Marriage

Pornography Attacked

Pornography Attacked

It has always been around, and will always be around. As long as there are people, there will be pornography. You might as well hold back the tide as to try and stop it. The production, sales, and dissemination of pornography have increased in recent years due to technical advancement and internet/social media. However, it is all the same. So, don’t be alarmed.

In this essay, I would like to:

  1. Define pornography.
  2. Explain pornography’s weaknesses.
  3. Give an explanation as to its resistance.

This phenomenon that draws men and women, like very few other lusts do, seemingly has taken over the world. The explanation defies the best psychologists. Their articles, which I don’t encourage anyone to read, are valueless, hopeless, and insubstantial. They will elevate such beastial behavior to a level of soft acceptance and will tell you that there is real satisfaction, need, for some level of sexual deviance, depending upon your line of right and wrong. Like I said: hopeless. 

Rather, if you take every psychological journal article written from the beginning of its existence as a discipline and compile them into one volume, the weight of that volume will not even compare to one word in the Bible. The Bible’s diagnoses and remedy for any sin, let alone pornography, is substantial, true, and always right.

What is pornography?

Pornography must be defined. Because, like all sins, the enemy of God knows that if you misdiagnose sin you will also misapply the cure. So, let’s begin by defining “pornography.” Here it is: “Pornography is any, ANY, sexual behavior outside of the recognized marriage between a man and a woman.” You read right. Here is a list:

  • Premarital sex-intimacy with another before marriage.
  • Lust-desiring intimacy with another who is not your spouse.
  • Adultery-the act of intimacy with another who is not your spouse.
  • Self-stimulation-obvious.
  • Images (artwork, music, or advertisement)-depiction of what entices another.
  • Nudity-any level of revealing a person’s body in public.
  • Beastiality
  • Molestation
  • Rape
  • Homosexuality
  • Lesbianism
  • Incest
  • Lastly, the mere thought of any of these things in our hearts with a desire to fulfill them.

Most people don’t realize that pornography is not pornography simply because a man says it is. What I might consider pornography my neighbor might consider normal and acceptable. Pornography is not subject to the “non-moral” category. Its classification is not relative. What defines pornography is objective, fixed, and unwavering.

Let’s look at this a little more closely. The nation of Israel, in the Old Testament, was familiar with pornography. How do I know?

Leviticus 18:3

3‘You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes.

Apparently, the items listed in Leviticus 18 were done in Egypt. Further, they were also done in Canaan, the land that Israel would inherit forever. That means that although there were no computers, printed pictures, or other means of disseminating it, pornography was alive and well in most of the known world. Obviously, the other nations not specified of here were not exempt.

Let’s look at this list:

  • Vv. 6-17 teaches Israel to reject any, and every, form of incest.
  • V. 18 teaches them to reject incestual polygamy as an aberration of marriage.
  • V. 19 teaches men in the congregation to refrain from sexual intercourse during his wife’s menstrual cycle.
  • V. 20 teaches Israel to reject adultery (which includes divorce-Deuteronomy 24).
  • V. 21 teaches against idolatry (and given the context one wonders if there is an underlying tone of sexual aberration in this ritual of giving to Molech-Leviticus 20:5).
  • V. 22 teaches against male homosexuality.
  • V. 23 teaches against Beastiality.

As you can see, the levels of pornography in the nations matches our own in our nation. In other words, had America been in the land God promised Israel, we would have been slated for destruction by God along with the Canaanites. What has been practiced there is normal for us in ways we don’t even realize. Repeatedly, God tells Moses in this chapter that these are perversions to the original order of creation and are abominable, defiling, and worthy of judgment. As I said, “Pornography is any, ANY, sexual behavior outside of the recognized marriage between a man and a woman.”

The history of Israel is one of perversion. From pre-Israel days with Lamach having two wives (Genesis 4:19), to Tamar acting like a prostitute and Judah committing immorality and perversion by hiring her (Genesis 38), to David and his son Solomon with untold amounts of wives and concubines (2 Samuel 13:5; 1 Kings 11-it should also be stated that having multiple concubines was also practiced by Abraham and other men of God in the Bible as well), Israel ended up behaving just like those nations! The alteration of the good, very good (Genesis 1:31), original design of one man with one woman for a lifetime, has been the norm for everyone.

All of this is to say, it is normal to engage in pornography. And, that is the problem. According to the long line of examples in the Old Testament, sexual deviation is normal, sexual devotion is not. The normalcy of perversion, however, does not normalize it in the sight of God who created the sexual relationship.

Let it be stated once more:  “Pornography is any, ANY, sexual behavior outside of the recognized marriage between a man and a woman.”

The Weakness of Pornography

The weakness of pornography is that it is incapable of holding itself against the truth of God. That is to say, if Jesus is right, then the truth of God does, in fact, strengthen the believer and weaken sin. Let me show you what I mean:

John 8:31–32

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;

and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Do you remember that I said that pornography is not “non-moral”? What I mean is that it is every bit as much unrighteous as murder, pride, drunkenness, or false religion. It is always included in the lists of unrighteousness in the New Testament. In fact, it often heads those lists (see Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Galatians 5:19). Perversions from the norm are what make up those lists and sexual deviation usually leads them all. That means that whenever you lust for a woman, in church or otherwise, when you look at the printed page of pornography, or click onto that favorite pornographic website, or even lust after the women in advertisements, then you are committing condemning sin.

However,

John 8:34–36

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.

“The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Therefore, the unrighteousness of pornography is attacked, assaulted, and arrested by the truth which Jesus preached. Either that, or Jesus is an incessant, cruel liar.

Jesus’ Word is the exclusive, exclusive, cure for pornography just as it is the exclusive cure for drunkenness, love of drugs, or any other form of aberration from God. His Word, alone, contains the power to regenerate a person to believe in Him, follow Him, and be freed from these things. And, I might add, Jesus’ words do not need the help of modern, or pre-modern psychologists, psychotherapists, self-help groups, accountability partners, or any other form of embellishment. His Word is “spirit and life” (John 6:63). His Word produces faith (Romans 10:17). His Word regenerates the soul:

1 Peter 1:22–25

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,

for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.

For,

“All flesh is like grass,

And all its glory like the flower of grass.

The grass withers,

And the flower falls off,

But the word of the Lord endures forever.”

And this is the word which was preached to you.

The weakness of pornography is this: it is utterly incapable of standing up against the Word of Christ.

Someone will ask, however, “I believe in the Word of Christ but I still commit lewd acts, or desire to. Does God’s Word not work like you say?” Remember, lewd acts are not simply aberrations on perversions. They are ANY perversion from the norm. Here are some things to understand:

  1. You possibly believed a false gospel.
    • It is possible that whatever you believed and considered yourself saved by was false, and thus powerless.
  2. You possibly did not truly believe.
    • This is not a question of sincerity, but of the origin of your faith. If your faith was not given from God (Ephesians 2:8-10), then it is from yourself and that does not regenerate (John 3:1ff.).
  3. You possibly, in your heart, don’t want to quit.
    • Be honest.
  4. You might be in a church that simply is not shepherding you well.
    • If you are not in a church that is ministering properly, teaching properly, being led properly, then you are not being taught HOW TO repent from these things and follow Christ (Matthew 28:18-20). You are very frustrated!

But, above all else, please don’t blame God for the way you are. God did not create the aberrations in you-they are who you are before you came to Christ. In fact, if Romans 6-7 is any indication, those desires are still in the flesh, your physical body, and they constantly work to enslave you all over again.

How To Resist Pornography

How can a person resist the temptation, inside and outside of themselves, for pornography?

First of all, repent of that sin and follow Jesus Christ. It is worthy of the wrath of the Lamb of God, the Lamb of God Who died in order to remove sins from His people so they will stand in righteousness forever. Imagine feeling the impulse to devalue a woman and simultaneously realizing that sin is not as strong as it used to be! Imagine the day when you don’t look on a woman to lust after her, to have her (Matthew 5:27-28), but rather to lead her, make her holy, and genuinely love her for her benefit and not your own. Imagine praising that godly woman and being glad for her beauty without being allured by the same. Imagine looking on with pity at the prostitute you used to know when she advances and instead you confront her concerning her perversion.

