A Biblical View of Authority – Part 4

3. The unique nature of the husband’s authority (as owner and a type of Christ) in relation to his wife, establishes unique expectations for himself before God (Eph 5:25-33):

3.1. Like Christ, the husband’s authority over his wife is given for the purpose of loving her (25a, 28, 33).

3.2. The demands or decisions he therefore makes in relation to his wife, himself and his household will never cause her harm, but instead always be lawful or righteous since this is the definition of love (Rom 13:8-10 = love follows the Law or is always righteous toward others).

3.3. As such, the rule of the husband must be characterized by those righteous-love (or “wisdom from above”) traits found in (1Co 13:4-7; Jam 3:17)

3.4. If the husband’s rule is truly loving, meaning that it is characterized by the righteous and wise traits found in 1Corinthians 13 and James 3, then it will be apparent in the joyful testimony of his household (wife and children). He will be viewed as a wise and righteous king (Pro 29:2).

3.5. Like Christ, the husband’s authority over his wife is based on his marital vow to also love her through seeking her emotional and physical well-being as important as his own (25b) – “gave Himself up for her” = Made a vow (or promise) to promote her emotional and physical well-being as necessary to gaining her as his wife. Both the wife’s respectful submission and the husband’s promotion of her emotional and physical well-being represent the promises/vows recognized by God in the ratification of any marriage covenant (Eze 16:8 w/Gen 2:23-24[1] w/Gen 28:13-22 w/Eze 11:20, 14:11, 36:28, 37:23, 27; Rev 21:2-3 w/Eph 5:28-32 – “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies…no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes it [feeds it for physical health] and cherishes it [comforts it for emotional stability], just as Christ does the church” – regarding feeding see Heb 13:5-6; Phi 4:19; Psa 23:5; regarding comfort see 2Th 2:16-17 w/Act 9:31; 2Co 1:3-7; Psa 23:4). Hence the reason the Paul’s marital instruction can be boiled down to the vows each spouse took at the time covenant was being made (Eph 5:33).

 

3.6. If the husband is keeping his vow to seek his wife’s well-being, then it will be include also the promotion of her moral character thru faithful and frequent encouragement, instruction, correction, admonishment and application from God’s Word in relation to her life and their life together. In short, he will build his house on the rock of God’s Word – causing her to see her life and his leadership thru the lens of God and His Word (Mat 7:24). This too wb apparent based on her personal testimony and the transformation of her moral character – i.e. in her becoming a respectful, submissive, holy and blameless woman of God. He will (as a result) be viewed (by her and the rest of the household) as a faithful priest to their home (26-27) = Christ’s actions in these verses represent one of the most important duties of the priest who through faithful and frequent speaking of God’s Word to the people not only made them mindful or knowledgeable to God’s will and ways, but in so doing, sanctifying or “cleansing” [aorist participle] them from future sin thru both the removal of its practice [i.e. its “spot or wrinkle” in their character] and the establishing of new godly practice [that which made them “holy and without blemish” or “blameless” in their character]. IOW: He/the priest was to maintain the beauty/salvation of God’s people thru the ministry of the Word – Eze 16:8-15 [the beauty referred to in these verses is an allusion to the Temple and its priestly ministry; see 1:3 w/7:26 w/33:7-20 = the priests failed to be the “watchmen” over God’s wife/people – i.e. they failed to maintain their gained beauty or salvation thru continual cleansing or speaking of God’s righteous words/Law to the people]; Hos 4:1-9; Mal 2:5-7; Psa 19:7-14, 23:5 w/Joh 15:3 and 17:17; also 1Ti 4:16[2]; 2Ti 4:1-2). The point not to miss = the husband as household priest must beautify his wife thru frequent washing w/the Word.

