A Great Mystery

March 20, 2013

With some of the other Scriptures being given to me, I realized that I could go into the Power of Holy Women Part 95. Since Luther had 95 theses I figured one set of that amount is enough. The titles may be changed, but we are going to continue for a couple of more weeks on women themes.

Genesis was the first mention of the husband and wife roles and man as head. Proverbs showed us the liberty of a woman within that kind of role and the power and influence she had.
It was brought up that the New Testament teaches something different. I disagree. The passages we are looking at now are the definitive instructions not only on family life, but also workplace relationships. We will still see order and a chain of command, if you will, in all of these relationships.

Paul has to be the champion of writing long sentences. I start in verse 17 because verse 21 that introduces submission is the final thought of the sentence starting in verse 17.

17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

The topic is the will of the Lord and wisdom. He then goes on to list examples of that will. They are four; be filled with the spirit, make melody in your heart, give thanks and submit one to another. To not understand that these are part of being in God’s will is to be unwise. This is another way of Paul giving his, “Brethren, I would not have you ignorant” exhortations.

18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

We have no problems saying Amen the fact that being drunk with alcohol is not very profitable. We long for the filling of the Spirit. Being totally controlled by the Holy Spirit like the drunk is controlled by booze is really our ultimate goal as a Christian. Then and only then can we truly be walking like Christ because our sinful natures are under submission to the Spirit and He will not lead us into a path that Christ would not take nor lead us to act in any way contrary to the nature of God. On this point, we raise our hands and sing Glory!

19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

We have no problem with the second. We know that it is uplifting to the soul to sing scripture and inspirational songs. We listen to our CDs and radios and sing along finding strength in the truths we sing. At least we find that in the songs that do contain truth and not just stuff that can sell in both the Christian and Secular market.
It is somewhat ironic that Baptists who were once against singing in the church now have a great percentage of the hymnal and music market. The premises were that women are to be silent in the church. Men can’t carry a tune in a basket and it says that we are to make melody in our hearts and not in our mouths. The last one sounds a bit like an M&M commercial. Most of us would not agree with their analysis and would fight to our CD for our music. So, Paul has made two points we agree on.

20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Point three we also would have no problem with at least in theory. We are not always as grateful as we should be and definitely not thankful. We know we need to work on it so we have no problem with being thankful as part of God’s will for us.
Ah, but point four, there is the rub as Shakespeare might have put it. This submission stuff for Americans that have their rights and won’t have them denied pretty well chaps our hides.

21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

5293 hupotasso (hoop-ot-as’-so); from 5259 and 5021; to subordinate; reflexively, to obey: KJV– be under obedience (obedient), put under, subdue unto, (be, make) subject (to, unto), be (put) in subjection (to, under), submit self unto.

Some theologians teach that verse 21 actually teaches a mutual submission or a mutual respect concept. I submit unto you and you submit unto me. It really is a military type term and conveys the idea of submitting to the appropriate authority or chain of command and giving the respect due the position. The following verses use the same word and there is no such mutual submission concept being taught in any of them. There is no precedence for any such teaching.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (KJV)

1 Pet 2:13-15
13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: (KJV)

1 Pet 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (KJV)

Heb 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (KJV)

1 Cor 16:15-16
15 I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)
16 That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with
us,and laboureth. (KJV)

Do a Young’s concordance search in the New Testament under the word subject and you will see that devils are subject or in submission to the twelve (Luke 2:51). I do not see a situation there where there is mutual submission or respect. When we studied tongues we saw that the spirit of the prophets are subject to the prophets (I Cor 14:32). There is not a mutual rule or control there either. One rules the other submits or is subject.
The Bible teaches far more order and authority than we like to think as Americans. We want a more egalitarian or democratic concept. It is not there. While we are equal before God, He has established order among us.
We believe that He ordains governments and we are to be subject to their rules as long as they do not contradict His. To have a national order, there must be order within families or homes. We are told to submit ourselves to pastors and elders.  If he has ordained order for nations and churches, why do we have such a problem for the core unit of both churches and nations? Neither group is efficient or godly without godly families. No family is efficient or godly without having individuals who are so and fulfill their respective roles and responsibilities within that family.