How can you get to such a place? Do you even want to? Let’s assume you want to. Let’s assume you want to mature and grow up to spiritual adulthood, that is to look and act like Christ.

Think about this: Jesus had an extensive ministry to women. He spoke alone to an immoral woman at a public well (John 4). He received the touch of a prostitute (Luke 7:36-50). He was admired by women wherever He went (Luke 11:27). He was financially supported by many women (Luke 8:1). And, many women looked upon Him near His cross (Luke 23:49). Never, never, was there ever a hint at perversion, in either direction. Why? “Because Jesus is God.” True, but wasn’t He tempted?

Hebrews 4:14–16

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

He experienced temptation somehow. He, apparently, knows what it is like to be tempted to sin (see Matthew 4:1-11). Being tempted is not the same as sinning. Him being tempted to sin does not mean that He wanted to sin. Rather, it demonstrates His impeccable nature in that He was committed to righteousness no matter the result.

And that is the only key to resisting the sin of pornography: pursue righteousness by faith. When you pursue Jesus Christ, His Word (John 8:30-31), you are pursuing righteousness. I will say it again, this is not simply sincere belief. This is not simply a sincere recollection of data. This is not simply thinking better thoughts. You know your thoughts are defiled. It is submitting yourself, to the death of yourself, to the teaching of Jesus Christ in order to obey it.

Romans 6:16–18

Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?

But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,

and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

This is not simply-“Don’t look at pornography!” Rather, this is practicing obedience to all His commands beginning with the source of all His teaching:

John 13:34

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

Submit to God, writes James, Jesus’ brother, and He will draw near to you:

James 4:7–10

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.

Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

You will never conquer unrighteousness by giving it a glance wondering how you are going to defeat it. You will only conquer sin by submitting to righteousness. Do what Jesus said to do. Pursue the obedience of faith. Be in a church that is actually a church with qualified leadership, preaching the Word clearly, minimized theatrics, seriousness placed on holiness, and who is striving to be faithful leading to growing holiness.

Don’t spend time in parachurch therapeutic clinics and seminars. They only serve to heighten the sin in your eyes by drawing continual attention to it. They cannot help you. God has ordained the simple preaching of the Word of Christ to be the power behind your obedience.

At the end of the day, you are not simply dealing with pornography, are you? Don’t you see pride in yourself, anger, love of money, coveting, faithlessness, etc…? Is the lust for others outside of marriage your only fault? Of course not!

Conclusion

In conclusion, all that I can say is follow Christ. His Word works in those who believe very, very effectively (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

Family 101–The Woman

The last post discussed, in generalities, the responsibilities of the man, Adam. We saw that the man had many responsibilities and rightfully so, as he was to display the glory and image of God (1 Corinthians 11:7). These responsibilities, as demonstrated before, have not been changed, nor have they been abrogated by the fall, progress of revelation, or time. They are just as expected of men today as they were of Adam the day he was created.

Women also have responsibilities. It might seem that men supersede women or that somehow men are more important than women by stating that Adam was made to bear the image and glory of God. To some, especially in our woman-oriented, matriarchal, society, to say that man is the image and glory of God automatically assumes that women are not. And, once that is assumed, the assumption is also that the esteem of women and their worth are questioned. However, those assumptions indicate a lack of understanding concerning the instruction to women from Scripture. Therefore, to the degree that we must regain the basics concerning the man, we must also regain the basics concerning the woman as well. I believe this will be enlightening and invigorating for women in many ways.

The Creation of a Woman

God has now created the man. It is the middle of the day of day six of creation. The man has been given his instructions, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16). The man has also been made aware that he has no one to live with corresponding to himself (vv. 18-20). It is at this point that we pick up the narrative in order to examine the creation of the woman.

Verse 18 summarizes God’s purpose for the making of the woman: “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” God states here that it is not good for the man to be alone. Putting all emotion aside, the reason it is not good for man to be alone is because God is not alone (John 16:32). God consists of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in perfect unity and existence with willful love for one another. All creation has been good up to this point because it has rightly represented the power and character of God as excellent and skillful (Proverbs 8:1ff.). However, since the man is to be the image and glory of God, and God is not alone, it is not good for man to be alone. Now, from that we also experience the fact that men need a wife for a variety of reasons (companionship, love, friendship, care of children, etc..). However, those things are auxiliary to the fact that a man cannot bear the image and likeness of God alone.

A woman, then, is created as an integral component of the life of the man, the image and glory of God. God will create another person who corresponds to the image of the man in order to provide for the man the capacity to replicate the glory of God, to her, to others, to God. At this point it becomes obvious that the honor of the woman and the glory of a woman is far greater than what is often thought. And, it is true that women are far too often treated as lesser-class citizens by rude, selfish, primate-like men who don’t know Christ, and some who do. In fact, whole societies can oftentimes rise up against women in order to beat her back and teach her a lesson (i.e. many in the Muslim world are becoming exposed as those who promote this thinking, and have, for centuries). The mere creation of a woman in order to compensate for the inability of the man to bear the image and likeness of God alone demonstrates God’s worthy and glorious purpose in the creation of this woman. She would complete for the man the ability to express the image of God, would be the recipient of the love of God and all His perfections of glory, and herself would be a glory to the man as well. This is what Paul meant when he wrote that the woman is the glory of a man (1 Corinthians 11:7). She completes God’s purpose in the creation of the man. Therefore, a woman who truly wants to be feminine in all that she does must comprehend these things and organize her life accordingly.

God makes Adam fall asleep. God takes a rib, with some flesh still attached, and from that material makes a woman. Now, much must be said about this. First of all, realize that God wanted to create a being for Adam (v.18 “…for him”). This being would not be unlike him (like the animals were), but like him. That is, she would correspond to him in likeness and image, so to speak. In Hebrew, the term “correspond” means “the front part” and it goes on to mean a picture, replica, or correspondence to something next to it (Wilhelm Gesenius and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures [Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2003], p. 530). That is, Adam and the woman, if both were to stand side-by-side, would have many similarities, or correspondence. That was God’s plan. And the pattern for the woman would be the man himself. The intent of God was to create a woman who would correspond to the man in many ways, and yet compliment the man in appropriate ways as well for God’s purpose. This is why it is very inappropriate to confuse the two, or try to make them the same- a man a woman or a woman a man. In the Law of Moses, it says, “

Deuteronomy 22:5

“A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.

It is still an abomination today. The mixing of the sexes was not God’s design for His own glory. To confuse the two is to disregard the glory of God and reject His beauty (this is why, by the way, it is dishonorable for a man to have long hair-1 Corinthians 11:13-15).

The man now wakes up and sees this creation of God. I have always contended that she must have been the most beautiful woman to have ever walked this planet, and he the most handsome of men. His exclamation is appropriate:

Genesis 2:23

The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones,

And flesh of my flesh;

She shall be called Woman,

Because she was taken out of Man.”

Adam immediately understood that God created this woman from his own flesh and bone. How did he know this? Because there she was. That is, in the creation of everything, it would most make sense for that to be the case than for God to create from nothing, as He did Adam. Further, it would make sense that Adam would know that he was made to sleep for the first time for a reason. The man identifies the woman as one corresponding to himself and names her the feminine gender of the word for “man.” She is a picture of himself and made from his own body. This will become crucial later as we examine marriage itself.

Now, the man can be complete. Now, he is able to express the glory of God to this woman-His love, His unity, His joy, His justice, His commandment. The woman was not created for the man’s physical satisfaction. Although this aspect of marriage is crucial to marriage (1 Corinthians 7:1-5), it is not the primary motivation for the creation of the woman. The primary motivation is the completion of the glory of God in the man. This is why women are “for a man.” Most women desire to marry and to have a husband to loves her and cares for her. This is why.

Her Instructions

Now, having examined her creation, what does she do now? For that, we need to look at Genesis 1:28. In this verse, we see the man and the woman standing before God. They were both unclothed and there was no shame in that, neither was God ashamed. It was a glory, and is a glory, in marriage (Hebrews 13:4). And as they are presented before God as a newly created couple, they are given a charge. I have examined this before. However, as it relates to the woman, it is important to look at these instructions in relation to her responsibilities.

