Welcome In The Name Of The Father, The Son, And The Holy Spirit.
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.
Our context here in the book of Colossians thus far is the preeminence of Christ (Colossians 1:18) as well as the notion of being raised with Christ and turning our eyes from the earthy to the heavenly (Colossians 3). Here in Colossians 3:18-19 the Apostle Paul teaches the reader what putting on the new self looks like in marriage.
1. The Bible Is Not Anti Woman.
But is the Bible better to men than women? Is the Bible and Christianity patriarchal? Often times I think those on both sides of the debate see what they wish to see in the Bible. They take verses out of context to prove their point while ignoring others, or even exegete passages wrong to prove their point. Yes, God the Father and God the Son are called Father and Son. Jesus was the God-man. The Apostles were men. But the Bible also talks in glowing terms of female Heros like Ruth, Esther, Deborah & Jael (who killed the bad guys and won wars for Israel Judges 4&5) Mary and the rest of the Marys, Lydia, Nympha (Colossians 4), and let us not forget that the Church herself is referred to with the pronoun “Her, She”.
The truth is: The Bible is pro female flourishing, because Christ died for women made in the image of God just as He died for men made in the image of God. If you’re one to keep score: that’s the supposedly patriarchal Jesus dying for women kind.
Indeed, the truth of the matter is….
2. The Leader Dies In Christianity.
submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
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.
When we talk about gender roles and God’s design for marriage all too often the attention is focused on wives submitting to husbands. I think the reason behind this emphasis is people figure submission is the truly unpopular counter cultural idea in today’s culture. The idea is that a wife submitting to her husband is the unfair notion. Much ink has been spilled on the when and why of that notion.
I, however, think more emphasis needs to be placed upon the husband dying.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
I think many more wives would be keen to the idea of submitting to their husbands if there were more husbands who endeavored to be Christ like servants.
These passages are not in the Bible to be used as a man’s trump card when he’s having a disagreement with his wife. These verses are not in the Scripture to enable a man to order his wife to get him a glass of water. Get it yourself. She’s probably busy doing everything else, already.
There are men who love the idea of being the leader. There are women who really chafe under the notion that the husband is the head of the house. What both groups fail to grasp is that in Christianity the leader dies. Christ is the head of the Church. Christ was nailed to a cross for his Bride. That is the only marriage model for Christians.
I don’t hear a lot of men complaining about biblical gender roles. I think there isn’t much complaining because too many emphasize the wife submitting part but not the man dying part. If the emphasis was placed on husbands dying for their brides, there’d be fewer fake complementarians.
So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”
Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.
You’ll never “see” Jesus unless you understand that He is the grain of wheat. You’ll never understand what He is about until you understand that Love is sacrificial.
The Leader In Christianity Dies.
Many Christians wouldn’t know what to do with Romance if it was chilling on their doorstep. There is too much teaching out there in the Christian world that is anti romance. There is this idea that butterflies and swooning is automatically bad. They’re not. It simply depends on what you swoon over. Your definition of Christian marriage is sad if all it is, is gritting one’s teeth and obeying, and serving with a begrudging heart because God says so. Too many marriages are a waste of a good romance, and one thing I cannot abide is the waste of a good romance. That’s not just because my Resplendent Bride is gone, I’ve always felt that Christians have neglected the art of romance. Why does romance matter? At the heart of a good romance is sacrifice. The knight saves the damsel in distress but he has to first slay the dragon.
Too many men see marriage as a way to lock in a life of comfort at the expense of a woman. We all too often hear stories of men, married for years to a woman who has given him children and the years of her youth in devotion, who abandons his family for another woman. When you spend as much time as I have in cancer treatment centers you hear heart breaking stories of men and women who abandon their job as caretakers. When the going gets tough they get going. Why? Because too many men never have had to prove they’re men before they get the benefits of marriage. In the broader culture men no longer have to wait for sex until after marriage. Men get to cohabitate. They play house before marriage. I don’t say this to make people feel guilty or to make people feel like their marriage is doomed because they didn’t go about in God’s way: the cross has abundantly more grace than that. What I’m saying is that our society no longer expects a man to suffer, or go without before marriage, and then wonders why it is that he can’t suffer for his bride during marriage. There is no point in modern romance where the man has to prove his wherewithal to his bride. He gets sex immediately. He gets to move in with her, or maybe ever her parents, he doesn’t have to have a means of providing for her, she often becomes his sugar mamma.
And people wonder why he leaves her when she gets sick.
He never has to prove himself. These scenarios sorely lack romance and sacrificial love.
God makes the husband the head of the house, and that entails taking up a cross and marching to your death if need be.
In my own marriage dying for my bride meant a dying to myself through service to her.
If cancer had been a bear, I could have thrown myself in front of him and told her, “run”!
If cancer had been a home invasion I could have thrown myself in front of the bad guy and told her, “run”!
But that’s not how cancer works. You can’t trade places.
My wife and I talked about theology before we got married. People always say compromise is what makes a marriage works. I think that is silly. I think what makes a marriage work is making sure you’re on the same page before you get married. I think what makes a marriage work is to not hear what you want to hear, and to not see what you want to see. It’s called brutal objectivity.
Being single is not a sin, nor is it a failure. Far too many have picked a certain age by which they desire to be married and whomsoever happens to be in front of them when they reach that age is whom they marry. Courting has been reduced to musical chairs.
In my marriage I was the head of the house under the authority of Christ. My Resplendent Bride and I were on the same page when it came to the doctrine of headship. There was no question about it.
What being the head of my wife looked like was being a caretaker after she was diagnosed with cancer. It wasn’t hard to serve her because I loved her. Love makes the difference, If love be sacrificial like Christ’s love.
Being the head of my family looked like laundry, and dishes, and cooking, and keeping a food diary, and counting her calories, and preparing her feeding tube, and injecting her medicine through her port, and going to the pharmacy, and bathing her, and carrying her, and sitting beside her on the floor of the bathroom next to the toilet because the nausea wouldn’t go away. We’d weep together.
It’s opening the door for her and holding her hand as you walk through endless hospital corridors because you love her, and she is too weak to walk by herself. It’s pushing her in a wheel chair. It is cleaning the house because company is coming, and she likes it a certain way.
Headship isn’t about your wife serving you, it is about the husband serving his wife as Christ served the Church.
Marriage in the final analysis is a mirror of Christ and the Church.
We Christians are helpless, yet Christ stays by our side.
3. Husbands are under authority too.
1 Corinthians 11:3, 11-12
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.
Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman;
for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.
Men, we will give an account for the leadership of our wives to our head, Christ. We shall all give an account before our Lord as to whether or not we were kind to our wives. There shall be a reckoning over whether or not we took the time to cultivate her heart in the Word of God. We will answer for not taking the time to pray with her.
Men, the covenant of marriage makes her your home, but Christ alone is Lord of life & death. If He takes your home, home, God remains yours.
Husbands: Your headship ends where Christ’s begins. What this means for the wife is that you need only obey your husband in as much as he obeys God’s good law.
We are all under the headship of Christ Jesus the Lord.
Marriage is tough, and the endless grace the Lord Jesus won on our behalf at the Cross is our only hope. His grace is enough for our failures and negligence, and His grace is enough to change the course of our marriages. His grace is sufficient for the marrieds, the singles, and the widowers.