- David Fairchild
- Oct 2, 2005
- Series: Colossians
As we have moved along in this book we have seen a beautiful picture of the supremacy and full sufficiency of Jesus the Christ. We have learned that by Jesus “all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Col. 1:16-17). Every single molecule, every atom, every planet in its orbit, every gravitational pull, every black hole, every shooting star, every tide, every breath, every cell that moves and works in our body, every neuron and synapse, every single thing that lives and moves owes its existence and continuation to Jesus the Christ who made it.
We have also learned that Jesus is not only completely, fully, and without dispute supreme, He is also completely, fully and without dispute, fully sufficient for our forgiveness and salvation, and fully able to bring us to God. His supremacy and sufficiency has won a victory over our great enemies- sin, Satan, and death. He has toppled our great idols- money, power, and sex. Since Christ is fully sufficient and supreme, He has created us a new beings, new creatures, that have cast-off our old ways and are new. He has clothed us in new clothes of righteousness which He prepared for us. This has brought us to God, brought us to one another in community, and now we see how his supremacy, sufficiency and victory has brought us together in the context of our family. The central unit of a home- the relationship between the man and woman- is now different and other, holy, new and unique to the rest of the world. It now has the stamp of Christ and the power of the Spirit at work in it to be radically transformed into a marriage which most honors and glorifies our God. Since Christ has given us His peace which rules in our hearts, since we now set our minds on the things above and not the things below, since the word of Christ now dwells richly in our hearts, we are free to live as we were created by Christ to live- we now are able through Christ to take on our true humanity and reflect God’s glory to this world as His equal image bearers.
The Scripture is clear that there is one God, and that this God exists in three persons, the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit.
We see this in Genesis, the book of beginnings, where God the Father Speaks in Genesis chapter one. We know from John 1:1 and Colossians 1:16 that Jesus is the Word of God and the agent of creation, and we know that the Holy Spirit hovered above the water bringing order out of chaos.
Another example is found in Ephesians 1:3-14, where we are told the Father chose and predestined for adoption through the Son Jesus Christ, and we are then sealed by the Holy Spirit.
We also see in Christ’s baptism the Father speaking, the Spirit descending and Jesus on earth as He came in the likeness of men being baptized.
The Scriptures are very clear. Deuteronomy 6:4 says "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
There is one God; Father, Son and Spirit.
They are absolutely equal in every way. They are each eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and each participate in creation, salvation and judgment of this world.
But we know from Scripture that though they are equal yet each have a different role and function.
The Father does not die on the cross. The Holy Spirit is not birthed from the womb of Mary, yet they are still equal though different in respect to what they did and what they do.
This demonstrates that there can be such a thing as equality yet difference in role and function, there can be such a thing as oneness while having more than one person in unity as is true in the image of man and woman.
All conflict, all wars, all social unrest, all suffering at the hand of oppressive power, all gender problems, all crimes, all break up of relationships, all have the same problem- sin. All problems are due to man’s separation from God.
In the beginning God created heaven and earth and all that is in it. The Universe is made by the loving grace of God. Yet different from all creatures, God decides to create man in His own image- that is that he was made for one reason and one reason alone- for God’s glory. He is fashioned with certain qualities and characteristics that only come from God; love, justice, truth, righteousness, mercy, beauty and compassion.
When God was finished with all that He had made, He sees that it is very good. God is pleased with His creation, pleased with His work. God made a garden for man to cultivate and placed him in it. Then for the first time in all creation man said something was not good. What was it? "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18).
God fashions the woman and like a good Father brings her to Adam and gives her to him. Adam is moved to speak the first poetry to the woman “this is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman because she was taken out of the man.” In verse 2:24 we are told that this is the “reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”
And, in perhaps the greatest and most heightened description of satisfaction and joy we are told “the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Gen. 2:25).
Once you understand that picture of God, and you learn that man and woman are to be created in the image of God this makes sense. Without understanding who God is, this is non-sense.
We are a shadow of Gods nature. We carry with us certain attributes that mirror God. We are not little gods but we reflect some of the attributes of God. We as humans created in His image have the potential of showing some of what God is like.
What we see in the Trinity is a difference, what we see in created man in God’s image, man and woman having a difference. That difference does not mean they are unequal. It only means what should be plain and simple to each of us- different.
Our culture struggles with this. They don’t understand how you can be equal yet different. Yet in God they are.
As God is One in Three, equal yet different. So man and woman in the marriage covenant are equal before Him yet different, with different roles and functions.