It would be nice if God gave a clear instruction to the woman as He did the man (Genesis 2:16-17). He did not. But, He did give instruction in Genesis 1:28 that sufficiently equips the woman of today in her responsibilities.

Genesis 1:28

28  God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

We have already seen that the woman was created ultimately “for a man.” So, her priority is to be “for a man.” That is to say, a godly woman only is fulfilled when she is living for a man, her husband. She was designed and created for that purpose and that purpose has not changed. To love a husband, to like a husband, to be concerned for him, and to respond to him as he is the image and glory of God, is her greatest privilege and created purpose. She does not lose herself to him, she is herself most before God when she is “for” him.

And, this couple, now, have comprehensive instructions from God.

First, be fruitful. That is just what it sounds like. It is to bear fruit. This means to bear the product of something. It is a beautiful way of saying that the man and his wife are to make replicas of themselves. This is a direct reference to sexual intimacy, the ability that God has given to the man and the woman for enjoyment, intimacy of relationship, and child-bearing. Children are not produced any other way. And, the woman has been specifically created with the marvelous ability to bear a child. The intricacy of a woman’s ability to bear children is fantastic. She is a marvel in this aspect. Thus, the woman is innately given to love the fruit of her relationship with her husband. Just as the husband is called to organize his life provisionally in order to care for the “fruit” of the couple, so also the woman is to allow for this instruction in her heart.

Second, multiply. This is a term that refers to quantity. Fruitfulness indicates the actual act and product of the relationship. Multiply refers to the frequency. Obviously, bearing more than one child demands more than one encounter. It is in the context of a holy relationship, unmixed with shame, that God instructs the man and the woman to regularly engage in that which bears multiple fruit for them. It is important, here, to mention that God is the One who completes conception. David understood this in Psalm 139:13-16

 

13 For You formed my inward parts;

You wove me in my mother’s womb.

14  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Wonderful are Your works,

And my soul knows it very well.

15  My frame was not hidden from You,

When I was made in secret,

And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

16  Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;

And in Your book were all written

The days that were ordained for me,

When as yet there was not one of them.

Therefore, for a man and woman to multiply, there obviously requires intimacy. However, ultimately, the conception of the child in the womb is God’s decision (see Psalm 139:16 especially). The woman is uniquely given the ability to receive this marvelous work of God in her womb, which thereby completes the man in the sense that little images of him and her are created by them. This too is a glory and replica of the creative work of God. Or, to put it another way, God’s life-giving creation ability is given temporal expression by the ability of the man and his wife to conceive children. That is the joy, fruit, and reward of the Lord toward His own name as well as the man and his wife (Psalm 137:3-5).

Third, the result of fruit-bearing exponentially is that of filing the earth. This is exactly as it sounds. To fill the earth is to complete the earth. It is to inhabit the earth. It is to make it rich with people. Some of us pessimists might chagrin the idea of so many people. However, remember God’s intention in creation is the creation of a kingdom for the Son wherein He would have multiple brothers and sisters and the Father would have multiple children (Romans 8:28-30; Hebrews 2:9-14). These are the sons of God and they were God’s intention. So, to fill the earth with the sons of God is what is meant. However, Satan came along and introduced weeds, as it were, into the field and created tares (see Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43) hoping to destroy God’s intentions. He did not. He only accomplished them. So, there is a great need for godly parents to receive from God the conception of the sons of God, as it were, so that they might exist and have a home in which they can learn the fear of the Lord (Malachi 2:15).

Fourth, to subdue the earth means to bring it into usefulness. That is, to make the earth produce food, and, by extension, other necessities. The man and the woman are both to respectively work the earth. It would seem appropriate that the man would be the one to “cultivate and keep the garden” (Genesis 2:15) and thus actually produce the food. However, while he is producing, the woman is to be producing the meal. Given their condition, they had access to fruits and vegetables abundantly. However, Adam is required to continue to cultivate the ground so that food would continue to grow and thus they could all eat, as well as any children to come (Genesis 2:5). Therefore, the woman would not be required, nor expected, to do this work of provision. She would not cultivate the ground. She would not tend the garden, or keep it. She would take what she was given by the efforts of the man and make a meal from that. Obviously, in our day, this translates into pots, pans, stoves, silverware, water, electricity, gas, etc… This is what it means to “be workers at home” in Titus 2:5. To work at home means, essentially, to prepare meals. However, this includes so much more than simply picking a few things out of the garden and putting them on the plate. The planning, preparation, acquiring of food, and cleanup is immense. It takes skill, commitment to God’s design, and, if done for Christ, joy. Woman, your work in life is not corporate. Let Adam do that. Let him cultivate and tend the garden. You prepare what he brings to you so that he, and the children, as well as yourself, might enjoy what God has provided for and through you.

Fifth, the concept of ruling is here repeated. However, too often people want to confuse “rule” here with obfuscation of responsibilities. The man is created to “rule” in Genesis 1:26. This is the same Hebrew word as v. 28. It means to tread with authority and responsibility. It refers to treading upon your own land for purpose and enjoyment. But it can also refer to the care of all that you tread upon. The man would have a unique construct of “rulership” that would be unshared by the woman. Those things were outlined in the previous post. However, here the “rule” of the woman, as in this verse both are in view, yet in v. 26 It would seem that only the man is in view (since much has happened between the two verses, namely all of chapter 2). Yet, the rulership would be a shared one in the sense that both have authority to tread. Yet, that looks different for the woman from the man. She would have a shared authority over the fish, birds, and some animals. Yet, she would not have a displacing authority of the man, nor would she have authority over the man. She is still submissive to the her husband particularly since she has been created from him, for him, and alongside him (1 Corinthians 11:8-12). Adam has responsibility for leadership in the realms of glory of God, work/provision, the Word of God, worship, and his wife. The woman has responsibility in others realms. They are, her husband, their children, their home, and her own godliness as she should bear the reflected glory of her husband as he follows Christ (this is why it is so difficult for a Christian woman who is married to a non-Christian man to really grow to the degree she could. She is innately dependent upon her husband for his leadership. Thankfully, God is a husband to the widow, which spiritually she is, and a Father to the orphan-Deuteronomy 10:18; Psalm 68:5; 146:10).

In Conclusion, as I said before in the posts for the man, if a woman organizes her life around these truths, she will be blessed of the Lord (1 Peter 3:1-6). Women are precious and are to be honored by men. Men are responsible for their welfare and care. That does not mean that women are a charity case. It means that a man’s wife should be given the means by which she can do what God has designed her to do (Ephesians 5:25-33).

Family 101–pt.3 Creation

It is a simple conclusion: God created a man for His glory. That man was given a wife to complete the man, for God’s glory. That man and woman were given the ability to have children and to multiply themselves on the planet. It would seem then that since the children come from a man made for God’s glory, and a woman for God’s glory through the man, then the children too must be expected to bear God’s glory as well.  That is, what is being multiplied on the earth is not simply another person, but a creation made, as it were, in the image of God according to His likeness just like mom and dad. This is the basic structure of the family: individually it is for God’s glory; collectively it is for God’s glory.

That is where the Scriptures begin and that is where we must begin. The design and creation of the heavens and the earth and all that fill them were for the purpose of the infinite glory of God. Further, and we will have to touch on this later, this glory is pointed toward Son of God as He would inherit it all. For now, however, it is important to understand that the man, woman, and subsequent children in God’s original design were individually, and collectively, for the purpose of the display of the glory of God.

But the question is “How?” “How is a man the glory of God?” “How is a woman the glory of God?” “How are children the glory of God?” If this is the case, and it is, then how did God expect that out of Adam and Eve?