 

3.7. Seeing that God expects the husband to play an important role in his wife’s moral character:

3.7.1. Equally means we should expect no first-time Christian wife to enter marriage already spiritual mature (Ecc 7:25-29)

 

3.7.2. Reveals that the only thing stopping a husband from his divine calling in this respect, is ignorance or idolatry. After today, it is likely to only be idolatry (Jam 4:17)

 

3.7.3. Agrees with his identity as his wife’s owner, since in Scripture, ownership not only establishes authority – but also responsibility (1Ti 3:4a – “manage his own household well” = Household refers first to the relationship of the husband and the wife. Hence the reason the term husband – which means householder or ruler of the house is a marital designation versus a parental designation [i.e. father], though the children are also under his authority. This is most likely why Paul mentions the man’s role in managing them separately – 4b. The point not to miss = it is the husband who is viewed as responsible for his household’s success or failure)[3].

 

3.8. Should a husband’s failure to sufficiently love and provide for his wife emotionally, physically and spiritually/morally, cause her to fail in becoming the respectful, submissive, holy and blameless wife God has called her to be, then he (too) will be condemned to Hell (i.e. the requirement for salvation is faithfulness not improvement/growth – Mat 24:45-25:46; Mat 18:1-10). Understand then that it is a solution-oriented mindset God expects the husband to have in relation to the rule and reform of his wife. Excuses (btw) are not solutions.

 

The importance of the husband’s rule in relation to his wife cannot be over-emphasized given it is not only a crucial key to her spiritual state, but also the husband’s ability to advance the gospel, minister to Christ’s church and withstand the storms of life (In re: to the gospel = Only when we are faithful to our roles in marriage do we accurately preach the gospel of marriage between Christ and His church; In re: to the church – 1Ti 3:5 = Only those faithful in their roles as husbands will be successful managers of their households and therefore qualified to minister to God’s church; In re: to the storms of life – Mat 7:24-27 = Only those building their households on His words – whose husbands are anchored to the “rock” of loving, righteous rule and faithful discipleship – can withstand the inevitable difficulties that will come in life.).

[1] Scholars have long agreed that Adam’s vow is the same as God’s to His people (“bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh” versus “I will be their God, they shall be my people”). Both communicate not only the husband’s ownership of his wife, but also their responsibilities. For the husband, it is caring for what is now a part of his body (my bone…my flesh…my people), for the wife, it is supporting the head of the body she is now a part of (bone of…flesh of…their God).

[2] It is no accident that the adornment of the priest resembled that of the husband (or bridegroom) on the day of his wedding (Isa 61:10).

[3] The only time it is possible for the failure (or success) of the wife’s spiritual state to not have some bearing on the husband is if she is an unbeliever. Even then however, how the husband leads and loves her can have an impact on her spiritually (1Co 7:12-16).

A Biblical View of Authority – Part 3

Since God is the rightful Owner of all things (being their Creator), He, therefore, is creation’s rightful Ruler or Authority. The maxim that undergirds or gives support to this truth is, “ownership establishes authority”. In other words, I have the right to do what I want with what I own. In terms of governing, this means that God legitimately possesses the right to govern us (i.e. exercise control over our lives) through giving orders, making decisions, changing plans, establishing rules and enforcing His will. In addition, God’s authority includes the right to appoint other persons to function as His governing representatives. As such, these “deputy rulers” possess real (or legitimate) authority that is not dependent on their character or competency, but rather their appointment by God. Unique among those authorities appointed by God, is the husband. PTS 1-2 [DISCUSSED]

3. The unique nature of the husband’s authority (as owner and a type of Christ) in relation to his wife, establishes unique expectations for himself before God (Eph 5:25-33):

3.1. Like Christ, the husband’s authority over his wife is given for the purpose of loving her (25a, 28, 33).

3.2. Therefore the demands, decisions, vision, and agenda (see prt.2) of the husband in relation to his wife and household will never cause her (or them) harm, but instead always be lawful or righteous since this is the definition of love (Rom 13:8-10 = love follows the Law or is always righteous toward others).