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Wives are only submissive to their own husbands and not every other man with which they have contact. That might seem obvious, but there are preachers that teach that if the wife has an unsaved or carnal husband then she should obey the pastor. This is not biblical. That is how cults work by breaking down God given roles and authorities and establishing their own. Remember the garden? Also, that is what Satan started in the first place when he said he would establish his own throne and be like the most High (Isa 14:14).
I cannot explain away the submission as unto the Lord in verse 22. I realize we live in a society where our President wants to redefine words and play lawyer Scrabble and make up a few definitions as he goes, but what does common sense understanding give you when you think of submitting unto the Lord? I do not mean our practice of the concept because we are not very good at it. What does God mean when He tells us to submit unto Him? When you have that you have the explanation of the verse.
We discussed the headship being established in Genesis and this is a New Testament repeat of the concept with the description of the spiritual analogy it fleshes out in verse 23. The husband is like Christ and wife is like the Church. Heavy stuff to say the least for both husband and wife.
Verse 24 not only drops a heavy load on the married couples it also convicts the fire out of we Americans. We are to be subject unto Christ in EVERY THING. Be honest, how much is that happening in your and my life let alone the life of the Church? We look for loopholes and ways to justify our disobedience. Everything means everything or else the word means nothing.
I confess my own failure at being a completely submissive wife of Christ. As a man, the concept itself is tough enough to grasp, but even more difficult to perform. While I understand your hesitations and issues involved in this matter, I cannot escape the truth of my responsibility or yours. We can only seek His wisdom and grace to perform that which we should do.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

Okay, ladies here is the moment you have been praying for during the whole series. Here is where the rubber meets the road for the man. While some may strut themselves and abuse the concept of headship I sure do not want to be in their shoes. When they abuse their headship and destroy the analogy of it they misrepresent the Lord and portray Him as an egotistical, selfish, controlling despot instead of the One who gave His life for the one He loved.
I have plenty of problems and sins, but I for sure do not want that one!! We do enough damage to the Kingdom through our willful disobedience and in essence misrepresent the Family’s name. However, by the sheer impact of this role on wives, children, church and the nation this is possibly the worst thing we can mess up. There are no degrees of sin with God, but with man to lose your family has to be the worst thing that can happen to you. People will forgive many things easily, but a man who does not support or care for his family is not easily forgiven.
The respect you lose is hard to be regained. It is also one of the hardest things to repair if the man repents. Sometimes the damage is irreparable without a mighty move of God’s Spirit and outpouring of His love and grace.
I say all that as a challenge to men who want to do right and as a rebuke to the ones who abuse their headship.  It is a heavy responsibility. It cost Christ a great deal of suffering and shame and death to redeem His Church in love. He sweat drops of blood as He prayed before His death. It is not a lark or Sunday School picnic where you win all the goodies. It takes sacrifice, hard work and self-discipline to be an average biblical head. It takes death to self to be the best one. She is your responsibility and the one you cherish like your own body. You seek her best interests and her spirituality like the Lord does for the Church. You want her to be the best she can be in Christ. You want her to fulfill all her potential in the areas where God has gifted her. Christ called us his friends and she is to be yours. The Church is also Christ’s servant and she is your helpmeet, but Christ washed the feet of His servants. You are not to wipe your feet on her!!!