Remember, we are talking about unfallen conditions. Satan has not fallen yet, and has not yet tempted Eve. So, if it were possible to pretend Genesis 3 does not exist, then attempt that in this discussion. As is assumed in this series, the original design of God is still the way God wants things. That is to say, God’s original design for creation, man, woman, and families has never been rescinded. Although that will challenge some, many, it cannot be denied from the text of Scripture. One clear example is Jesus’ own teaching concerning marriage in Matthew 19:1-9. There Jesus taught that the original design of God was the marriage of one man and one woman, the union of the two into one, the work of God to make it so, and the instruction to man, by virtue of the creation by God, to never dissolve that married condition in any way. Further, later revelation in the Law of Moses did nothing to abrogate that design, as Jesus taught. Yet, its intent is severely marred by adultery and calls for further action, if necessary. Yet, the creation of God is the basis from which this example exists. In other words, unless you have this design intact, and the original intent of God maintained in creation as your starting point for all the functions of the family, you are, at best, making things up as you go (which far too many do).

Again, the design of God is His on-going intent for the family. Paul also refers to the created design in his letter to the Ephesians (5:31). That section of chapter 5 is an exposition of Genesis 2 and the creation of the man and woman. Paul is not merely quoting a verse that exists separately from the rest of the passage. Verse 31 is a quote from Genesis 2:24 which itself is a summary conclusion for all that leads up to the man leaving his family and being joined (by God-Matthew 19:6) to his wife. Grammatically, that is the case and Paul understood that, quoting it there in that fashion. Again, unless a person understands all that leads up to Genesis 2:24, that very verse will mean nothing.

Lastly, our Lord did say that there will be a time when a man will not be joined to a woman in marriage (and Paul expounded upon that in his discussion in 1 Corinthians 7 as well). That time is yet future, however. In Matthew 22:23-33, Jesus responds to a ridiculous question from the Sadducees. Their question involved the issue of death of a spouse and remarriage in regards to the resurrection, which they did not believe in anyway. Jesus said that in the resurrection, which is yet future to us all, there is no more marriage, or being given in marriage. That is, the entire economy of marriage, as designed and created by God in Genesis 1-2 will be stopped and will no longer take place. But, the resurrection has not come. God’s design is still His design for us. The only indication that God’s created purposes for the family is to stop is from this passage and the only time that will occur will be in the resurrection, which is yet future as it will usher us into the new heavens and earth via the Millennium (Revelation 20).

In conclusion, and as our starting point, realize that things have not changed. God’s design is intact and is His expectation (by which we will be judged either faithful or not). The issue is, however, do we really understand that design? Are we jaded against that design because we don’t want to be a “quiver-full” people? Do we bristle against this idea because that might change the complexion of our ministry? Are we sure we completely understand it to begin with? As we will see, just as the design for work, eating, and the rest is not changed from the creation, neither is the family.

Are Children Made In God’s Image?

 

It is significant to me that God created a man and a woman to be His image and likeness. It is significant also that that man and woman would, by God’s power, procreate. This phenomena is the power of God and has a very significant meaning and profound reality to it.

This will likely become a little series, so I want to state my main thought up front. Children are a creation of God in which the realities of the Triune God and His kingdom are on display unlike anything else in our lives. It is important to explain this fully, thus I will attempt to do so over the next few posts. Because of the importance of such a series as this, I encourage you to think about this very carefully and be a “Berean” and search the Scriptures.

Let’s look at some introductory passages to begin our thinking in the right direction. In Mark 10:13-16 there is a little event that each of the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) includes and thus indicates its importance in the life and ministry of Christ.

Jesus is in the Judean region, after having left the region of Galilee (Mt. 19:1f.). He comes to this region and immediately, during one of His teaching times, He is asked a question about divorce and remarriage in order to test Him and get Him in trouble since John the Baptist was also killed after confronting Herod about his unlawful divorce (Mk. 6:14-29). Further, divorce and remarriage were, as they are today, hot topics. So, if they could just get Jesus to slip up here, the crowd would most likely turn on Him in some way, or they might have legal right to accuse Him and punish Him. Either way, it was a ‘set-up.’

In this section, Jesus reiterates the original design and mandate of God from Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24. In doing this, Jesus is saying that God knew exactly what He was doing, He is God, and we do not reserve the right to alter what He created. Therefore, Jesus said, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Mk 10:9). Therefore, a man and a woman who divorce and remarry commit adultery against their previous spouse. In Matthew 19:9 Jesus apparently stated that an exception to this hard-and-fast rule is sexual immorality on the part of the husband or wife. Once that occurs, divorce may be an option. However, Paul goes on to teach that it needs to be the final option after all other avenues of peace and forbearance has been pursued (1 Corinthians 7:15). The issue of divorce in the Scripture is informative and fascinating as it helps us to understand how to deal with people in this area. However, this is not the place to delve into that topic. Besides, no matter what you might think of divorce, it is still God’s original mandate and created design (from which we should not waver) that a man and a woman maintain their marriage for life to the glory of God.

What is interesting, however, is that Mark enters into the narrative of Jesus’ perception of children. Both Matthew and Mark have this section after the passage on divorce. Luke does not include the passage about divorce at all. But, he does include the passage about children. So, all three Synoptics have this highly important narrative, and for good reason.

All three passages indicate that “they were bringing children (Luke-‘babies’) to [Jesus] so that He might touch them (in blessing which included prayer for them); but the disciples rebuked them.” The components of this are that “they” were bringing young children, even babies, to Jesus for a blessing. The disciples of Christ attempted to rebuke those bringing the children. I would assume that those bringing the children were either parents or close relatives. It is possible that they might have even been neighbors. It simply does not say who they were. However, they were interested in the children receiving a blessing. My assumption is that they were parents.

Jesus did not refuse them, but the disciples did. Why? Why didn’t Jesus refuse the children? The answer comes out in the rebuke of the disciples, so we will look to the disciples first. The disciples began rebuking them. Who were they rebuking? The parents? The children? If they were rebuking the parents, the children heard it so it essentially had the same effect on both.

As a sidenote, remember, Jesus’ response to the disciples demonstrates God’s perspective on children, as well as those who mistreat them. Jesus responded to the disciples exactly as the Father would and the Spirit would if they were present. Therefore, this interaction gives us a very clear picture into the nature of God as it pertains to His relationship with children.

The texts do not overtly indicate why the disciples refused “them.” It could be that they felt the children and parents were a bother. Or perhaps the children were getting underfoot and they were perturbed by that. However, if you consider vv. 1-12, you get an interesting contrast to vv. 13-16. Notice that v.1 states that crowds were gathering around Jesus and the response was that Jesus began to teach them. That is what He always did. Even some Pharisees came up to Jesus and asked a question in order to pin Him down. No response by the disciples as of yet. When Jesus gets in the house, the disciples then asked for explanation concerning His teaching about divorce. This indicates that, for the most part, the disciples were quiet. However, when the children come, the disciples immediately speak out and rebuke the parents and children. In the next narrative, once again, you see Jesus being approached and asked about spiritual matters from the rich young ruler. The disciples, again, did not have a problem with that. It was only when the children came did they get uptight. Why? We have to be careful to read into the white spaces. However, it is appropriate to pull together the pieces of the puzzle we do have and paint a picture.

Children are not adults. Easy. Children lack all that adults (think they) have attained. Further, children appear to be ignorant oftentimes of even the simplest of facts that we adults understand. We could say that all of this indicates why the disciples rebuked the children. The children have no contribution to the society at large and therefore they are to be ignored. Although I think that most people feel this way, I don’t think that is the issue here, at least as far as Jesus is concerned. For Jesus, and thus in reality, the issue pertained to the relationship of children to the kingdom of God. The disciples’ failure to comprehend this enraged Jesus. This was more than simple displeasure. I believe that this treatment of the children incited fury, albeit under control, in Jesus. Why? Because of the importance of the kingdom of God. How many other things are said to own the kingdom of God?

The children, according to Jesus’ response, are a picture of the kingdom of God in some way. Jesus wanted the children to come to Him because, it appears, they were dear to His heart. But that does not seem to be simply because they were really cute. It appears to be more than that, considering His indignation and rebuke of His disciples.

Next time, we will delve into this further. But for now, just know that children mean more to God than we might think. However, is that the case in your heart? Do you see in children something of the kingdom of God as Jesus did? Or, do you see them as the disciples did, in the way and unimportant? Our view of children may well unveil some interesting things in our hearts.

