Colossians 3:18 – 4:6

A QUICK WORD

Like last week, sometimes we read the Bible and realize that our lives do not properly reflect God’s perfect Word.  In these cases, our first thought is to try and justify our behaviors and talk ourselves out of the realities of God’s vision for His creation.  We say things like, “ahhh, that’s just an old idea for people living back then, or, that probably doesn’t mean what it says anyway.”  The correct response however is not to devalue God’s Word, but instead to take an honest look in the mirror and repent of our sins.  We should be thankful that God loves us enough to show us where we are lacking so we can be changed by His Word and better follow Him and reflect His will in this world.  As we discuss the household codes of Christian marriages, we must firmly acknowledge that God’s way for marriage is better than ours and the standard for our future lives.  We may not properly reflect Christian marriage at this time, but we honor God by striving to properly reflect His will in the future.

MARRIAGE IS A GOSPEL ISSUE

In our day and age of gender and sexual confusion, marriage can be a difficult pill to swallow.  Christian marriage does not reflect any of the virtues of our culture.  The Biblical household codes hold us to a standard that seems completely foreign to the world we live in.  However, Christian marriage is more than just a New Testament conviction.  It is the revealed mystery of the Gospel itself (Eph. 5:31-33).  Marriage is a Gospel issue and properly reflects the unique relationship between Jesus and His bride, the church.  When we devalue Christian marriage… We devalue the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must be strong and courageous to boldly proclaim God’s perfect vision for the union of male and female in this world. When people see proper Christian marriages, they see a reflection of the beauty of the Gospel itself.

EQUAL AND DIFFERENT

Paul clearly teaches that different roles are given to husbands and wives within marriage.  Many believe it is sexist to value such roles in our current world system.  However, God has given us the greatest example of how equality can be upheld while different functions are performed.  He has done this through His revelation of Himself.  God is triune.  He is a community of one (Deut. 6:4).  The word “one” in Hebrew is “echad.”  This is the same word used in Genesis 2:24 where God teaches us that Christian marriage is where a man and woman become “one” flesh.  There were two, and in marriage there is only a community of one.  In this oneness, equality is never an issue, for God, or for humanity.  God, revealed as Father, Son, and Spirit, are all treated equally as God throughout scripture (Philippians 2:5-11, Acts 5:3-4).  In the same way, male and female both retain equal dignity, honor, and worth as image-bearers of God (Gen. 1:27).  While this equality is never diminished… Different roles are provided for both, members of the triune Godhead, and male and female within marriage.

Among the Trinity, It is the Father who wills (Eph. 1:3-5).  It is the Son who becomes flesh and gives Himself to save the lost (John 1:14, Romans 5:8).  It is the Spirit who is sent to point everyone to Jesus (John 15:26, I Cor. 12:3).  There is no jealousy or animosity within the Godhead as to the roles they received.  They gladly work together to fulfill their plan.  The Spirit never says, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus (think Brady bunch)… When is it going to be my turn to shine!”  Jesus is never jealous that the Father is revealed to be higher than He (I Cor. 11:3).  They are all God, and all one, and all equal… Yet they fulfill different roles that appear to be subordinate to one another.  Theologians call this “functional subordination.”  The trinity is completely equal, yet takes different roles upon themselves to achieve their will.

This same principle is seen in Christian marriage.  The female is not less than the male.  God is not sexist.  However, she is given the role of “helper,” which is the same role given to the Holy Spirit among the Trinity (Gen. 2:18, John 14:16).  The primary functions of the female is to continue human life on planet earth through child bearing, and respecting the headship of the male within marriage (the way that the church respects the headship of Christ).  It is not by chance that our culture has taught women the very opposite.  Part of the curse for sin is that the woman would not want to fulfill her role and instead take the mans role (Gen. 3:16).  This rebellion is clearly seen today as women murder their children via abortion and claim it’s their right to lead their homes and even to lead the church. However, leadership is clearly a role given to the male throughout Scripture.  This does not make the male better than the female.  He is just given a different role and responsibility.  He has been given a stronger frame (I Peter 3:7).  He is to use his strength to protect and provide for the female and their family.  He is to use his strength to love his wife, being gentle with her, as he meets her needs.  In this way the gospel is reflected, because Jesus, being strong where we are weak, loves us enough to come to our rescue and fully give Himself so we could benefit from His sacrifice.  Chauvinism is wrong and a sin… Men are not better than women. Feminism is wrong and a sin… Women are not better than men.  We are equals, who in the economy of God have been assigned different roles and responsibilities on this earth.  As Christians, we live within God’s design for marriage and we reject all cultural forms that set themselves up against God’s design.

Study Questions

Why is it so important in our current culture to hold up God’s family values for all to see?

How can you defend proper gender roles and Christian marriage in a way that others will find appealing and not repulsive?

Talk about some practical ways that a wife can submit to her husband?

Talk about some practical ways that a husband can love his wife?

Discuss the Biblical role of children in these verses.  How can we teach our children their role without discouraging them?