Sovereign Grace Baptist Church

Free Grace Media

Of Princeton, New Jersey


AuthorClay Curtis
TitleThe Law of Parents
Bible TextExodus 21:15, 17
Synopsis God puts special emphasis on honoring father and mother because God is the Father of his children. Christ, the last Adam, is the everlasting Father of his children. The mother typifies the church. Listen
Series Exodus 2016
Article Type Sermon Notes
PDF Format pdf
Word Format doc
Audio HI-FI Listen: The Law of Parents (32 kbps)
Audio CD Quality Listen: The Law of Parents (128 kbps)
Length 29 min.

Series: Exodus

Title: The Law of Parents

Text: Ex 21: 15, 17

Date: December 16, 2018

Place: SGBC, NJ


Exodus 21: 15: And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death…17: And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.


God has very strict laws concerning father and mother.  It is because God puts great honor on the father and mother.  The only other relationship honored like this is that of marriage between husband and wife.  Marriage between husband and wife is patterned after marriage between Christ and his bride, the church.  Therefore, because we see Christ glorified in the husbands rule of his wife in love and because we see the wife typifying the church’s submission to Christ, God puts special emphasis on the duties of husband and wife toward each other.


Likewise, God puts special emphasis on honoring father and mother because God is the Father of his children.  Christ, the last Adam, is the everlasting Father of his children.   The mother typifies the church.  It is through the church that our heavenly Father begets sons and daughters through the preaching of the gospel.


Galatians 4: 26: Jerusalem, which is above, is free, which is the mother of us all.


Isaiah 66: 7: Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. 8: Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. 9: Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God. 10: Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: 11: That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. 12: For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. 13: As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.


A few months ago, I preached a message on Proverbs 1: 8.  Later, I wrote an article on it.  In that passage, the spiritual application is that Christ our Father teaches his sons to honor him.  We honor him by not forsaking the gospel delivered to us by our mother, the church.  The law is the gospel.


Proverbs 1: 8: My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.


The true Church is not like the mother of harlots who teaches the great lie of will-works religion.  The mother of Christ’s children teaches only what Christ our Husband teaches us to preach.


Another reason this law of parents is important is because it applies to everyone that God puts in authority.  It does not only apply to mothers and fathers but to all the powers that be.  That includes pastors, civil leaders, policemen, etc. If I disobey anyone in authority then I disobey God my Father who put them in place. 


Romans 13: 1: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2: Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God:…


It is also important to notice that the law of father and mother is the first law with promise.


Exodus 20: 12: Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.


The land of Canaan was the land God gave Israel.  It typifies heaven, the land God gives his elect Israel who believe on Christ. 


Also, our text shows that there is a penalty for breaking this law—"And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death…And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.”  If any child has even thought about disobeying or dishonoring father or mother then we have broken the whole law of God.   If we have thought about dishonoring any power that be then we dishonor God who put them in authority.  Remember, God looks on the heart. 




When God gave the law here at Mt Sinai, we all had already broken the law in Adam.  Adam was the first created son of God our Father.  God the Father gave his son one law.


Genesis 2: 16:…Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.


When God gave that law to Adam he was saying—"Honour thy father that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”   But in the day you dishonor your father thou shalt surely be put to death.”  So when Adam dishonored God his Father, all Adam’s sons and daughters dishonored God our Father and became guilty and died spiritually.  God gave the law at Mt Sinai to show his spiritual Israel how greatly we broke God’s law in the garden in Adam.


Romans 5: 20: Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound.


Also, when God the law, he told fathers and mothers to teach their children what God had taught them right here at Horeb.  They were especially to teach them how they could not approach God without a mediator.  That is what I am doing now.


Deuteronomy 4: 9: Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; 10: Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children. 11: And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.


They could not come near to God in themselves because they were sinners and God is holy.  Mt Sinai trembled and quaked when they drew near, a type of God’s just and holy wrath toward guilty sinners who attempt to approach him outside of Christ.  They asked Moses to be mediator to speak to God on their behalf picturing a believer trusting Christ to be our Mediator.  Then God pictured the only way a sinner can approach God when he gave them an altar and told them to approach through the blood of a lamb.  It pictures faith in Christ.  Christ said, “No man cometh to the Father but by me” (Jn 14: 6).  Therefore, Moses instructed them all to teach their children these things.  Then the parents went home and taught their children to heed this instruction, that their days might be long on the land which the LORD God gave them and that they might not die.


