60 Seconds On Men and Women

  
You honor neither women nor their Maker by treating them as if they are identical to men.  Men and women are both made in the image of God, both reflect His beauty and glory, and (if believers in Jesus) are both co-heirs of eternal life.  

But they are not identical.  

A husband is called to honor his wife as the weaker vessel.  He is called to love her as her head as Christ loved the church, for whom He is head.  He is to manage the household of which she is a (vital) part.

He is called to these things.  

And he will not do them, will not even understand them, if he has been deceived into thinking his wife is exactly the same as he is, and that she is called to exactly the same purposes.  

I think the cultural confusion and deceit on what men and women are has spun out in a few different ways.  For instance, a man who knows (and loves) the truth about what he is and should be and what a woman is and should be is a man more likely to hold the door for a woman and a man more likely to lead his wife and daughters in prayer.  But a man who does not know (or hates) those truths is a man who has made himself primed and ready to watch strange women be debased on the  internet or to passively observe the disintegration of his marriage.  “Women are the same as men, remember?” Satan can whisper.  “No need to protect them and no need to step up to the plate at home.”  

Gender lies are not the only cause of the rampant pornography use in American men or of American divorce (obviously), but I think that they are, for many, a cause.  Our culture should call men to be men, hold them accountable to it, and then hold them in honor when they behave as men should.  But at the moment it seems to have a problem at that very first level:  It doesn’t really know (or want to admit) what men are to be.  

Men and women are not identical.  It does not honor a porcelain vase to call it a dining room table and then take a handsaw to it.  

Men and women are designed, and their designs reflect the good purposes of a great God.  

Here’s hoping (and praying) our culture recovers a sense of wonder at just how good.  

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What a Good Marriage Looks Like

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God created marriage, and when it conforms to His ways it’s wonderful.

There is only one perfect marriage between humans described in the Bible (though it didn’t stay perfect for long), and it is the first one He created.

These are some things we learn from God telling us that story in Genesis 2:

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”

God created a man, a male human, in His image, and then He gave Him a job. A task for God’s image bearing son, in God’s perfect world.

“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'”

God decreed and defined it as not good that this man not have a helper. So He lovingly decided to make a complementary helper so that Adam would not be alone.

“Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.”

This man was given authority, by the only one who can give authority, to name parts of creation and work God’s perfect garden. But none of the animals of the garden was suitable enough to be his helper.

“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. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.'”

God made the first woman from the first man’s rib, made a second human creation from His first one, to be a helper fit for him. And then Adam, who had been given authority to name the animals, named this creation “woman,” and God honored that name.

God’s sinless man was clearly struck by her, as all men should be with their wives. And Adam saw himself as (a) having God-given authority in the relationship, and (b) bonded to her in love.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”

God created marriage. He made it a loving, sexual, lifelong relationship between a man and a woman. They were and are to enjoy it, in the Lord. And He gave and gives the man authority to serve the living God and to represent Him in a unique way in that relationship.

And that carries responsibilities with it, because for the rest of the Bible he refers to the sin Eve kickstarted as Adam’s.

So a good marriage is one that seeks to replicate God’s first and only sinless one.

And seeks to model what the New Testament tells us Adam and Eve and Prince William and Kate and you and me and our spouses are all only images of anyway: Christ and His church.

A good marriage looks like a man and a woman doing God’s will together. Him exercising his uniquely authoritative and responsible role given by God. Her submitting to God first and him second. They love each other and enjoy each other and rest on God’s grace for each other so that they are unashamed. They love one another faithfully and sexually and sacrificially. They do it all to honor and obey God.

And they do it for life.

A good marriage is a marriage that reflects God’s purposes, design, and character.

God made marriage.

Trust Him. He is impossibly good.

P.S.

Some closing New Testament light on this passage:

“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” 1 Timothy 2:12-13

“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. 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. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

Ephesians 5:22-33

Father, Husband, King, Son

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God describes Himself, in the Bible and through His Son Jesus, as Father, Husband, and King.

If you believe in the Jesus of the Bible, the God who saves by the Gospel of Christ, that is what you have.

You have a God who grieves and is angry over His unfaithful wife (meaning the people who have begun to love things more than Him) in Ezekiel.

A God who is exalted as King of kings in song and prayer throughout the Old Testament.