3.3. As such, the rule of the husband must be characterized by those righteous-love or “wisdom from above” traits found in (1Co 13:4-7; Jam 3:17):

3.3.1. Why I am identifying the love of 1Co 13 as righteous/law-fulfilling: 1) the context is divine instruction (8), 2) like the Law, this love “never ends” (8a w/Mat 5:17-18), 3) also like the Law, this love is considered the “greatest” of spiritual gifts given by God for living as His people (12:31 w/13:13-14:1 w/Deu 4:6-8).

3.3.2. Why I believe James’ “wisdom from above” is referring to same things as 1Co 13: 1) it is moral wisdom (i.e. wisdom related to righteousness or love – 13-16, 18) versus general wisdom (e.g. Pro 27:14, 23-27), 2) the traits are essentially identical.

3.4. If the husband’s rule is truly loving, meaning that it is characterized by the righteous and wise traits found in 1Corinthians 13 and James 3, then it will be apparent in the joyful testimony of his household (wife and children). He will be viewed as a wise and righteous king (Pro 29:2):

3.4.1. Patient/Gentle= A husband who takes the time to disciple his wife understanding and being sympathetic to how God has made her different (1Co 13:4 – “patient and kind”; Jam 3:17 – “gentle”; see 1Th 2:6-7; 1Ti 3:3; see 1Pe 3:7 – “Likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way…showing her honor as the weaker vessel” = Just as your wife is to understand that God has appointed you as her authority and therefore abide in her submission regardless of your character or competency, you too are to recognize that God has made her weaker emotionally, and therefore expects you to be patient and gentle w/her as you attempt to disciple her versus being impatient, blowing up and treating her rough like she is a guy – or should just “get it”. This is how you “show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life” and keep your prayers from being “hindered” – meaning if you refuse to show patience and gentleness in the way you handle your wife in her weakness/when she needs your help, don’t expect God to extend those things to you when you need His help – Mat 7:1-2; Tit 3:2-4; contra: 1Ki 12:1-14; Mic 3:1-4 w/6:8; consider also Pro 14:28-29).

3.4.2. Sincere = A husband who has nothing but good intentions in what he demands of his wife/household, genuinely believing it to be what God wants for them (1Co 13:4 – “does not envy or boast” = a love that is genuine, possessing no ill agenda; Jam 3:17 – “sincere”; see 1Ti 1:5 w/1Pe 5:3 – “not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples” = Un-hypocritical, I practice what I demand of others as the proof that I sincerely believe this is what God requires of us as His people; contra – Mat 23:1-4)

3.4.3. Teachable/Reasonable = A husband who truly appreciates his wife’s advice/input including her concerns, respectful criticisms or appeals, and so carefully listens to her and genuinely considers what she says, ready to acknowledge and change his view – or admit he is wrong when necessary and thank her for her help and faithfulness in this area. (1Co 13:4-5a – “is not arrogant or rude”; Jam 3:17 – “open to reason”; consider Pro 18:1; Ecc 4:13)

3.4.4. Selfless/Impartial = A husband whose decisions for his wife/household are never selfish or partial to himself but an attempt to create an environment that benefits and pleases everyone (1Co 13:5b – “does not insist on its own way”; Jam 3:17 – “impartial”)

3.4.5. Forgiving = A husband who doesn’t continue to be angry for his wife’s past sins or failures but attempts to help her understand/overcome those sins when they reappear (1Co 13:5c – “not irritable or resentful/counting up wrongs”; Jam 3:17 – “full of mercy and good fruits” = forgiveness is the pre-requisite to the fruit of mercy; Col 3:18 – “embittered” = un-forgiveness is what makes a husband possess a bitter/resentful attitude in the rule/handling of his wife)

3.4.6. Truth-Loving = A husband whose judgment is not presumptive, manipulative, subjective, slanderous, speculative, or based on emotions. He instead does his due diligence and provides the objective and sufficient evidence in making his case. He does not allow his household to operate/act on suspicion or assumptions, but only what is fact. This means also, he is not slack in bringing justice/enforcing the Law (1Co 13:6 – “does not rejoice in wrong-doing, but rejoices with the truth”; Jam 3:17 – “pure”; see Psa 19:8-9; Pro 16:10-13, 22:11)

3.4.7. Persevering In Peace = A husband who never allows there to be unresolved tension or warring but instead always seeks peace and to make things right w/his wife (1Co 13:7 – “bears…believes…hopes…endures all things”; Jam 3:17 – “peaceable…And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”; see also Eph 4:26 = be quick to make peace [before the next day]).

