Posted by: The Simple Guy | September 26, 2010

Is there a pattern here?

A friend and I are studying through Colossians together.  Our church happens to be going through the same book.  My friend and I started this before the church did, but they are moving faster than we are.  Today, they caught up with us.  We studied this section last Tuesday, and it was the same one preached from today.

Col 3:18-25 ESV
(18)  Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
(19)  Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.
(20)  Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
(21)  Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
(22)  Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
(23)  Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
(24)  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
(25)  For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

Col 4:1 ESV
(1)  Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

My friend noticed a pattern last week between this passage and Eph 5 and 6.  Can you see it?

Eph 5:22-33 ESV
(22)  Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
(23)  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
(24)  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
(25)  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
(26)  that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
(27)  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
(28)  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
(29)  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,
(30)  because we are members of his body.
(31)  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
(32)  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
(33)  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Eph 6:1-9 ESV
(1)  Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
(2)  “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),
(3)  “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
(4)  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
(5)  Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,
(6)  not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,
(7)  rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man,
(8)  knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
(9)  Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

The pattern goes:

Wives to Husbands, Husbands to Wives.

Children to parents, Fathers to children

Slaves to Masters, Masters to Slaves.

My friend wondered aloud what the significance of the pattern is.  And the speaker wondered aloud the same thing this morning.

This has been in the back of my mind since Tuesday.  Today as the speaker asked about it, I had a thought.  Could this pattern be like spokes in a wheel?  Paul starts outside, and shows us in our relationships how we are to point to Christ.  First in the marriage relationship, each of us point to Christ in our obedience to God.  Then in the child / parent relationship he shows us the same thing.  And in the slave / master relationship he does it again.  Is it possible that with this pattern I can look at every relationship in my life and use it to point to Christ?  It all needs to culminate in Him.  He is like the hub on which everything turns in right relationships.

I’m beginning to think that every relationship is all about Christ.  Forgiveness is rooted in Him.  I forgive because He forgave me.  I love because He loved me.  I sacrifice because He sacrificed for me. Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church, we are just reflecting a spiritual truth in our physical lives.  Children learn about their Heavenly Father from their earthly fathers.  Servants are to serve as though they are serving Christ, and masters are to reflect the only one True Master in Heaven.  We give to the poor so they can meet the One Who is all they need.  Is there a healthy relationship that is not centered in Him?  Is there an unhealthy relationship that doesn’t find is cure in Him?  Reminds me of what Paul said in chapter 1:

Col 1:15-23 ESV
(15)  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
(16)  For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.
(17)  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
(18)  And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
(19)  For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
(20)  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
(21)  And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
(22)  he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
(23)  if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

I have heard the question posed about why Jesus doesn’t just take us straight to heaven when we are saved?  And the answer stated was that now the world gets to see Him through us.  Is it fair to say that this is the underlying purpose God has in mind for every relationship?  If so, am I fulfilling that purpose?  Are you?

Your thoughts?




  1. Craig,
    What you are saying seems to be summed up in the verse that declares: “for of Him, and throug Him, and to Him are all things.”
    It is as the Westminster Confession states as the answer to the question: “What is the chief end of man?”………”To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

  2. […] “" . . the main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things. None of us, in our short lives on this earth, will ever come to understand everything in the Bible fully, nor are any of us going to get everything absolutely right, but the key things are so simple that a child can understand them." A Squirrel in Babylon” ‹ Is there a pattern here? […]

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