A God who Jesus (God Himself as Son) almost constantly refers to as “Abba” (similar to “Daddy”) or “the Father.”

No, God isn’t biological; He is Spirit. But He gets to describe Himself. We don’t have the authority to tell God who He is. And he repeatedly uses these male phrases and images.

And He uses them, by the way, having no problem offending people’s ancient sensibilities. In those Ezekiel passages, He tells the Jews that they are essentially prostitutes. In graphic terms. Jesus Himself called people evil and said they were serpents. God in both Testaments tells His people not to, in many ways, be like their times and the cultures of those around them.

So God doesn’t use male imagery to describe Himself because He was worried about overly offending or shocking the ancient mindset.

No, He is clear in the Bible that He speaks truth and cannot lie.

So God is Father, Son, and Spirit. God is the Son who gave Himself to be crucified for those who would believe in Him. And that Son took on the flesh of a male, Jesus of Nazareth.

Fully capable of revealing Himself as He pleases, when He pleases, this is what God said and did. In order to help us know and love and be blessed by Him, this is what He tells us.

This is how God is. This is who God is.

And so my gentle but firm point is this: It is unchristian, unbiblical, ungodly to be ashamed of these parts of God’s character.

Every generation runs from some part of God. Forgets some part of God. Twists some part of His Word or His Son or His Gospel.

One generation may forget His tender mercy.

One His passionate, furious, jealous love for His people.

Another may deny His wrath or judgment.

Another His perfection and holiness.

Some deny His sovereignty.

But one thing 21st century America will, I think, turn hard against is the fact that God is uniquely Father, Son, and Spirit. That God is He.

Both men and women are made in His image, both are co-heirs (when they trust in Christ). Men and women are both valued by and used by God.

But He is not Mother, Daughter, and Spirit.

God is who He says He is, and each generation and each individual has a responsibility to Him to worship the true God as He is. But we all, myself included, have a tendency to whitewash what we don’t like in reality. Psychologists call it “denial.” The Bible refers to it in many ways, but the most obvious is “lying.”

It is simply lying about God to say that He is not the Father. That He is some sort of mother or He is somehow both (or neither).

God has characteristics of all the goodness He put in mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, husbands an wives. After all, He made them in His image.

But He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the God who is Father, Son, and Spirit. The Bridegroom who will come for His bride.

And He is a beautiful, passionate, holy, loving, perfectly righteous God.

God is wonderful..

Gender and Rebellion Against God

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God designed both maleness and femaleness, and God designed us individually as males and females.

God authored gender.

He didn’t do it because someone forced His hand (no one can). He didn’t do it as a response to sin (when He started maleness and femaleness there was no human sin). He did it out if His own beautiful, perfect, creative, glorious will.

From Genesis:

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it… 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 and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 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. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

From this we know at least one thing clearly: God made man and told him to tend His garden, and since it was not good for him to do it alone He made woman to be his helper.

The New Testament repeats this: “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).

The reason that you don’t see God inviting men to marry men or have romance with them, or saying that gender is a flexible thing you can choose is not that God was just playing to an ancient audience that was sadly behind the times.

Christ was never afraid to speak unpopular truth to people who loved their cultures more than His Word. If you read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, you’ll find a Jesus who cares far more about people’s souls than their feelings. Who cares far more about what’s true than what’s trendy.

No, the reason you don’t see those things in the Bible is that the Bible assumes and states that God authored gender, that He defines it, and that He assigns it. He made Adam Adam, and He made Eve Eve. And it was good and beautiful and a reflection of His character and His awesomeness. It reflects Him and draws attention to Him (especially when redeemed and made clean by Christ).

Again from the New Testament: “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.

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. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

God breathed, created, spoke man. And from Adam He created woman. The God who designed light and and space and sound waves made male and female in His image.

He created one for one thing and one for another. One to tend a garden and the other to help him. One gender primarily to give himself for his wife and love her and wash her by the Word, and the other gender primarily to submit to her husband (though both also do in ways submit to each other) and be cleaned and, like 1 Peter 3 says, be gentle.

Yes, God made each person to be different. Some, he says, are like an eye. Others like an ear. Others like a hand.

But He also made each of us either a male or a female. And when we rebel against what He made those to be, we rebel against Him.

Against a good Father who knows what’s best. And against a Lord who has all authority to create.