CLOSING QUESTION: Does your wife groan or glorify God for the way you rule over her and the household? Does she view you as a wise and righteous king?

A Biblical View of Authority – Part 2

Since God is the rightful Owner of all things (being their Creator), He, therefore, is creation’s rightful Ruler or Authority. The maxim that undergirds or gives support to this truth is, “ownership establishes authority”. In other words, I have the right to do what I want with what I own. In terms of governing, this means that God legitimately possesses the right to govern us (i.e. exercise control over our lives) through giving orders, making decisions, changing plans, establishing rules and enforcing His will. In addition, God’s authority includes the right to appoint other persons to function as His governing representatives. As such, these “deputy rulers” possess real (or legitimate) authority that is not dependent on their character or competency, but rather their appointment by God. Unique[1] among those authorities appointed by God, is the husband.

1. There are two things that make the husband’s authority (in relation to his wife) unique:

1.1. His authority stems not only from divine proxy (deputation, appointment) but also personal ownership:

1.1.1. The Hebrew term for husband (בַּ֫עַל; ba’al] and it’s Greek equivalent (κύριος; kurios) can also be translated as “owner” or “lord/master”, referring to persons whose authority is due to ownership (e.g. Pro 31:23 – “husband”[ בַּ֫עַל] w/Exo 21:28 – “owner” [בַּ֫עַל]; also Isa 1:3 –“owner” [קֹנֵ֔ה] = Lit. the purchasing one; “master” [בַּ֫עַל] based on ownership; Gal 4:1 = Paul’s argument [when an heir is a child, he exists in an ironic state from an authority perspective] only makes sense if what he means by “owner” [κύριος] is the antithesis [the direct/perfect opposite] of “slave” – i.e. the authority/lord/master [see KJV]).

1.1.2. God’s prohibition against coveting makes it clear that this is indeed what is to be understood in relation to the husband; his wife and children (i.e. his household) are his personal property (Exo 20:17; Deu 5:21; see also Exo 22:16-17; Deu 22:28-29; e.g. Gen 34:1-12; hence why Paul’s instruction is directed toward the father – 1Co 7:36-37).

1.1.3. Etymological studies reveal the term (“husband”) to be a derivation of the ancient term, “householder”, meaning owner of the household.

1.2. His authority symbolizes Christ’s authority in relation to His church (Eph 5:22-25).

2. The unique nature of the husband’s authority (as owner and a type of Christ) establishes unique expectations for his wife:

2.1. Because the husband is the owner of his household, it is husband’s vision and agenda for the household, that is to be realized, not the wife (e.g. Jos 24:15; 1Ti 3:15 – “God’s household” = B/C He [Christ] is the husband/householder it is Him that defines/determines the vision of the church [e.g. her liturgy/worship, etc.] – not us, or the world, or what marketing research tells us “works”).

2.2. The wife’s designation as “helper” directly correlates to her identity as the personal property of her husband. Like all personal property, her purpose is to help increase the value (or glory) of her husband through the advancement of his name, his household and his agenda (Gen 2:18 w/23 – “Woman” = “out of man” w/Eph 5:23 – “his body” = the glory of his person on earth – 2Co 8:23; 1Co 15:40; 1Co 11:7-9; Pro 14:1; also Pro 31:10-12, 23 w/27-31 = her “praise”/value to her husband is found in the praise/value she brings to her husband “in the gates” – i.e. his reputation/status w/in the community).

2.3. The wife’s value before God is determined by her respectful submission[2] to her husband’s authority in regard to all things not sinful. This is especially true when his leadership is disobedient/harsh/impatient (1Pe 3:1-5 w/7 – “understanding way, showing honor to her as the weaker vessel” = showing her patience due to her emotional frailty).