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

We come now to the great mystery and the bottom line. As Eve was taken from Adam’s rib and was of his flesh and bone so also are we members of Christ body and one with Him! Can someone shout, “Glory!”? I don’t think it gets any better than this!!!
A man leaves his mother and father. Make sure you do that. Once you establish a family unit you leave Mom and Dad out of it. Cut the apron strings and become men and women. You take on the responsibility and you handle it with God’s help. Childhood is over and running to Mommy and Daddy with every problem was not what God meant by leaving and cleaving.
One flesh relationships are far more than a physical oneness. You each literally become half of one person. The correct statement when introducing your spouse would be, “Here is my other half.” The whole is only as good as the parts to its sum so there is no better half.  If I cut a person in half they will surely die. This is what makes divorce so serious. Once God has made you one there can only be pain and death in separating. Even if it is a “friendly” divorce each partner will feel that tearing sensation inside and have pain and a void that may last a lifetime unless God heals.
This is another reason why a despotic husband or a wife not in biblical submission creates a problematic marriage. If I take my right hand and hit myself on the left side of the head my right side will still react to the pain. If I hit myself hard enough both sides will die. I would be considered demented and rightly so. A couple that does not understand the one flesh relationship or their spiritual roles are doomed to great pain and usually death because the left hand is beating the right side and the right side is beating the left. It just does not work. You are to be joined body, mind, soul and through Christ in spirit. As your physical body is only healthy when all its components work for the good of the one, your marriage will not work unless you become one and work towards the goals given you by God.
While we are on the subject of marriage, I wish to state a personal conviction. The hyphenating trend we have I believe to be in spirit a violation of the one flesh principle. Sears-Roebuck was a corporation shared by two families. The hyphenated name to show that relationship was suitable. A man leaves his family and cleaves unto his wife. The word actually means glued. They become ONE family not a merger of two separate entities for the sake of business or legitimacy of seed and sex. I do not call the right side of me Ron and the left side by my middle name. Man is one side and woman is the other side of the one flesh. That union should be represented by one name as an outward sign of that spiritual and physical unity.
The tradition of the woman taking the man’s name sufficed for a very long time. It is only called into question now in these last days where everything is questioned and most everything sane is rejected. If it is such a loathsome thing for a woman to take the name of her husband then both of them should choose a name they like and change their names to that. Instead of Smith-Wesson change your name to Gunn. It would better serve the spirit of the one flesh principle. This is my conclusion and conviction based upon my understanding of the principle.
Chapter divisions were created by men to help the flow of reading and to aid in memorization. The first nine verses of Chapter 6 continue to show God’s order in the family and the workplace.

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

5219 hupakouo (hoop-ak-oo’-o); from 5259 and 191; to hear under (as a subordinate), i.e. to listen attentively; by implication, to heed or conform to a command or authority: KJV– hearken, be obedient to, obey.

I would guess that these are some of the first verses we teach our children. We want order in our home and expect obedience from our children because we created them. We teach and discipline them because we love them. If we have more than one, we love them equally even though we may treat them differently or have different expectations for them based upon their temperaments and gifts. It is not an issue of equality. It is a matter of submission. The word obedient comes from the same root word as submit in verse 21. Their role in the family is to be submissive to their parents and to learn from them.
If they respond correctly to this role they will have a good life. Why? Because by obeying parents they learn submission to God and other temporal authorities and this will bring them success instead of trials. God also throws in another benefit of long life. Submission can be a good thing.

4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Note that this is directed to the fathers, not the mothers. Fathers are to be the main disciplinarians befitting their role as head. This must be done in love and consistency or else the children will be provoked to wrath because of their insecurity in their father’s love and confusion over what the rules are.

5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the
flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto
6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing
the will of God from the heart;
7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive
of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

Servants are be obedient to their masters as children are to their parents or to submit to their masters like wives to husbands. Again this is not to be please men, but rather to serve Christ and not as one that has to be constantly supervised (eyeservice). They are to do this with singleness of heart. This is how a couple in a one-flesh relationship is to serve God. We must all submit to each other within our roles to do the will of God, which takes us back to our topic in verse 17. We are to do this in good will. The word means to do our work in benevolence, kindness and even conjugal duty. We do this for the Lord.
I don’t see any room here for unions. Paul tells us in another place that we are to be obedient to the good boss and the bad boss knowing that our ultimate Boss for whom we work is God. Since we work for God it is not important whether we are bond or free, labor or management our reward comes from God.

9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening:  knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him. (KJV)

And here we end with the masters or heads. They are not above the law because they answer to God and he has no respect for persons in that titles neither impress nor intimidate him. Masters will get their reward if they serve God the same way the servants serve them. They also must care for their servants as God cares for His. Threats and a reign by fear are not tolerated. God does not function that and neither should those who answer directly to Him like the masters, husbands and pastors.
In summary, what does it mean to do the will of God and to submit yourselves one to another? Keep the roles and the order God has established. Wives submit to husbands. Children submit to parents. Servants submit to Masters. All submit to God. God promises great rewards to those who walk in obedience to His will. May He make us willing to do His will and do it correctly.


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