So before we move on, be sure to understand that we have all broken this law, as well as the whole law of God.  (Ja 2: 10)  We broke the law in Adam before as yet the law was given at Mt Sinai.  God gave the law at Sinai to declare us guilty and shut our mouths from boasting that we have kept it (Rom 3: 19).  When we even think of disobeying father or mother, we break the law.  It is proof that we are born sinners.  We are born with an unholy heart because our nature is created of Adam’s corrupt seed.  We are born unrighteous in guilt before the law due to Adam’s transgression.  If left in that state, God will not and cannot accept us.  By nature we are rebellious, dishonorable sons and daughters and God is holy.  Therefore, God’s law demands that for God to be honored in the upholding of his law, we must all die under the wrath of God.




God the Father has one Son who, of himself, honored him.  Christ Jesus the Lord fulfilled this law, as well as the whole law, perfectly honoring God his Father.  The good news for God’s elect is that Christ did so as our Head.  Therefore, God declares that what Christ did all his elect did in him. 


The Son of God took flesh, made under the law that he might honor his Father, that his days might be long upon the land his Father gave him.  Also, God’s Son honored his Father “that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal 4:5).  Christ said “I delight to do thy will, O my God, thy law is within my heart” (Ps 40: 8).  Christ even obeyed unto the death of the cross  (Php 2: 8). 


That means the Son of God not only obeyed in precept but Christ also put himself in place of his guilty people by being made sin for us.  He paid the penalty that God’s elect sons and daughters owed.  Our text says, “he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death…and he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.”  Christ never cursed his Father nor would he.  But all the elect children of God did.  When the LORD laid on him the iniquity of all his people, in the eyes of the law, Christ became the one person guilty.  He became the one person responsible to pay by bearing the punishment the law demanded.  Oh, brethren, be sure to get this!  It was only by one offense that judgment came upon us to condemnation.  But the free gift is given because Christ bore many offenses.  How many?  He bore all the offenses of all the elect who ever lived from the beginning of time to the end of time.  That is a number only God knows!  But by bearing our offenses then by bearing the punishment the law demanded—eternal death—Christ justified all for whom he died so that the law has nothing else to say to us.


Romans 5: 15: And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.


Romans 8: 33: Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.





Remember, the law of parents has a promise.  God promised the child who honored his Father that he shall have long days upon the land which the LORD his God gives him.  Christ so honored God his Father that he raised him from the dead as the GodMan where he inherited eternal life at the Father’s right hand in that land God gave him.


Philippians 2: 9: Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:


Psalm 2: 6: Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.


Christ honored God his Father in perfection by loving his Father and his brethren unto the death of the cross.  He did so to declare his Father just and the Justifier of his people.  And he did so to justify his people.  The honor Christ gave his Father was the honor of perfect obedience in fulfilling all that the Father sent him to do.  Christ willingly bore the sin of his people so that when justice was poured out on him he was forsaken by God and left alone by all his people.  He willingly became the very least because he so greatly loved his Father and his brethren.  That is how the Son of God honored God the Father.   No sinner ever could, ever has and ever shall keep the law.  Christ alone did it!  He highly exalted his Father’s holy and righteous character. For this reason, God the Father “ALSO hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.”




Before any of us begins to think that we should take this law into our own hands and begin attempting to honor God the Father that we might earn heaven, let us remember, we were already guilty of breaking this law when God gave it.  As sinners, we cannot keep this law nor any other law.  God gave it to declare us guilty!  Besides that, God the Father is pleased with the honor his Son gave him and he is pleased with his Son alone!


So how do we perfectly establish this law in perfect righteousness?  There is but one way.  It is by honoring Christ the Son by turning from all our works for salvation and casting all our care upon him through God-given faith.


John 5: 22: For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 23: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. 24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.


All who honor the Son—by believing on God that sent him—honors the Son and honors the Father.   We believe on the Father who sent him simply by believing on Christ the Son.   Christ alone is our Righteousness, the perfection of the law, for all who believe on him.  Though we are accused of making the law vain by declaring this, it is not so.  Truth is it is only through faith in Christ that any sinner establishes the law. (Rom 3:31)


John 6: 28: Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.