2.4. Because the husband represents Christ, the wife’s salvation is also determined by her respectful submission (Re: salvation: 1Pe 3:6 = Abe/Sarah proverbial parents of the saved – Heb 2:16; 1Ti 2:15 = salvation thru fulfillment of her ordained role; Re: respectful submission: Eph 5:22-24, 33; 1Pe 3:1-2; Col 3:18 – “as is fitting to the Lord” = no submission to sinful things).

2.5. The wife’s faithfulness to her husband in the ways discussed, is what she is to teach other women and her children as the means to exemplifying and advancing Christ’s name, household and gospel agenda (Tit 2:3-5; in respect to the children, they are the “fruit of her womb” – i.e. their respectful submission wb determined by her example in the home – think, Mat 7:13-14).

[1] By “unique” what is meant is different. In this case, from those other offices of authority appointed by God. This word will retain this as its meaning through its various uses in this document.

[2] Respectful submission = 1) obedience that does not possess/obedience that is incompatible w/: anger (expressing irritation; Eph 4:26; Jam 1:19-25), malice (desiring to do their harm; 1Pe 1:22-2:1), contempt (despising their authority; Psa 119:21, 85; Isa 3:5; Rom 1:30), cynicism (distrusting their motives; 1Ti 6:4), skepticism (distrusting their competency; 1Co 4:1-6), captiousness (looking for fault, to be critical or petty; Jud 1:6), contentiousness (looking to fight; Pro 21:9, 25:24), dismissiveness (acting as though they are unworthy, Est 1:10-18 w/1Sa 2:17 = contempt accompanies obedience when only part of what is commanded is done; e.g. 1Sa 1Sa 15:1-11), condescension (acting as though they are inferior to you; Psa 18:27; Isa 3:16; Zep 3:11; Rom 1:30) or self-pity (acting like a martyr or whining; Phi 2:14 w/Exo 16:1-3; e.g. Mal 1:13); 2) obedience that includes careful listening – Num 20:4-12 w/27:12-14).

A Biblical View of Authority – Part 1

1. How God’s Word defines “authority” = any person or organization who legitimately possesses the right to govern others through giving orders, making decisions, changing plans, establishing rules, enforcing their will.

2. Why it is crucial that we be completely teachable to what God has to say about authority:

2.1. Because it is impossible to be a Christian and continually fail in the way that God commands us to respond to the those His Word identifies as legitimate authority (tbd).

2.2. Because it is impossible to be a Christian and continually fail in the way that God commands us to carry out our responsibilities when we are someone His Word identifies as a legitimate authority (tbd).

2.3. Because this is what Satan and his fallen angels, Sodom and Gomorrah, false teachers and atheism have in common as their most telling trait: a distrust or outright rejection of what God says regarding authority (Satan/fallen angels – Isa 14:13-14; S&G – Gen 19:9; false teachers – 2Pe 2:1-11, 18-20 w/Jud 1:4-9, 11, 16; atheism – No God = No legitimate authority/All authority is pragmatic or preferential and therefore sb condemned if authoritative in their rule – e.g. President Trump, NE Pats coaching, churches that practice discipline, police that enforce the law. Such distrust and outright rejection of authority is also the reason for child emancipation laws and the rise of those being diagnosed w/Oppositional Defiant Disorder, increase of 43% from 2004-2013, over 200k/year – mostly children).

2.4. Because a low/wrong view of authority is the number one reason for failed marriages and dysfunctional homes (tbd).

3. What God’s Word teaches us about authority: 3.1. Since God is the Creator and therefore Owner of all that exists, He likewise is their absolute Authority or rightful Ruler (i.e. ownership est’s absolute authority; e.g. your car/house) (Psa 135:5-6; Psa 103:19; Hence why – 20-22 w/Psa 2:10-12; Job 38-41 w/41:11; Psa 24:1, 50:11-12; Jer 33:13; Dan 4:35; Isa 29:16, 45:9, 64:8; Jer 18:6; Rom 9:18-21).