Biblical Masculinity-pt.2

If you were asked to write a book, only one book, that you believe would summarize who God is in every way, what would be the topic of that book? Some might say, “holiness.” That is true, God is holy, immensely holy. Some might say, “Grace.” That is true, God is a God of grace. However, after considering a bit I believe that I would write it on the “Love of God.” Why the love of God? Because it is the love of God that bridges the distance from a sinner to a holy God. It is the love of God that motivated grace to be extended to me, a sinner. It is the love of God that defines the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and has done so for eternity. God is love. Further, it is the love of God that summarizes the magnificent work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, on the cross. Paul writes,

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

When a person considers all that occurred in the death of Jesus Christ, and to know that it was all motivated out of love, love for God and love for His neighbor, it must bring you to your knees. Why? Because that one act is so much unlike us. We do not love in that way. We should. We are made in the image and likeness of that God who is love. But we don’t. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Jesus Christ died for us.

There are a myriad of ways the love of God can be understood and observed. However, one of the best displays of that love, outside of the cross itself, is found in that little-known prophet of the Old Testament, Hosea.

Hosea ministered during the reigns of four kings of Judah and one king of Israel (Hosea1:1), a number of years before Israel’s exile into Assyria, and Judah’s into Babylon at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. He is prophesying as a prophet of God toward both Israel and Judah. What God commands Hosea to do is very unusual and even irrational. However, Hosea obeys and thus speaks volumes about his character as a man of God, and God’s character as one who loves.

In chapter 1, verses 1-3, Hosea is told to go and take a harlot as a wife. Further, he is to have children by her also. This would signify Israel who is like that harlot and has gone after other gods and thus has offspring by those other gods/men. This would be highly illustrative of Israel’s waywardness, often spoken of in terms of adultery. So, Hosea went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, as his wife. This was extremely unusual because a priest was forbidden to take a harlot for a wife (Leviticus 21:7, 13-14). This level of consecration would, I assume, also extend to God’s prophets as well. He would not be expected to marry a known prostitute, yet God commands him to. Why? To demonstrate that love triumphs over law. Love establishes the law, fulfills the law, supersedes the law. Hosea would then demonstrate God’s love to an unfit woman.

At some point, the woman returns to her wickedness, and leaves Hosea behind with the two children she bore to him. We know this because in chapter 3, Hosea is once again told to go find a woman who is loved by her husband and yet is an adulteress (v.1). That is the same woman, Gomer. He does find her…on the slave block. She would have been naked, chained, and being sold for slavery in order to repay her debts. It is a pitiful sight from a woman who had a godly man for a husband. Hosea gathers all that he had, some silver and barley to pay for her. He apparently used all the money he had, because he resorted to paying by barley, a valuable commodity. He pays everything he has to buy her back. Sold. She is his now. He makes a covenant with her, since he paid her price-you will remain faithful to me, and I to you (v. 3).

What a display of love. This woman deserved to be on that block. She was in flagrant sin, rejected her responsibilities at home, despised her husband and children, and rejected the Law of God. However, Hosea loved her. He loved her! He went to her in her worst, and paid the price for her freedom and purchased her from the slave market so that he could take her home and care for her. She would never again go after other men. She would never again be in debt. She would never again have to resort to wickedness for her needs. She would be cared for, protected. In short, she would be loved by a faithful husband.

This is the love of God. You obviously see the similarities between Hosea’s love for Gomer, and Christ’s love for the church (not to mention God’s love for Israel, which will culminate to her restoration in the future-2 Kings 13:23;14:27). To love a woman who is defiled, unlovely, and unfaithful is not the normal husband’s ideal bride. Normally, a man wants the most beautiful, the most lovely, the most respectful and faithful woman he can find. But, what about the woman who is none of those things? Would we love her? God did.

Men, if we are to be like God toward our wives, then this is the love that we are to exhibit. God’s love seeks to cleanse, restore, and sanctify. This kind of love understands the state of the other person. She may be defiled, disrespectful and dirty. But God’s love seeks to make her beautiful and holy.

All of this is in the powerful verse in Ephesians 5:25. This one verse sums up the motivation of the behavior of a godly husband. He loves his wife in the same manner as Christ loved the church-He gave Himself up for her. Jesus Christ “threw away”, so to speak, His life for the benefit of a people who were dirty, defiled, destined for destruction and unfaithful. However, He did not consider His high and lofty privileges in heaven something to hold onto, but rather left those behind out of obedience to the Father and benefit to the church, in order to purchase a bride off of the slave block, naked, destitute and unclean. Thus, making for Himself a cleansed bride who would be presented to Himself something glorious. In short, like Hosea, “He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, so that [we] through His poverty, might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”

Husbands, do you love your wives? According to what standard? Do you love her when she does good to you? Do you love her when she respects you and agrees with your decisions? Do you have a harder time loving her when she is disagreeable, and defiant? Do you have a harder time loving her when she rejects you and maybe even slanders you? The world’s love would never hold up under such disrespect. But God’s will. If you doubt that, look at Christ. The love of God and man met at the cross. Jesus loved God with all of His heart, soul, mind, and strength and obeyed Him to the point of death. Jesus loved sinners as Himself and died so that they might be with Him forever and share in His glory and joy. This love endures. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).

So, men, the next time you think that you just can’t love a woman like that, remember the cross of Jesus Christ. What if Jesus used that excuse to the Father? “I can’t love a sinner like that. He despises Me, he disrespects Me, he will not do what I say, and he refuses to listen.” Remember, men, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for the ungodly, not the godly. He came to call the unrighteous to repentance, not the righteous. Men, you love your wives, because they are sinners; seek to cleanse them, in wisdom and love, and you will enter into the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, thus bearing His image and likeness.

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.

Exalted Submission-pt.2

Last time, we were considering Ephesians 5:22 only. The summary of that verse is clear-“Wives be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Borrowing the participle from v. 21, it means that wives should exemplify appropriate subjection in their relationship to their own husbands. This assumes: 1) Husbands are to exercise authority over their wives, and, subsequently, their families. 2) Wives are under obligation to have a heart dedicated to subjection to their husbands. 3) The manner of submission to the Lord should also characterize her submission to her husband.

I also attempted to give a fuller picture of this submission. In God’s kingdom, the slave is supreme. In God’s kingdom, the one in subjection to the authority over them with faithfulness and a whole heart is that one who will, one day, be elevated in His presence (Mark 10:41-45). The woman who looks upon submission with disdain, is that woman who does not understand Jesus Christ. He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor (2 Corinthians 8:9). He is a High Priest, and yet became the sacrifice (Hebrews 10:1-10). He was Lord, and yet became a slave (Philippians 2:5-11). He is the source of life, and yet gave His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Too man women demand their rights to places of seeming honor in the world. They seem to have forgotten the honor of subjection.

In Ephesians 5:23-24, we will see the profound reason why the wife is instructed by God to subject herself to her husband. It is, quite simply, the way God created the marriage relationship. But the purpose behind that marriage relationship is tremendously profound.

“For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:23–24, NASB95)

What Paul is teaching here is the proper outflow from chapters 1-4. In those chapters, the theme is, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13–14, NASB95)

The thrust of this entire epistle is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is that message by which we are made sons if we believe the claims of the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is that we, being dead in sins, can be made alive in God. Not alive like we used to be, but alive to God, indwelt with His Holy Spirit (who was the promise of the New Covenant-Ezekiel 36:26-27). That being said, Paul elaborates on the ministry of the Holy Spirit in that He will “cause” us to walk in the commandments of God (Ezekiel 36:27). That affects your marriage! How could it not?

Thus, the commandments of God that the Spirit of God enables us to obey are: wives be subject to your husbands, and husbands love your wives. But, our motivation in the New Covenant era is profound. The example before us is sufficient. The provision of the Spirit to enable us to do these things is enough. Thus, our task is to be filled with Him, i.e. to fill ourselves with the truth of Scripture (not philosophical knowledge, but comprehending and understanding the truths the Scriptures teach and subjecting ourselves to what it demands-Is.66:1-2). Doing that throughout our lives, fills us with the Holy Spirit since it is His Word and His power.

