Originally posted at http://gephartr.blogspot.com
In a recent conversation I was asked what my opinion is on the status of man and wife, and the “headship” of man. This can be a touchy subject, and I’m pretty sure that many will disagree with me. But here goes.
Starting with the most used scripture for this topic: Ephesians.
Eph 4:23-5:33 (NLT)
“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,
“Awake, O sleeper,
rise up from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.
As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
First, you say that I put in too much of the book. But the book defines the meaning of itself. So what is said prior to the section on submission applies to defining what is meant. That said:
1. Paul is explain how man (male/female) are to become a new creation in Christ Jesus. We are to leave our old ways behind and become righteous.
2. We become righteous by submitting ourselves to the wishes of the Creator (as defined throughout the Scriptures).
3. The Creator does not force us to submit, but asks us to. It is our choice out of our free will.
4. Also, being like Jesus means to forgive everyone their sins. For Jesus came that all may be saved.
5. “And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” So each of us believers are to also choose to submit ourselves to each other.
6. Wives choose to submit to their husbands because he is the head of his family. This submission is shown thru respect for his person, thoughts, actions, etc.
7. Husbands choose to sacrifice everything in order to protect his wife, even as Jesus sacrificed all. Husbands should not care if the wife submits, or cheats, etc. The husband is to choose to sacrifice everything – and as already mentioned above; to forgive one another.
8. A wife and a husband marry and become one person – even as Jesus and the Church are one – even as Jesus and the Father are one.
So, that said, is there a hierarchy of man to woman? Sure, but it is a hierarchy of love and mutual respect. Man (male/female) are created as one. When marriage occurs, they become one. As an example of their “oneness” we are given the image in Genesis of the “oneness” of the Creator (Father, Spirit, and Son). And God said, let us make man in our own image – male and female created he them. We are also given the image of Jesus and the ekklesia – who is made righteous by Jesus taking away all sin thru his blood. So the ekklesia is made “one” with Jesus by his taking our sin, and by his making us more and more like him, until he one day returns and transforms us to be like him (for we shall see him as he is).
So what does that tell us of the status of male and female in a marriage relationship? It tells us that we are equals. It tells us that if we do as we are told, then the other person will mean more to us than we do to ourselves. It means that there is no question of who “ranks higher” in the eyes of the Creator – for the first will be last and the last will be first.
So, why do we think we need to worry about headship again?