What we see in Genesis is God creating man and woman. In so doing in His creation, He creates them equal in His eyes and equal image bearers.
A woman does not need to lift heavy weights and eat red meat to be equal with a man before God, nor does she need to be just as skilled in hand to hand combat to win equality with him. Nor does a man need to give birth children to be equal before a woman- as a man I say “praise God!”
They are equal already by the fact God has created them as such.
Then in perhaps the saddest story in all of human history, things go terribly wrong. The woman who was to love God and love her husband, allows herself to enter into discussion with God’s enemy- the serpent. This serpent was cunning and crafty and knew that if he could only get the woman to doubt God, to doubt her husband, to begin to see herself in a light of autonomy- that is, to see herself in a way in which she is independent from God and her husband, able to discern all matters of good and evil on her own, he just might be able to strike a blow to God and to God’s good creation.
The serpent was a hater of God and all that God stood for. God’s love, grace, and beauty, were all things the serpent was jealous of and wanted to possess independent of God. His pride caused a break in submission to the God who made him and he wanted to see the whole of mankind fall into the same trap. His motivation for seeing the woman break God’s spoken command was motivated by pure hatred.
The woman being deceived, ate of the fruit of the tree which God said not to. In that moment of time, her beautiful submission to the Father was now destroyed as she attempted to find out for herself if the lie was true instead of simply believing God. Like all great romantic tragedies, sin affects the one’s closest to you. She gives to the husband, who did nothing about her talking to the great liar, and he eats along with her. Then both saw themselves as naked- they saw themselves as sinful and where shame did not exist, it now dominates the relationship.
This is so sad. Man since this time has attempted to cover himself and his shame with his own works and in doing so, hides himself from God’s voice.
Satan twists what God has said and tells her a lie about God and about herself. He tells her that she would be better off as an individual with autonomy. She would be better off if she were independent. If she separated herself from God, if she separated herself from her husband she would be truly liberated and free.
He tells her that she can be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil which is another way of saying that she would know everything.
She could then make her own decisions, live out her own plan, and determine how she wants to live. She believes the lie and because of sin, she is separated from God, and is separated from her husband.
Then they hide from one another because of their shame of being naked and they hide from God. This state of man and woman out of Christ is the same. They are still trying to hide from each other who they really are, and they are trying to hide from God who knows and sees all things. Foolish isn’t it?
Her sin has made her independent, but it isn’t an independence to brag about. Let your 4 year old rip himself from your grip because they want to be independent and run out in the middle of a busy street and you will see how there is such a thing as a bad independence.
When a husband and a wife are independent and running from each other and from God, it is not a good independence.
It is an illusion of freedom when in reality it is slavery. It is not a comfort, it is a danger.
After the man and woman sin and transgress God’s clear instruction, God curses serpent, the woman, and the man.
In Genesis 3:15 we are told that God curses the serpent and declares that there will be enmity between her seed (who we know in the New Testament is the coming Christ) and his seed, that Christ will bruise his head and we know ultimately crush him, and that the serpent will bruise his heel, he will harm Christ as we read through the Gospels.
God then curses the man and woman, but they are different curses because they have different domains and roles that they work in.
The woman’s primary domain is homeward and the mans primary domain is toward the marketplace.
God curses the man in regards to his marketplace, he curses his work.
God curses the ground underneath him. It will not longer be easy to provide for the family. It will now become difficult to work a job, to feed the kids, to pay for the bills, to buy a home, to plan for a retirement. Amen?
For the woman, her curse is related to her homeward orientation, so her curse is directed towards her children and to her husband.
Genesis 3:16 says the God will “increase her pain and sorrow at birth.” Is this true? Yes it is!
This is why when you see women sitting around talking about the birth of their child; it is almost the same conversation as men sitting around the table at the VFW hall talking about war. The conversation is the same “twenty-four hours in the trenches, almost cost me my life, I’ve got a scar you want to see it?”
A woman preparing for birth is a person preparing for war. It is painful and difficult because of the curse.
In addition she is cursed regarding her husband.
Again in Genesis 3:16 we read that her “desire will be for her husband. And he will rule over you.”
Her desire will be to rule over him.
Some of you are saying you are only trying to help. Don’t fool yourself, you are trying to rule him and God said you would. It is no surprise, it is no wonder, it is no mystery. It is simply a result of sin.
The word that is used for “desire” is te-shew-kaw (teshuwqah), it is the same word that is used in the next chapter in 4:7 when speaking of sins desire to rule over Cain.
In the same way the woman wants to master her husband and rule over him as sin did Cain.
