Male and female God created in his image
Gen 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.” Gen 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” When God divided Eve from Adam, God also divided the transferable attributes which he had placed in Adam between them both appropriately. Every character trait and attribute which is represented in humanity came from God’s person when he created them. Only united together in marriage between a man and a woman do we have a picture of the unity of the Godhead represented. To paraphrase one author, in the creation of the first pair to reflect God’s personhood back at him he says “if Adam is a picture of God’s body, then Eve is a picture of God’s face” (Not that God has a physical body as such). So this week let’s talk about who God is in the picture of marriage between men and women. In The Fall, that picture was messed up and now sin and selfishness work to destroy that beautiful picture. Thus Peter gives us a glimpse here of how to repair our marriage relationships within Christianity. And thus our marriages can be a testimony of the unity of God.
Context: Follow Christ’s example
1 Peter 2:13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16 live as servants of God. 17 Show proper respect to everyone… 21 because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
Wives and Husbands
1 Pet 3:1Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. 7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Who are you Lord?
I AM the God who created marriage. I AM the Triune God. The unity of my persons within the Godhead is exemplified to the world in every marriage between a man and a woman. Only when all their typical gender specific character traits are integrated together in harmony as they submit and live for each other unified by love can their children see an adequate picture of us as we are unified in the Godhead. I want you to treat your spouse as you would treat me.
I AM the God who even though no one could convict me of wrong, I still submitted to the authorities who nailed me to a cross for the sake of my bride – the church. Even though I AM God Almighty, I stayed on that cross for your sake. I AM the God who sees the beauty of your inner spirit as reflected in your attitude and heart. These I value most of all and what I see in secret I will reward at the right time.
Since I (your God), submitted myself to the will of the Father by obeying human authorities, then you ladies are not above submitting yourself as well to the authority placed over you in the role of your husbands. Since I (your God), laid my life down for the church then you husbands are not above following my example as well by giving up your self-interests for your wives.
Why is this so hard for all of us to do?
The curse is why it is so hard for the ladies to submit. The curse is also why it is so hard for us men to own up to the responsibility to be honorable. Adam shirked his responsibility by caving in to his wife’s taking leadership in eating the fruit. Thus from now on, we men will cow tail to our wives desire to control things in the home. And we will shirk from anything that is hard to do like maintain our marriages. This is also why get rich quick schemes are so popular. We men want to avoid hard work as dictated by the curse.
How can the effects of the curse be minimized in the home?
In his must read book “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emmerson Eggrichs He says that God asks you women to submit to the authority that God has placed in your husband with unconditional respect even though he may not be worthy of it, JUST AS God asks you men to lay your life down in unconditional sacrificial love for your wife even though you may not feel like she deserves it. If both of you live by protecting your self-interests in the marriage, you are not walking by faith that God is with you, neither are you trusting him to help you. You are acting like a leach on a leach. Know that only God can really meet your needs, your spouse cannot.
Only by the Spirit’s control can you minimize the effects of the curse in your family
As Christ submitted to the Father, and as he laid his life down for his bride; so too we are to live to serve and submit to each other. This can only be accomplished when the two have the others interests as their primary desire. Through the strength and control of the Holy Spirit, the woman can live for her husband and the husband lay down his life, self-interests, pastimes, ambitions for his wife’s needs. Like Paul says to look not to our own interests but those of the other. And in Eph 5:21 “we are to submit one to another”. This is what it means to have mutual submission. Submission is done any time we lay our own personal rights down for another to meet their needs. Christ doesn’t need anything from us thus he selflessly submitted to the Father’s will by laying his life down for his bride. As true believers in Christ, all our real needs are met in Christ thus we can lay down our personal rights for our spouse without demanding our own needs be met by him/her.
God will infuse you with the faith, courage and power to do so if you trust him and obey His Word in this thing. His Spirit is glorified and very pleased to help and comfort those who honor him in these ways when it is so hard to do so. Only by the Spirit’s control can you minimize the effects of the curse in your family. Wives, willingly give up trying to control your husband and look for ways to show respect and honor to them. It is easy to pick apart all the negative things. Rather, look for the positive and compliment them on what they do right. This helps men to want to do more things right in order to be complimented more. Men, lay down your petty pastimes and cherish your wife above all. Also take the reins of leading the family to the lord for your honor’s sake. It is easy to kick back and coast as if you deserve to disappear into your man cave and let the wife lead the home. Show your family by consistent example that you have a life of vision and service to others. Be the knight in shining armor to your family. Be the man God wants you to be. Protect your family from ungodly influences rather than bring them into the home to satisfy your fantasies. Be the spiritual head of the family and lead them as Christ leads His church. And you may find that your wife will want to be that heroine who admires you and will ride by your side into the proverbial sunset.
In His image created He them
As mentioned in the opening paragraph; God’s personhood is reflected in our personality traits. God wants to be noticed by us. He displays his glory to us so that we might be attracted to him. He shows us the beauty and splendor of his holiness just like how little girls want to be noticed by their daddy as they twirl and dance displaying a new dress. God instilled that attribute of himself in women. It is also a picture of the Bride of Christ adorned by her good works. Women want to have a vital part of the ministry and lives of their husbands. So, men don’t shut them out. They want to be cherished above all else by their husbands so that together they might make a difference as co-heirs and co-laborers for God. This is also why God placed in women the need and desire for as well as a better understanding of relationships than men. That too is a picture of the desire for intimacy that God has for humanity.
Chosen before the creation of the world to be his bride
God created marriage also as a picture of Christ and his Church. Christ – the second
Adam placed The Church – his Bride, in his side so to speak as Eve was taken from the side of the first Adam. Before Eve existed it was just Adam, God made Eve by separating her from him. From Eve God created the entire world’s population to select for himself a bride to reign with him forever made up from the Church. Through the work of his Son on the cross, God has placed his bride back into his Son/ himself so that the two will become one unified – God with his Bride. This is why your marriage is so important to maintain and why God says that He hates divorce – it breaks the picture of the unity of the Godhead. (picture credit: marriagematters.virginia.edu)