The Husband is the Head

Categorically, the husband is the head of the wife. There is no qualification. He did not say, “The husband should be the head of the wife”, or “The Christian husband is the head of the wife.” Paul teaches, on the basis of Genesis 1-2, that the husband, as far as God is concerned and as He has created, is the head of the wife. The husband, before God and in His eyes, is the head of the wife and the husband will give an account to God for that responsibility, whether squandered or taken seriously and done well.

What does this mean? What did Paul intend when he writes that the husband is the head of the wife? This is not the first time that he had written this instruction. Years before, he had instructed the Corinthian church on the very same issue. Just as it was then, it is now for the Ephesians, it is a matter of the image and likeness of God.

The Triune God

When God created man He said, “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). Thus, the desire of God is that the man would be, in some way, the image and likeness of God. In other words, the man would be all that God is, in some representational, yet actual, way. It is out of man that came the woman. It is out of the man and the woman that would come children. Thus, in a very real way, the man is the head of everything in the realm of humanity. You could also say that he is the head of humanity because he, particularly, is made to represent God. Or as Asaph wrote centuries later, “I said, ‘You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High.’” (Psalm 82:6; cf. John 10:34-35). The man is the unique person in whom God would display Himself, and as such, is highly accountable to that purpose of God.

So, when Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:3 that “God is the head of Christ”, this is no small matter. God had made a man to be both a son and a father and thus uniquely would be the image and likeness of a God who is also both Son and Father. Yet, even in that holy, eternal, glorious, and immense reality of God, there is structure, recognition of authority (although neither has less authority than the other), and the willing submission of the Son to the Father out of love. Do we get this? Jesus Christ said in John 5:19, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” Further, Jesus said speaking to the apostate Jewish religious leaders, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me” (John 8:42). Jesus here indicates that in the eternal plan of God (Ephesians 3:10-11), the Father had planned to send the Son, the Son did not plan to come on His own. However, that does not mean that He came reluctantly. He came willingly, as an obedient Son. In fact, we can understand the mind of Christ from John 12:49-50 when He said:

“For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”

Jesus trusted the commandment of the Father. So much so, that He was willing to believe the Father’s purpose and will even to the point of death (see Matthew 26:42; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42; John 6:38). He was willing to obey, even to the point of death as a scoundrel (Philippians 2:7-8). This was willing, educated, and purposeful submission on the part of the Son to the will of the Father. And what was the motive? What would allow the glorious and powerful Son of God to obey the Father even through the cross? Love. Love is a willful choice to abide by the authority of another regardless of status or ability. Jesus Christ is God, Creator God. He is the King of the earth. He is the Lord of Lords. Yet, He is a Son to the Father and, as such, although of the same essence, loved the Father. The evidence of love is His willingness to submit to the Father from all eternity, and was exampled for us in His earthly life. The cross was the magnanimous display of such loving obedience-the eternal relationship between the Son and the Father.

So, when Paul writes that women should submit themselves to their husbands, why is it a problem? Jesus submitted to the Father. When Paul writes that husbands are the head of the wife, even as the Father is the head of the Son, why is that confusing? The Father was a loving and purposeful head, even during the crushing blows the Son received from the Father on the cross of for the sins of mankind (Isaiah 53:10).

The Gospel Is The Motivation In Marriage

With that as backdrop, what Paul writes here makes more sense. The husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the Head of the church. Jesus Christ only does what He sees the Father doing (John 5:19). Thus, the headship of Jesus Christ is commensurate with the headship of the Father (1 Corinthians 11:3). Jesus is the head over the church (Ephesians 1:22). So also, husbands are head over their wives. Remember, man was made in God’s image. This headship is of the same kind, although not of the same quality, as that of the Father over the Son. Further, this headship is of the same kind as Christ over the church. A loving head giving the Word of the Father to a lovingly submissive church. What a picture of marriage! How comprehensive!

However, the church was not always lovingly submissive. In fact, Christ died while we (the church) were yet sinners (Romans 5:8). We were unfaithful. We were dirty. We were unclean. Jesus Christ responded to His bride, not with disdain and hatred, but with a kind of love that He had already expressed to the Father-a willful love of sacrifice. You see, Jesus Christ did for the church what He also did for God. He sacrificed His life. Jesus Christ was obedient to the Father, even to the point of death, i.e. sacrifice. Jesus Christ loved the church even to the point of death, i.e. sacrifice. To the one was a satisfaction of the plan of the Father. To the other was a satisfaction of a debt of death owed (Genesis 2:17). To the One, He showed His love by dying on the cross. To the other, He showed His love by dying on the cross. Love truly covers. Husbands, that is the love you are to have for your wives! Further, a man with the love of Christ in himself, by the work of the Spirit, affects his entire household. You see this in 1 Corinthians 7:14. The believing spouse (a believer is characterized by sanctification, i.e. love) affects the condition of the entire household, and in fact can bring unbelieving family members to God. They are convicted by their own lack of love and may be won without a word (1 Peter 3:1). Thus the influence and affect of God’s love in the home is sufficient.

So, wives, chose to love God and submit to your husbands. They are head over you. Not by personal ability or wonderful character. They are head over you because God created it that way. Thus, to respond to what God designed with loving, willful, purposeful, submission is to emulate the One who rescued you from sin and hell.

The Exaltation of Submission-pt.1

In Ephesians 5:22-24, the Apostle Paul begins the section of his epistle that is devoted to household instructions. He speaks to wives, husbands, children, fathers, slaves, and masters. He follows the same order in Colossians 3:18-25. He begins this section by addressing the wives. This is probably for two reasons. First, in v.21, he has just written that everyone should submit to one another. Since he is talking about submission between everyone in the church, he goes directly to the one whom the instruction most readily applies to-wives. Second, wives have tremendous sway in the household. Very often, the wife actually runs the home because of the laxness of the husband. So, Paul, as a wise pastor (1 Cor. 3:10-11), deals with the wives of the families in Ephesus first.

There are a few things that need developed first. As I just mentioned, in Ephesians 5:21, Paul has instructed the church to “submit to one another.” This verbal, which is a participle, is modifying the main verb in v.18, “be filled” with the Holy Spirit. This verb is a passive verb that indicates a command to receive filling by the instrument of the Holy Spirit. The cross-reference is Colossians 3:16 which indicates that Paul, who wrote Colossians and Ephesians back-to-back, means that instead of being permeated with wine in your inner system, be filled up with the Word of God instead. This is just like the Old Testament injunctions to “treasure God’s Word in our hearts” (Psalm 119:11), or “ These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart” (Deuteronomy 6:6). The idea is to imbibe the Scripture so that it permeates all of you and thus you are “filled” with the mind of the Spirit, who is the Author of Scripture. The result of such obedience is singing songs, submitting to one another, and righteous, Eden-like, family relationships.

With that in mind, we have to comprehend what Paul is saying here. Borrowing the participle from v.21, he writes v.22. There is no verb in v.22, but rather repeats the verbal from v.21 without writing it in the actual sentence. This is called ellipsis. Some would argue for a mutual submission idea from v.21 to apply to all parties of the household. The idea that a man would submit to his wife and her needs and that children would submit to their parents and parents submit to the needs of the children and so on. Although I understand that rationale and agree with the conclusions, i.e. that I need to provide for my children and care for them selflessly, I cannot make out that a husband submits to his wife the same way that a wife submits to her husband. First, there is a real ranking in one sense by order of creation. When Adam was created, he was given certain responsibilities by God and those responsibilities have never been removed or changed. The woman was not given those responsibilities, but rather was given others, along with her husband. Those distinctions of responsibilities indicates a distinction in authority and a distinction in accountability to God. Therefore, the man, who is called to rule the earth (Genesis 1:26-27) most directly, has the greater responsibility and the greater authority. That being said, however, there is no superiority with the man in anyway. He is not somehow a better creation than the woman. In fact, it can be argued from the narrative in Genesis 2, that the pinnacle of creation is the woman and as such, she is to be given great honor and love. However, that tension from the beginning (the woman recognizing and joyfully submitting to her husband) was in place from creation.