This is how we have gender wars, and feminism, and chauvinism. It is because there is conflict between a man and a woman.
Adam was a silent, passive, coward that stood their while the enemy lied to his wife and he did nothing. Not only did he do nothing; he participated by eating the fruit knowing good and well he was not supposed to. He failed in loving God and in so doing failed in loving his wife.
In 1 Timothy 2, and 2 Corinthians 11, Paul says that Eve was deceived. She believed a lie. She fell into a trap of what was not true.
You could easily make the argument that Eve was trying to help, she didn’t mean to ruin the world. She thought she was doing something good. The effect of breaking God’s law is still punishment, but her reason for doing it may have not been with purely wicked intent.
I say this not for sympathy for Eve, but because I think woman do this often. They sin when they think they are trying to help.
I’m sure you can think of women that thought they were helping their husband and marriage when in fact they were harming it with their actions and words.
I want him to mature, so I’m going to tell him until he dies, at least 375 times per day to “grow up.”
I want him to be more like Christ, so I’m going to tell him constantly that he isn’t and that he really should be.
I want him to read his bible more, so I’m going to ask him as many times as I can remember to check and see if he did. The irony is of course that in her reminding him to read his bible, she is so consumed with him she doesn’t remember herself.
I remember when I used to sit in prayer meetings as an intern pastor and I would get so upset when people weren’t closing their eyes in prayer. The problem was how did I know they weren’t closing their eyes? Yep, mine were open, watching out for those that might have open eyes in prayer.
For the ladies, what I am saying is that there is a good possibility that you are not doing things to harm intentionally, but have been deceived like Eve, by the lies of the “father of lies,” and like Eve think you are helping by believing these lies and trying to apply them to your relationships and life.
Good news- because God made you, you are incredibly valuable. Bad news- you have sinned and therefore you are terribly wicked.
The pattern of wives/husbands, children/fathers, slaves/masters (verses 3:18-4:1) demonstrates a change of emphasis from what would be considered last in this day is now spoken of first. The values of the world are upended and Kingdom values now reign in the life of Christians.
Verse 18- Wives, be subject (submit) to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Expanded parallel: Ephesians 5:22-24 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
Problems in submission-
- Protecting yourself from a failed relationship, so you don’t feel you can submit in case the man leaves.
- Culture tell us that you are to be independent, where as the bible tells to be interdependent.
- Failed examples in our own family and in our current Christian climate.
- Some women are more learned than their husbands. They have had more experience, made more money, etc. They then find it hard to submit to a man that they see as less then.
- If a woman has been a Christian longer than the man. She knows more bible than he does.
- Problems arise when women are not married and have to go out into the workforce and submit to male headship who is not their husband.
- Problems arise when you have had an abusive father, step-father, boyfriends, etc.
- Problems arise when your social circle is all single women (whether Christian or non-Christian). If you ever hope to be married to a godly man, then it is imperative that you take now as the time to prepare yourself as a godly woman. This is the best time.
- Single women should see their submission to Christ as the first and best example of what it means to submit to a man. If you ladies trusted Christ and His sovereignty than you would trust Christ to bring you a man who is worthy to be submitted to. Instead, many young ladies try to go out and find a guy instead waiting upon the Lord. When we live our life with a focus on finding someone, we usually lower the standard because God has moved from our focus and now that person becomes our treasure that we seek. That is idolatry.
There is a difference in someone who is an 18 year old idealist who thinks they have everything figured out, and someone who is in their 30’s who is single and has had to take care of themselves for years. They both respond against this teaching, one responds negatively out of a lack of example, lack of experience, and a culture telling them something different, the other rejects this teaching because
What do we mean by submission?
The very mention of that word "submission" makes many women bristle. In the short time we have, our is to say very briefly what we mean by submission generally, then show where it comes from in Scripture; say what it is not; say what it is; and then answer some objections to it. I’ve given you in the outline a brief definition of submission from John Piper and Wayne Grudem’s book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. I recommend that book to you. Let’s look at that definition.
"Submission refers to a wife’s divine calling to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts. It is not an absolute surrender of her will. Rather, we speak of her disposition to yield to her husband’s guidance and her inclination to follow his leadership."
It’s an excellent starting point for a definition of what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about domination or oppression; we’re talking about something very different.
"The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband, even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God, as is her husband, and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation."