All who honor the Father by honoring the Son have the promise that our days shall be long upon the land that God our Father freely gives to us for the sake of Christ.  How long?  All eternity.  Where is this land God our Father gives to us?  The new heavens and new earth.  (Rev 21: 1-3)


Furthermore, we honor the Son by never going back to the law for righteousness or holiness.  Be sure to remember, once we are given faith in Christ then we are no longer under the law.  (Rom 6: 14-15, 5:18; Gal 3: 25) 


Believers are not motivated in our hearts by legal constraints. (2 Cor 5: 14-15) The only constraint that motives us in the new heart is the constraint of Christ’s love for us.   It is because we thus judge (spiritually discern), that if Christ died for all, then all for whom he died really did die to the law on the cross.  (2 Cor 5: 14-15; Rom 7: 4, 6) 


And we spiritually discern that Christ died for all his people so that those given life should not henceforth live unto ourselves.  What does that mean?  We do not to look to ourselves; we do not look to our law-keeping nor any religious works; we do not attempt to come to God by any pretended goodness in us; nor do we live in immoral sin.  Now we discern that Christ took the law out of the way (establishing it in perfect righteousness for his people) that his regenerated people might now live unto him.  (Col 2: 14; Gal 2: 19; Rom 6: 10-11)  What does living unto God mean?  We look only to Christ for all.  We follow only Christ!  We learn how we are to walk in this earth by looking only to Christ.  Christ is All to his regenerate people. 


Also, it is the great sacrifice Christ made for us that constrains every true child of God to honor our earthly fathers and mothers.  We do so from the heart, not to be seen of men, but because Christ rules within.  Also, we desire to honor all who God has put in authority.  This is the effect of having Christ ruling our hearts by love.


Some may think it is a minor thing to disobey father and mother.  But it is not!   A regenerated child of God who professes faith in Christ knows this.  We know that everything we do in life either glorifies God or dishonors God.  As those who profess to be the servants of Christ, our chief desire in whatsoever we do is to honor Christ and to never bring reproach on him. 


But it is not law that constrains us.  It is Christ’s great love for us.   And though our love for him is not worthy to be compared to his love for us, we do love him.   It is love that makes us consider Christ in all that we do.  Christ is the believers rule of life.  Before doing anything questionable in our lives, we consider that others will see us, not because we want to be seen of men, but because we want to honor our heavenly Father, as well as honor our mother, the church, which is our brethren who are born of the same Spirit as we and believe the same gospel.  


I do not intend to preach every law that God gave to Moses at Mt Sinai.  But I want you to see that when we preach the law this is how we use the law lawfully.  (1 Tim 1: 5-11) First, we use the law to declare all guilty, incapable of establishing the law ourselves.  Two, we use the law to declare Christ alone established the law for his people and is the righteousness of all who believe on him.  Three, we then set forth the law with a view to Christ so that believers are constrained in our hearts by Christ’s great love for us so that we delight in the law in our inward man.  Were it not for our sin-nature bringing us into captivity, we would keep the whole law of God—not to be saved by our works but because Christ has already saved us by his.  (Rom 7: 22-25) 


The rule of law can never make a sinner live with the aim of honoring Christ our heavenly Father.  Only the rule of love does so.  This is why scripture declares that the law is not the rule of life for the believer.  We walk by the rule of faith which worketh by love. “The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith” (Gal 3: 11-12).  When the Galatian believers were being told that they must keep the law in order to mortify the lusts of their flesh, the apostle Paul said that if we do so Christ shall profit us nothing. (Gal 5: 2)  He told us that if we want to mortify the lusts of the flesh then “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”  As the flesh lusts against the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit keeps us from doing what the lusts of our flesh would otherwise make us to do. (Gal 5: 16-17) So believers are under the rule of “faith which worketh by love” (Gal 5: 6).  Paul said, “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God” (Gal 6:16).


By the faithfulness of Christ dwelling in each of his regenerated, believing children, the Spirit of God sheds forth the love of Christ in our hearts causing us to willingly live our lives to the honor of our everlasting Father and to the honor of our mother, the church, through whom we heard his gospel.  God our Father gets all the glory!