Second, Paul stating that submitting to one another as an effect of being filled with the Spirit seems best to be understood that where there is authority in the body, each person should recognize that and appropriately submit to it. That would make more sense than a blanket submission from one with great authority (i.e. masters), to one with no authority (i.e. slaves). Paul does not seem to be turning the authority structures upside down, but calling those that need to to get in line with those structures and as an example, he begins with the wives of the church. That seems to make more sense to the flow of the passage. Also, it maintains a more normal sense of the verbal “submit” as an act of one person recognizing and submitting to another of greater authority. So, wherever in the church that there needs to be the recognition of authority and appropriate submission to that authority, then they are called to be submissive to one another. By the way, that makes more sense given the pattern of Ephesians 5:22-6:9 of: one who submits, the one who has authority. Wives to husbands (vv.22-33); children to parents (vv.6:1-4); slaves to masters (vv. 6:5-9). Paul writes that those who submit to authority should do so, and those who have authority should not “lord it over” the others, but rather exercise love in their authority. Perfect balance without diminishing proper authority structures, without which the world would fall to pieces.

So, Paul begins this section commanding the wives to recognize the authority that their husbands have and submitting to it. This assumes that the wife is Spirit-filled. Again, that is to say, this assumes the wife understands, believes, and concurs with the true teaching of Scripture on the issue of the authority of men and the resultant submission of wives to their own husbands. Paul has written this elsewhere (see 1 Corinthians 14:34; Colosians 3:18). Peter also has written this same command (1 Peter 3:1). It is in the very fabric of creation (Genesis 2; 3:16). The fact that many women fight against it and that most struggle with it, does not mean that it is not expected of them. It only indicates that they need to be filled with the Spirit in order to obey this command from God (1 Corinthians 14:37).

In the posts to come, we will be examining the lofty position of submission. Oftentimes, because of the sensitive nature of this kind of thing, pastors try to soften the blow by making submission out to be more positive than it sounds to people. That is entirely unnecessary. The position of the wife in the marriage is that of the church to Christ, as we will see. She has the unique and magnificent opportunity to display the bride of Christ to the world in a way that may not be apparent to others, but is clearly apparent to God! After all, she is not submitting merely for the applause of men, is she? And men are not leading and ruling merely for the his own personal gain is he? No. These things should be done because they please the Father.

Hope In Light of the Curse

Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That verse encapsulates the problem with every person on this planet. Although many would deny the problem, that does not fix a problem that obviously exists. Paul would further write, “

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—” (Romans 5:12, NASB95)

How is it that all have sinned and thus fall short of the glory of God? Why is that the case? Because, Adam disobeyed God and thus, in him, we all sinned. Regardless of the difficulty of understanding ‘how’ all sinned in Adam, the statement remains clear. Adam’s singular disobedience inserted sin into the world that God created. Thus, since sin entered there, death followed. That is because sin is disobedience to God’s commands and Adam, the man made in the image and likeness of God, disobeyed when he took of the fruit and ate. Death, then, spread to all men through one act of sin.

So, what do we have in this summary of the entrance of sin? What is here is the reason why marriage is difficult and why childrearing is seemingly impossible. The fact that Adam sinned plunged every man, woman, and child into a condition in which sin reigns and the result of sin is death (Romans 6:23; James 1:15). Everything that God created in the garden, especially the relationship of the man to the woman and their relationship to God, is now inaccessible. The beauty, harmony, and glory is lost and cannot be regained by our own discovery. But, God, because of who He is, does not leave it there. He is a God of hope (Romans 15:13). In fact, it can be said that the entire fall occurred in order to usher in hope (Romans 8:20-21).

I have written about the fall and God’s promised redemption elsewhere. From what we encounter in Genesis 3, we understand that the wicked one has deceived Eve, Eve has enticed Adam, and Adam disobeyed God. We see that Eve believed Satan rather than God. We understand that Adam did not exercise rulership over the snake, the woman, or Satan. He simply chose to be under the sway of the deceiver. Satan was successful in bringing the man and the woman into his ‘kingdom’ and out from God’s rule. He was successful at setting himself up as god to the man and the woman and drawing the man and woman away from the true God. Thus, true to form, Satan robs God of His glory, at least it appears that way.

However, we see that God had cast sentence upon the enemy which will ultimately call for his destruction. This destruction will not simply be by a judicial act of God, but rather by the seed of a woman. In saying this, God is saying that a woman will bear the male child who will crush the head of the serpent and all his handiwork will disintegrate. Satan, from that point forward, lives in light of this sentence. Thus, God’s sovereignty is maintained. In fact, due to Satan’s diabolical work, God’s greatest glory will come to light in the redemption of sinners.

And that is what this is all about. The power and glory of God’s redemption is on display in the child of God. Both now, on this planet, and on the planet to come (Revelation 21:1). The fact that Satan tempted and deceived the woman did nothing to ruin the glory of God ultimately. In fact, his efforts were simply a key component in God’s ultimate and powerful display of His glory.

Most Christians do not see that great plan of redemption work out in their marriage. They love the doctrines of redemption and love to philosophize about it, but they don’t see that the very doctrines of redemption that they love, or say they love, are the foundation of their marriage. The home is the stage for redemption. Further, unfortunately, many marriage and home ‘ministries’ do little to identify, reiterate and explain this phenomenon. They do that to their own shame as they replace their own abilities to establish the home for the ability of God to glorify Himself in the home . As the Psalmist has said, “Unless the Lord build the house, you are wasting your time” (my paraphrase of Psalm 127:1). Thus, what is needed to make a home the stage for God’s redemption is clear. First, you need to identify sin. That might seem easy at first glance. However, truth is, many are so blind to what is expected of them in their homes, that they don’t see the sin. Thus, their minimized standards replace God’s high and lofty standard that gives Him glory.

For example, fathers are commanded to “train” their children (Ephesians 6:4). They are commanded by their Creator to be actively and profoundly training their children with all the resources of the Old and New Testaments toward the God of Scripture. This is an unending training that makes the home the training ground for children. However, how many fathers would rather fill their time with their own pursuits? How many Christian fathers would rather give their attention to their own hobbies and thus train themselves in proficiency of their own interests? The training that is called for is the truest and hardest expression of self-denial there is, next to marriage itself. Anything less than that kind of commitment is sin. Yet, we have pews filled with fathers, if they even come to church, who have decided that they don’t need to train their children. They are comfortable to let another man, or woman, do it telling himself that “they are the experts” all the while refusing to shoulder this command, take on the responsibility, and learn how to train his children.

Once that sin is identified, repentance is required. This is nothing less than an acknowledgement that there has been a failure in some area to give God glory. Maybe that father in the above example would identify that he has been lazy in his responsibilities, and he turns to God in his heart asking for forgiveness. God is quick to forgive, that is sure. However, the next step is to learn how to do what is required. He must give his heart completely to the responsibilities that God has given him. I personally have had a number of times of repentance when I would examine my own commitments in light of Scripture and see a very wide difference between the two. Obviously, the Scripture is not wrong. I was. By the mercy of God, I repented and devoted myself to the commitments God requires of me in my marriage and my family. I have never regretted turning away from the worthless things of this world and turning to the glorious provisions of God in a myriad of ways. For example, my family and I used to have Friday as our “movie night.” Of course, all week long we would be anticipating that 2 hour block of time when we dim the lights, pop in the movie and get lost in the story and action. As time went on, I began losing interest in those things less and less. At that point I began to examine why we were having movie night. Throughout the week, in the evenings, we would sit down and watch some show or some news as well. However, mixed in with the movies, the shows, and the news were some of the filthiest and most horrible pictures and scenes imaginable. Who has not had the experience of watching a show and a lewd advertisement comes on? Or, who has not watched some sporting event and the commercials introduce an ungodly habit, like drinking. Many Christians simply tell themselves, “Oh, I don’t do that so it doesn’t affect me.” Really? Job made a covenant with his eyes to not gaze at a virgin (Job 31:1). David got into trouble, initiated by looking, which affected his entire family for the rest of his life (2 Samuel 11:1-2). Jesus said that what you look at you think about (Matthew 6:22-23). That passage is especially pertinent because if you identify as light that which God calls darkness, you are really deceived! Nakedness, drunkenness, promiscuity, profanity, ungodly behavior (things that Jesus Christ would not Himself encourage), violence, and other behaviors are condemned by God, and yet we are entertained by them. What is worse, we let our children watch much of the same!