"Being submissive to your husband" means that a wife will willingly submit to her husband’s authority and leadership in the marriage. It means making a choice to affirm her husband as leader within the limits of obedience to Christ. It includes a demeanor that honors him as a leader even when she dissents. Of course, it’s an attitude that goes much deeper than mere obedience, but the idea of willing obedience to a husband’s authority is certainly a part of submission which is clear from verses 5-6."
What submission is not
Submission is not putting the husband in the place of Christ as if the husband is some sort of absolute authority. Two unbelievers have been married, and the wife becomes a believer; she’s a part of the local congregation. What happens? You remember Paul had to deal with this problem in 1 Corinthians 7. What do you do when you have a wife who has been converted and a husband who has not been converted? What do you do in terms of the marital relationship? Peter says in 1 Peter 3, "Look, you don’t obey your husband in the sense of becoming a pagan or rejecting Christ or following him in unbelief. No, you try and win him. Now you try and win him without a word; you try and win him gently and respectfully, and honoring his place as the head of your household, but your submission is not putting him ahead of Christ. In fact, all Christian relationships at the human horizontal level, are lived under the Lordship of Christ who takes priority over all of those relationships. And so, if a parent were to say to a child, "Go steal." The proper biblical response of that child is, "No, sir. Father, I honor you; I will not steal. Jesus tells me not to." Case closed. That’s a proper Christian response to human authority of any sort, whether it’s the government or whether it’s dad or somebody else who is saying, "Go do something that is wrong." Jesus is in charge, and submission is not about putting a husband in the place of Christ.
Submission does not mean giving up independent thought. Isn’t it interesting here that Paul does not say, "Husbands, I want you to go back home and tell those women they better submit."
Submission does not mean that a wife should give up her efforts to influence and guide her husband.
Submission does not mean that a wife should give into every demand of her husband.
Submission is not based on a woman having less intelligence or competence.
Submission does not mean being fearful and timid and cowering for a husband who can strike out in an arbitrary fashion at any point.
The bible is unique in that it is the only work of antiquity that presents women as equally valuable and of equal worth to God. All other religious works paint women as being lesser in value, and not as worthy of God.
Verse 19- Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.
Expanded Parallel: Ephesians 5:25-33 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
Instead of lording over, being a tyrant, being harsh and demanding, bitter and angry. You are to be loving and gentle.
This kind of love is a continuous action. It could be translated “keep on loving.” The love that begin at the start should continue throughout the marriage; it shouldn’t be given away to bitterness. This is supposed to be a deep affection that views the wife as a sister in the Lord.
God designed that a wife’s submission operate within a context of love. In that way, she is protected because a man who truly loves his wife should never force her to submit to something humiliating, degrading, or that violates her conscience. The godly husband loves his wife like Christ loves the church.
Husbands should not be bitter against their wives. They shouldn’t display harshness of temper or resentment towards their wives. They are not to irritate or exasperate them, but rather provide loving leadership in the home. The husband is to seek to find “how he may please his wife,” and pursue “how she may please her husband” (1 Cor. 7:33-34). Equality in worth should breed a longing to please one another. Husbands should want to love their wives and wives should want to respect her husband and submit to his God given role.
What loving is not
Loving is not only sex
Loving is not getting only what you want
Loving is not winning an argument
Loving is not giving in to her ungodly desires
Loving is not lording over her
Loving is not speaking negatively about her to friends
Loving is not comparing her to other women
What loving is
Loving is giving yourself in all ways to her that honors Christ
Loving is gentle
Loving is kind
Loving is forgiving
Loving is not rude
Loving is peaceful
Loving is forgetting wrongs
Loving is seeing her difference as a blessing and not a curse
Loving is seeking to best understand and model the gospel
Loving is wanting to provide and protect her
Loving is wanting to spend time with her, not under guilt or compulsion
Loving is delighting in and desiring your wife
If men and women who are married spent time cultivating their love for God and submission to Christ’s Lordship, they would find themselves less in distress over submission and sacrificial love. When a woman love’s Christ above her husband, she is able to submit freely and willingly to Jesus first, which then empowers her to submit freely and willingly to her husband whom her Father in heaven has blessed her with. If a man loves Christ first, he is then able to receive the love only Christ can give. This then empowers and frees him to live in response to this amazing love and thus share it in abundance with the wife of his youth whom his Father in Heaven has bless him with.
It is only through the gospel of grace that we are able to possess and exercise these two great relational virtues. It is only through Christ’s submission and his faithfulness in love that we are able to submit and love as we ought.
Come to Christ in faith, trust His finished work upon the cross, repent of the lies we have believed and then stand and His friend empowered by His grace to live for His glory.