Biblical Masculinity-pt.1

What is expected of a man? This topic of masculinity seems to be an increasingly hot issue these days. Many people are identifying the reality that seems to be before us that men are not acting like men. Many from Christianity Today to Wall Street Journal to City Journal, are identifying the same thing-men are not acting like men. However, what they would expect from men is far different than what God expects of men. Those periodicals may want a man to conform to the expectations of women, but God’s expectation of men is infinitely more important. It has become apparent to me that men are confused. But that is not simply because of social repression, feminist agenda, educational disadvantages, or skin color. The reason men are confused, I am convinced, is because they do not understand the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ restores a man to his responsibilities in God’s kingdom. The gospel of Jesus Christ reconciles a man to the God and Father he is created to emulate and represent. The gospel of Jesus Christ instructs a man to be a son, in the truest sense of the word. And I would guess that these truths have not entered the minds of most of the people reading this.

The Gospel Creates Disciples:

Consider what God does when a person repents and believes in Jesus Christ.

  • The glory of God is restored

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:3–6, NASB95)

  • A hard heart is made soft –

““Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” (Ezekiel 36:25–27, NASB95)

  • Sins are forgiven

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight” (Ephesians 1:7–8, NASB95)

  • The Holy Spirit actually indwells the believer

“However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” (Romans 8:9, NASB95)

  • God the Father personally teaches us

““They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”” (Jeremiah 31:34, NASB95)

With all that happens in a person who follows Jesus Christ, why aren’t more families strong and glorifying to God? Why are more women than ever leaving their children and going to work? Why are more men refusing to lead, in the family and in the church? Why are children in the church seemingly disconnected and more a reflection of their favorite rock group instead of God? Is the problem the work of God? Is God to blame for all this? Certainly not! Further, I would not want to blame it on too little teaching on how to maintain a marriage, or how to parent successfully. There seems to be no end in programs and books asserting the fact that they have the answers that others seem to have missed. If there is anything that Paul teaches us in Ephesians 5-6 concerning the family, it is that the fruit, or lack of it, in the family is directly related to how you understand the gospel, which is intrinsically tied to God Himself.

To begin with, consider the typical gospel presentation. There is usually the comment that you are a sinner and that God punishes sin. That is true. However, at this point, the gospel presentation is skewed into a kind of “admission ticket” approach. “If you would (pray a prayer, sign this card, come to church, get baptized), then God will let you into His heaven.” Many times we equate belief with one, or more, of these events. We often attach faith in the event treating their act as commensurate with true faith. However, what eventually happens, is that person is immersed into a church or organization that continues this approach, calling upon that person to remember that event whenever difficulty or doubt arises. Consequently, the lives of professing believers is not at all what would indicate a kind of faith that is given by God and bears fruit (John 15:8). So, when a young man “trusts Jesus”, then grows up and gets married, he is ill-equipped to handle the responsibilities of leading a home toward godliness. So, the problem then becomes the gospel that we are calling people to believe.

Compare that scenario to what Jesus said:

  • Matthew 10:34-39

““Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. “For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”

  • Luke 9:23-26

“And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles taught the same thing, calling men and women to be disciples:

  • Ephesians 4:1

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,” 

  • Ephesians 4:20-24

“But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” 

  • Colossians 1:9-10

“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;” 

  • Philippians 1:27

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;”  

Thus, a true believer is better called a disciple. He is a follower, not a one-time-eventer, of Jesus Christ. His days are marked by learning and obeying the teaching from the Lord via His Word.

Discipleship Builds The Home:

In Ephesians 5-6, Paul demonstrates to us this reality. Marriage and home are the areas of life that are created by God to give Him glory specifically by each person taking care of their responsibilities which God has created, by the power of the Holy Spirit, who is given when one repents and believes in Jesus Christ. And the power of the Holy Spirit is given through a proper understanding of biblical truth. God sanctifies an individual by truth and truth alone (John 17:17). It is the Holy Spirit who is given as a promise from the New Covenant and, when given, will “cause” us to walk in God’s commandments and instructions (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:25-27; cf. Luke 22:20). Thus, a man can face God on judgment day with full confidence that, by God’s work in him, he has done all that his master expected of him (Luke 17:7-10; Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

So, men, from the beginning, you need to get the gospel straight. If you have never considered the demands of Jesus Christ upon yourself, and have never subjected your will to His, and have never hated your own life in light of His glory, you, then, have never followed Jesus Christ. Start there. Once that issue is settled, we can move forward in this issue of masculinity.

Over the next few posts, we will be learning from the Apostle Paul what it means for a man to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.