“The very word authority has within it the word author. An author is someone who creates and possesses (or owns) a particular work. Insofar as God is the foundation of all authority, He exercises that foundation because He is the author and the owner of His creation. He is the foundation upon which all other authority stands or falls.” ~ R.C. Sproul.

3.2. God’s governance, orders, decisions, plans, rules and will is made known through His Word. Refusing therefore to carefully listen and respectfully submit1 to all of God’s Word is equally refusing to acknowledge His authority – or more accurately, to claim for yourself an authority equal to, or above His. Hence the reason all sin is considered serious and an act of high treason (Gen 3:5-6; 1Sa 15:1-23; regarding carefully listening as important – e.g. Num 20:4-12 w/27:12-14).

3.3. If there is legitimate human authority, it is only because they have been called (divinely appointed/”anointed”) by God the absolute Authority. IOW: Only God the owner can appoint others as authorities over His possessions. In respect then to those God has appointed, any refusal to carefully listen and respectfully submit to them (when what they demand does not violate God’s Law), is the same as refusing God (e.g. Luk 10:16). Those human authorities appointed by God and existing today are:

3.3.1. kings and governments (Dan 4:17, 25, 32, 5:21; Jer 27:1-12; Neh 2:1-5; Dan 2:4, 6:21; Joh 19:10-11; Rom 13:1-5; Tit 3:1-2; 1Pe 2:13-17)

3.3.2. masters (employers, managers, etc) (Eph 6:5-7; 1Ti 6:1-2; Tit 2:9-10)

3.3.3. God’s spiritual leaders: pastors/elders (Deu 17:9-13; Joh 20:21-23; 2Co 7:15; 1Th 5:12-13; Tit 2:15; Heb 13:17; e.g. Act 23:1-5)

1 Respectful submission = obedience that does not possess: anger (expressing irritation), malice (desiring to do their harm), contempt (despising their authority), cynicism (distrusting their motives), skepticism (distrusting their competency), captiousness (looking for fault, to be critical or petty), contentiousness (looking to fight), dismissiveness (acting as though they are unworthy), condescension (acting as though they are inferior to you) or self-pity (acting like a martyr or whining).

“Christ has not only ordained that there shall be such officers in his Church – but he calls those thus qualified and by that call gives

them their official authority.” ~ Charles Hodge

3.3.4. husbands and parents (Tit 2:4-5; Eph 5:22-24, 6:1-3).

4. Our careful listening and respectful submission to God’s human authorities is not based or dependent upon, their character or

competency, but rather their appointment by God. Hence the reason we are called to carefully listen and respectfully submit to

them even if they are unrighteous or incompetent (1Pe 2:18-21, 3:1-6; e.g. Act 23:1-5; 1Sa 24:1-10, 26:1-25).

5. Listening and submitting to God’s human authorities is not only crucial to avoiding serious sin, but also our personal well-being in

this life and the life to come (e.g. Psa 2:1-12; Heb 13:17; 1Pe 3:6 = Abe/Sarah proverbial parents of the saved – Heb 2:16; 1Ti 2:15 =

salvation thru fulfillment of ordained role; Eph 6:1-3).

6. Those God calls to be His authorities MUST be wise and righteous if they are:

6.1. to persevere/flourish (Pro 28:2): The results of a legitimate authority [“rulers…a man”] not acknowledging/properly

acknowledging [“transgresses” v. “understanding and knowledge”] God’s authority in the way they rule = high turnover v. stability

[“many rulers” = high turnover v. “stability”] (see also Psa 72:1-3)

6.2. to avoid receiving the sentence of eternal damnation on Judgment Day (Mat 18:1-10; Jam 3:1-6).

What (then) does it look like to be the wise and righteous authority God expects?

NEXT WEEK (Part 2) will answer this question through a focused examination of the role of the husband in relation to his wife and

children. At this time, the role of the wife will also be expanded on.