“He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother is a son who brings shame and reproach.”
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
Paul's third argument introduces the gospel and the presence of the Kingdom in Jesus Christ. This is implied in the directive that children should obey their parents "in the Lord." The parallel command in Colossians tells children to obey parents "in everything." But this does not exhaust the meaning. This principle brings the obedience of children into the realm of specifically Christian duty, and it lays upon children the responsibility to obey their parents because of their own personal relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is the Lord as Creator who first established order in family and society. However, the Fall damaged and distorted the relationships in the family. But now in Christ the relationships in the family are redeemed and being restored.
There is a continuity of purpose and design between God's intended order with Adam & Eve and the new order which Christ brings; between the original creation and the new creation in Christ. Families have not been abolished. Men and women still marry and have children. And God's design for families is still the purpose and the standard.
What has changed relates to the damage done by the Fall. For the family life which God created at the beginning and pronounced to be ‘good’ was spoiled by human rebellion and selfishness. Relationships fell apart. Society was fractured. Love was twisted into lust, and authority into oppression. But now in the Lord, by his redeeming and reconciling work in Christ, God’s new society has begun.
All of our relationships are transformed precisely because they are “in the Lord.” They are redeemed from the ruin of self-centeredness, and empowered instead with Christ’s love and peace. Even obedience to parents is changed. It is no longer a grudging acquiescence to parental authority. Christian children learn to obey with gladness, ‘for this pleases the Lord’. Children who trust in Jesus remember the loving submission which Jesus himself gave as a boy to his parents. Now this same Jesus is their Lord and Savior, and the Creator of the new order, so they are anxious to do what pleases him.
This presupposes, of course, belief in and obedience to the principles that Paul teaches in Ephesians. Children also are called to faith in Christ. Children also are called to walk in a way worthy of the standards of Jesus. Children also are called to be filled with the Spirit. Children also are called to put off the old nature and put on the new nature in Christ.
And yes, it must be said: children first learn how to obey Jesus by the example set by their parents. This is why the family unit is so important in the kingdom of God.
In other words, a Christian family is a miniature "community of the King," with each member of the family individually and collectively called first into right relationship with God, and then into right relationship with each other.
This is God's design, and it is also his blessing. To deviate from this design is heartbreaking.