And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (Tables of Duties, Parents: Ephesians 6:4)
In the name + of Jesus. Saint Paul charges fathers to “bring them up” in such a way that their children are nurtured, pruned, and allowed to flourish in the “training and admonition of the Lord.” In short, God lays the burden of fatherhood upon men to curb their sinful desires, reveal their need for a Savior, and instruct them in the God-pleasing way they should live.
Similarly, in the Large Catechism, Martin Luther writes about the blessing of fatherhood noting, “To this estate of fatherhood and motherhood God has given the special distinction above all estates that are beneath it that He not simply commands us to love our parents, but to honor them” in “modesty, humility, and deference as to a majesty there hidden,” because it is through parents that God “nourishes, protects, and defends us, and bestows so much good on body and soul.” Therefore, no matter how, “lowly, poor, frail, and odd they may be, nevertheless they are father and mother given them by God. They are not to be deprived of their honor because of their conduct or their failings.
In fatherhood, then, we see how God burdens and blesses men at the same time. God doesn't allow a father to live for himself, he lives by faith in Christ and through love for his neighbor, otherwise he isn't living or loving in a God-pleasing way. He is only a father to gain some benefit from it, to serve himself. But, through faith a Christian father is turned away from looking to himself for daily bread. He is turned instead toward Christ Jesus and his children: his God and his neighbor. Turned away from himself to Christ by faith and toward his neighbor through love, the old Adam is killed and the new man is raised up by the Holy Spirit in his place.
In this way we are imitators of Christ by faith, living not for ourselves, but for God, the Father and our neighbor, for the honor and glory of His holy Name. Amen.
Our Father, by whose name All fatherhood is known, Who dost in love proclaim Each family Thine own, Bless Thou all parents, guarding well, With constant love as sentinel, The homes in which Thy people dwell. (LSB 863:1)
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