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by Calvin Loh

(A Devotional Article on the Headship of Christ in the Family)

INTRODUCTION 

Four years ago when we were just married, Chin Ping and I bought a nice family-tree picture frame with three slots for family photographs. And right in the middle of these slots were the following words written prominently in the middle, “Christ is the Head of this House.”  

Originally, we had wanted to put our wedding photo on it, together with the photos of our children in time to come. But unfortunately, both of us were later so caught up with our work and family commitments that we soon clean forgot about it. Today, if you visit my family, you will see that the picture frame still stands prominently on our Hi-Fi speaker in the living room, but it’s still empty, largely neglected, and the words “Christ is the Head of this House” are covered with a thin layer of dust. 

Now, to some extent, does this not remind us of the spiritual state within many Christian families today, including ours as well? After hanging up a wooden plaque with the following words “Christ is the Head of our Home” inscribed on it, we get so caught with the affairs of life that Christ is often ignored or forgotten in our homes. And when we do remember Him once in a while, we don’t really understand what it means for Him to be the Head of our house in practical terms.   

CHRIST’S AUTHORITY OVER THE CHURCH AND THE HOME 

Now, in order for us to answer this question, it is important for us to understand, first of all, the nature of Christ’s authority over the Church as Her Supreme Head.  

Unlike some secular head of states who are nothing more than a figurehead in their respectively countries e.g. the Queen of England, the Scripture tells us plainly that Christ is not merely an Advisor whom the Church turns to for advise without feeling obligated to obey wholehearted, neither is He sitting passively by the wayside while the ministers decide the affairs of the Church on their own.  

Christ IS the Head over the Church, not only as Her originating Head (cf. Col 1:18), but also as Her legislative Head, meaning to say that He actually rules the Church through His ministers, and expects Her to submit under the authority and demands of His Word (cf. Eph 5:24). 

Now, since the local Church is basically made up of various family units (and individuals as well), this naturally implies that Christ’s authority is also applicable to the Christian Family. While the husband is the immediate head of the house as we read in Ephesians 5, Christ is the Supreme Head who alone demands the absolute and cheerful obedience of the entire family. His will alone overrules every decision within the family. 

THE PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE DOCTRINE 

With this crucial understanding in mind, we can now talk about the important practical implications of the doctrine. Since space will not permit me to list them exhaustively, I will mention just two of them. 

The Family Must be Governed by His Word 

The first implication has to do with Obedience. In other words, while we may own Christ as the Supreme Head of our family, do we really obey Him at home? Does the Word of Christ govern every affair within the family, regardless of how insignificant it may be in our sight?  

As I ponder over these questions, one of the areas that immediately comes into my mind is the catechizing or religious instructions of our own children at home. Now, the Scripture makes it abundantly clear that the awesome responsibility of instructing our children in the ways of the Lord, through catechizing and by our own examples, rests squarely upon our shoulders as parents, period (cf. Deut 4:9-10, 6:4-7). It is crucial for us to understand that no matter how well equipped or trained our Sunday School teachers may be, they are only here to play a supportive role, and not to replace us.   

But if we, for one reason or another, disregard the laws of Christ by abrogating our God-given responsibility towards our children at home, then it is utterly meaningless for us to claim Him as the supreme Head in our home. 

The Family Must Seek the Lord through Prayer and the Word 

Besides catechizing our children, another important practical implication has to do with setting aside time regularly to seek the mind of Christ through prayer and the diligent study of the Word.  

Now, I suppose this should be obvious to many of us since a family who own Christ as its Supreme Head must be governed by His will, and there is no way whereby we can positively know His will except through sincere prayer and the diligent study of His written Word.  

But despite of this, how many Christian families today actually set aside time apart from their daily work or family commitments to seek Him through these means of grace? In times of peace, do we as parents set aside time regularly to draw close to Him, so that we may constantly attune ourselves spiritually to the mind of Christ? And in times of trouble, or when difficult decisions must be made, do we, as a family, come before Him to seek His guidance and will?  

If we do not seek the Lord regularly in our homes, how then can we claim to know His will for our families? Are we not in effect mocking God by actually doing our own will rather than the will of Christ in our homes? 

CONCLUSION 

Dear Brethren, be not like the soldiers who bowed their knee before the Lord in His final hours and cried ‘Hail, King of the Jews’, for they proclaimed his as a King with their mouths but sought to mock him with their crown of thorns.  

As His dear children, let us bow genuinely before the Lord as the Supreme Head of our homes, always striving to know and to obey His will for our families, for this is good and reasonable in His sight. Amen. 

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

November 19 & 26 - The End of the World

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10