). An important aspect of a man’s work on earth is to “form” children. Women “build” children because that’s what God built her to do (Genesis 2:22) and men do the “forming.”

King Solomon explained it well in Proverbs 1 —

“My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother; For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.” Proverbs 1:8-9

As we saw in our study about Mothers and Daughters, the Hebrew word for “instruction” (musar) means “discipline, correction.” The Hebrew word for “law” (torah) means “teachings, regulations.” Fathers discipline and correct their children, while mothers teach and regulate. Solomon wrote that the father’s discipline and correction and the mother’s teachings and regulations would be a “graceful ornament” on the heads of their children and “chains” about their necks. Ornaments on the head and chains around the necks of children are seen by others and are a sign of love, protection, order and purpose.

A father’s role in the household is connected to what our Heavenly Father does for us. The Bible teaches clearly and often that human father’s are to discipline their children even as God disciplines us.

“You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you. ‘Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.” Deuteronomy 8:5-6

“Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole.” Job 5:17-18

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor detest His correction; For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:11-12

“Chasten your son while there is hope, And do not set your heart on his destruction.” Proverbs 9:18

“A fool despises his father’s instruction, But he who receives correction is prudent.” Proverbs 15:5

“He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” Proverbs 13:24

“For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.” 1 Corinthians 11:31-32

“And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed bestto them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:5-11

Fathers discipline and correct their children. That is a powerful demonstration of their love for their children. A father who does not discipline and correct his children is not demonstrating love for his children. The best advice I can give fathers is to follow the example of our Heavenly Father. God Loves His children with a perfect love, therefore, everything He does with His children is an example of perfect – agape – love – including discipline and correction.

In the next part of our study, we will see that fathers need to be cautious as they discipline and correct their sons and daughters. Doing it incorrectly can cause serious problems.

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

Mark McGee

GraceLife Ministries

“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”