Therefore, Karen and I made the decision to get rid of our T.V. when we moved and we have never looked back. We have regained our children’s hearts, regained our day, regained our time, regained our conversation, regained our purity of mind. Our children are ignorant of many of the celebrities and superstars that are commonplace in the world and that is as it should be (Romans 16:19). They are unfamiliar with the degradation in the world around them and we are thankful. Why do I want to encourage the sin that is latent within them by placing ungodliness before them?

Once a sin is identified and repentance is sought, then conviction needs to be established. Having convictions very often is what establishes the heart. A conviction is some truth that you are convinced of in Scripture, whether by deduction or outright instruction, and thus your life now is subject to that truth (as an example see Romans 14:14). That is conviction. Paul told Timothy to be subject to the truths that he learned from Paul and those things that he has grown convinced of (2 Timothy 3:14). That is the idea. Once you become accurate in your interpretation of a passage, you subject your life under its teaching and you don’t move away from it for anything. The key, of course, is to make sure you accurately understand it. But once the Scripture is understood and rightly interpreted, obey it. Train your children also toward those convictions.

The display of the glory of God is the taking of a sinner and making him a son. When man was made in the image and likeness of God, that image and likeness most directly referred to the eternal Son, Jesus Christ. However, once sin entered in because of disobedience, something the Son would not do, the image and likeness, i.e. glory, was lost. Now, because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that image and likeness is restored through faith in Him (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 13:14; Ephesians 4:17-24; Colossians 3:10). That is the hope of Jesus Christ. And, that is the hope that resides in the home that is brought under the Lordship of Christ.

The Joy of Marriage

Yesterday I began a series on Marriage and the Family. I believe it will be a foundational and important series because of the fundamental importance the topic holds in most everyone’s life.

The home is the place where a man, and his wife, have children. It is the place in which, or from which, all of life is lived out. It is in the home, that the newborn infant is cared for as well as the teenage son is trained. It is in the home where the husband and wife can enjoy the best of times, and the worst of times. It is in the home where relaxation can occur or the most horrendous conflict. The home is a very central place for any people, culture, or nationality. Whether you live in huts, or in a mansion, that home represents the decisions and habits of everyone living there. Therefore, a true and biblical understanding of marriage and the family is foundational to all of life for the church.

The first place you have to begin in this kind of teaching is to reiterate the sufficiency of God’s Scripture. God’s Word is not a fix-it kind of manual. It is not some kind of book of opinions and “try this, it might work” kind of a thing. Rather than looking for ways to “apply the Scripture” to my life, we should be trembling before it (Is. 66:1-2), and obeying its instructions. It is life and it is dangerous, as it will cut through to our hearts. Yet, it restores and replenishes our souls. Notice the process in 2 Timothy 3:14-16:

“You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14–17, NASB95)

Notice the process: in order for Scripture to be profitable, it first must be learned. Second, it must teach us. Third, it will reprove us. Fourth, correction has to take place. Fifth, the result is a training in righteousness that will ensue. Thus, the man of God will be equipped in this fashion. There is no other way. It hurts. It is hard. But, the “profit” is immeasurable. It, in fact, leads to life and joy.

When considering the family, this process is no different. The Scripture will confront all our failures, misconceptions, wrong ideals and then shred them to pieces. However, to those who are trained by it, it leads to life and the glory of God. So, let the Scripture have its way with you. It is to your benefit and leads to the joy of God. Jesus said it simply, “Sanctify them in the truth (Father); Your Word is truth” (John 17:17).

Put simply, the foundation of every marriage and every home is the glory of God. That is, the original design for the home, marriage and children was ultimately and absolutely, for the display of the glory of God.

When God originally designed and created the heavens and the earth, he was purposeful. The apparent goal in it all, was His own glory. The heavens themselves cry out the glory of God day and night (Ps. 19:1). The animals He created were created as a display of His power (see Job 38-40). But the greatest display of His handiwork was the fantastic design and creation of the man and the woman. God is glorified by the heavens and the animals. However, God is on display in a personal way by the man and the woman. This is the foundation of marriage and the family.

How do we know this? In Genesis 1:26-27, Moses writes for us this very thing. He states,

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:26–27, NASB95)

When God spoke within Himself for the creation of a man, He said that He intended to make a man to be His image and likeness. Thus, the man, inherently, would be the glory of God. This is true today according to 1 Corinthians 11:7 and James 3:9. The fact of the matter is, the man was created to display God and that did not change when he fell. He is still the image and likeness of God, however, he has been separated from the glory that accompanied that in the original creation (Romans 3:23). The power of the gospel is to restore that glory, through Christ, to the man and the woman respectively (2 Corinthians 3:18; see Ephesians 4:20-24). This is called sanctification. Sanctification is the restoration of the original glory we were designed to bear. However, this is no longer in Adam, but in Christ, which far exceeds Adam. Therefore, we can truly be sons of God.

In order to be the glory of God, man would have to display the nature of God as well as His character. The summary of all nature and character of God is found in the overall function of the man in that he would rule over the entire earth. God is a ruler. He is sovereign. And, as such, He would give to the man to rule as well. In reality, God would rule through the man as that man would represent Him on the planet. The man would have absolute authority and dominion, but with the character and nature of God Himself on display in him. Thus, there is no room for dictatorship, selfish ambition, cruelty and hatred. This rulership would be commensurate with the nature of God Himself. How glorious!

This foundational requirement of the man would demand multiplication. That is, for the man to exercise dominion over the earth and rule in the fashion that God does from heaven, the man would have to be accompanied by another. There are overtones of the Trinity in this. This is why God says that it is not good for man to be alone. If man is the image and likeness of God, then he cannot be alone since God is three Persons in One. God is singular, but Three. Thus, if the man would be the image and likeness of God, he would have to be more than one, and yet, in some way, still maintain his unity. The solution-put the man asleep, take from his side, fashion a compliment for the man, yet taken from the man. In other words, the man would be two from one. Thus, marriage is the reunification of the two into one. This is, as Paul says, “a great mystery” (Ephesians 5:32). There is a representation of the Triunity of God in marriage. Adam and his wife are one, made of the same essence. Yet, they are two different persons with individual wills, minds, and hearts. However, the essence of marriage is the making of the two into one again in all those things. The relationship of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit were to be on display in the relationship of the man and the woman and then, in time, the children. Thus, the family would be a display of the image and likeness of God. Therefore, when Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is made up of such as children, He is referring to the fact that children are a display of that Triunion of God. It all stems from the original creation. By the way, this basic understanding is the groundwork for a biblical perspective of children, which we will cover in later posts.

Marriage, then, when understood in this light, is sacred. It is holy. It is exalted and it is joyous! So much for the superficial descriptions and so-called quick-fixes of modern psychologists and Christian therapists. Marriage is more than 5 steps of good communication. Marriage is the display of the immense and far-reaching glory of God!

With this foundation, we can then see why the woman would be submissive to her husband just as Christ is submissive to the Father (1 Corinthians 11:3). With this in mind, we can see why children are called to submit to their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3). With this in mind, we can see why fathers are given the responsibility to train their children, as all knowledge and instruction of God should come from the father just as it does the heavenly Father (Ephesians 6:4). And, with this in mind, we can see why there is so much trauma in a home that does not set its sights upon these glorious truths and put this into action.

The glory of God. that is the foundation of the home. The glory of God is the foundation of the family. The glory of God is the foundation of a marriage. Anything less will end up in empty self-made reformation. When will we, the church, return glory to God and pursue Him in our most fundamental components of life?

Over the next number of posts, I will be attempting to develop this “Theology of the Home”, as I call it. The realities that God instilled into this thing called marriage and its resultant fruit of a family are profound. Personally speaking, nothing less will do.

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