My brother is taking the next big step in his life, he is getting married. I am thoroughly convinced that marriage is one of the greatest experience anyone can have, because of its design. God designed marriage to be a reflection of Christ’s relationship with His bride, the Church. Therefore, marriage enables one to better understand and know God.
Scripture teaches that wives are to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ¹. This submission isn’t a bad and it is not saying that women are inferior to men. Instead, this command by the Apostle Paul is to fight the curse and its effects on the marriage relationship². Part of Eve’s curse was that her “desire will be for your husband and he shall rule over you.” Contrary to popular belief, the “desire” spoken of is NOT sexual in nature, but rather it is a desire for God-given authority of the man over his family, and as a result the man becomes iron fisted in his rule over his family. This moves right into the next teaching of Scripture; husbands are to love their wife as Christ loved the Church³. Now this command to the husband is actually two-fold, which we see by reading through the rest of the paragraph. First, we are commanded to love our wife in the same way that Christ loves the Church. Second, we are commanded to love our wife as much as we love our own body. I believe this is huge because Paul basically said the same thing in two ways. Christ loved the Church in the most selfless of ways by giving Himself as the propitiation for our sins. Then, because we are a fallen people, Paul restates it in a way that our fallen can grasp. He basically says we are to love our wife with the same kind of selfishness that we love our own body. What this looks like day to day, is by exercising our headship through servant leadership of our family. Instead of lording and ruling our family with an iron fist, we are to lovingly serve them.
To my brothers in the Lord…
Genesis chapter two contains three basic principles regarding man’s God ordain responsibilities in the home4. We find these specifically in verses sixteen through eighteen. These principles are; 1) man ought to work; 2) man ought to be committed to God’s law; and 3) man ought to be committed to the home5. In talking with you and knowing how we were raised, I know that work isn’t something that may be a struggle for you. The thing that I have been learning from this passage is that work isn’t bad nor is it a product of the fall. It is what we were designed for. Being committed to God’s law is one thing that I have had a hard time grasping due to the implications that isn’t taught within our Southern Baptist background. Part of being committed to God’s law and the spiritual leader of our family is to lead our family closer to God. These are some ways that I have found that we do that; leading our family in weekly, private, family worship6; teaching biblical doctrine and truths to our family, both wife and kids; and lastly by submitting to the leadership of a local church.
To my sisters in the Lord…
Pastor Voddie Baucham points out four examples of male headship7 over his family (particularly in regards to him being the head and leader of the home over the wife) seen in Genesis chapter two which are often overlooked. This is especially important for you because biblical womanhood is all but lost in our society and it is something that we must fight to bring back. The four ways that male headship (female submission to this headship) appears is in 1] the woman being made for the man8, 2] the woman being made after the man9, 3] the woman being made from the man10, 4] the woman being brought to the man11, and 5] the woman being named by the man12. Before woman appears on the scheme God makes this observation of Adam, “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him” (emphasis added). So, even though men and women are equal in God’s eyes, this equality does NOT extend to their roles and responsibilities both within the family and within the church body. Often when we hear the word “submission” the idea is a very negative one, however, the submission being referred to is actually willing submission not an oppressive, fear based submission. We know this isn’t the type of submission that was intended because the example of submission that women were given was the Church1, and we know that the church submits to Christ out of a want and desire for His leadership, not out of fear or a “have to” attitude. We must get back the understanding that male leadership is a good thing! It is the very thing that God ordained from the beginning of Creation. Why shouldn’t we celebrate what God has established?
1) “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” Ephesians 5:22-24 (ESV)
2) To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Genesis 3:16 (ESV)
3) “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.” Ephesians 5:26-30 (ESV)
4) “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:15-18 (ESV)
8) “For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.” 1 Corinthians 11:8-9;
“I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” 1 Timothy 2:12-14
9) Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens. Genesis 2:18-19a
10) “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.” Genesis 2:21
11) “And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.” Genesis 2:22
12) “Listen to this again from Wayne Grudem. “When Adam says, ‘She shall be called
woman,’ he is giving a name to her. This is important in the context of Genesis one and
two because in that context the original readers would have recognized that the person
doing the naming of created things is always the person who has authority over the
things.” – Taken from the PDF of Voddie Baucham’s Biblical Headship sermon