We are looking at Gender Based Violence in the shape of “Sixteen Days of Activism against the Abuse of Women and Children” in South Africa. In yesterday’s Note, I tried to set the stage of how gruesome some men might be, yet at the same time seeking to set a Biblical understanding of the roles of men and women in preparation to deal with the carrot I am dangling before you:
Mk 12:29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Today, although already implied, I want to speak about the purpose of marriage.
1) God’s design for marriage is for blessing. When God said
Ge 2:18 “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him”
He was not giving man the idea of personal pleasure as in a selfish manner. God did not create the female for male pleasure as the only instant of female existence! God had both male and female pleasure and happiness in mind. No man can misinterpret this verse to say God made the female for me and my pleasure and luxury! Too many men have this idea that “woman” was created to be a hostess in the lounge, a cook in the kitchen and a lover in the bedroom. This unfortunate understanding leads to anger and aggression followed by abuse when the “man” cannot get his way. Part of the blessing is man being able to create his own home.
Ge 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. 25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Verse 24 is extremely profound. There are three elements to it.
(1) The leaving of the parents’ home. This implies the creation of a separate and new household. Although in some cases it is possible, the general rule is that there cannot be two cooks in the kitchen. Where there are two husbands and two wives living in the parents’ home, friction and unhappiness will follow. The reason for this is that all too often we see sin destroying love.
(2) The husband being united to his wife means they are inseparable. There is no thought of separation, divorce or unsolvable unhappiness in the home. They make it work because they know this institution is God’s not man’s. It is for this reason God says he hates divorce. (Malachi 2).
(3) Within this loving, caring, faithful union the husband and wife enjoy healthy intimacy. Lust and aggression are excluded. Other partners are excluded (even by way of fantasy or suggestion). The two together, within this monogamous union, enjoy each other for each other’s pleasure, without shame, resistance or calculation. Marriage was design for mutual blessing.
2) God’s design for marriage is for procreation.
Ge 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”
Within a healthy intimate union, a wife may fall pregnant and children may be raised in a loving, kind, happy family. The concept of “fruitful, increase and fill” implies duplication. Godly, loving and happy parents raise their children up to duplicate themselves. God requires healthy families to be reproduced for the benefit of the planet and His Kingdom. Verse 28 is all about prosperity … not just for one family but for the race! 3) God’s design for marriage is for complementarianism. God’s design for the husband and wife is that they complete and complement each other within the ambit of mutual submission.
Eph 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Because of the Lord Jesus, we are able to put aside our sinful “wants” and live together in harmony. This does not remove the loving headship of the husband in the home. Nor does it cancel out that God appoints a male as an elder and teaching elder to lead His Church. As said earlier, the husband and the wife are equal in every aspect except as head of the home and church because, like with the Godhead, a leader is necessary … and the concept of Father as head of the Godhead implies that the father (husband) in the home is to be the loving, caring, providing, protecting … a godly leader. In Biblical Christianity, both patriachalism and hierarchicalism mindsets that assign more basic roles to men than women are not Biblical. Often the question arises … “What about egalitarianism?” This view sees men and women totally equal in every sphere, especially in marriage and in ministry. Complementarianism stresses that although men and women are equal in personhood, they are created for different roles. Egalitarianism also agrees that men and women are equal in personhood but holds that there are no gender-based limitations on the roles of men and women, meaning there is no head to the home and a woman can be an elder or teaching elder in the Church. Personally I believe that the complementarian approach is Biblical because of what I have said about the Godhead and many supporting Scriptures.
4) God’s design for marriage is for protection. The word submission is the most misunderstood Biblical term in the world and the Church.
Eph 5:22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Why does the Church submit to Jesus Christ? I hope by now you understand the answer … headship … lordship. Submitting to Jesus’ Lordship is the greatest protection the Church will ever know. In the same way when the Christian wife submits to her husband (whether he is Christian or not), is her acknowledging God’s design for the marriage, home and family. She is not submitting as a lesser or when he demands unbiblical things be done. Her submission is honoring the lordship God places her under for her protection, provision and care. We are far from done, but are you able to see a godly strategy developing for the marriage and the family? Tomorrow we will consider the husband, children and father (parents) before exploring the carrot I’m dangling before you to get a healthy understanding why abusing women and children, be it in the family or outside of the family, be it physically, emotionally, financially or otherwise is totally wrong and wicked in God’s eyes.
Our Father, You who are the Head of the Godhead, yet all are equal, help Your people to grasp how fundamental for all life it is to follow You. Amen.