Friday, March 30, 2007

Biblical Womanhood and the Pharisees?

Jesus warned the disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. Jesus said that the Pharisees tied up heavy burdens and placed them on men’s backs and didn’t lift a finger to help them. Jesus had some very harsh words for them. The reason is because they were hypocrites. They cleaned up their appearance, but their hearts were still wicked. We see in Romans that the purpose of the law was to teach us what is right and it was to be like a school master leading us to Christ. It is to help us see that we are in desperate need of a Savior.

The above warning is precisely why I do not commend the book, Created to be His Help-Meet, by Debi Pearl. Mrs. Pearl takes the beautiful passages on womanhood and turns them into the measuring stick. It may not have been her intent, but the book sets her up as the perfect model that all should bow down before. Ladies we must never bow before other women’s design for woman even if they are using Scripture. We must only bow before Christ.

When I began the book my initial response was gratitude that someone was proclaiming the truths of Scripture so boldly. Yet it did not take long before I began to feel something was wrong. Biblical Womanhood is not complete unless the whole of Scripture is taken into account. Mrs. Pearl seems as though she has only read a few passages that pertain to women specifically when in reality there are numerous passages that are also addressed to women and men alike. The first one that I would encourage Mrs. Pearl to look at would be Ephesians 4:29-30, which reads as follows,

29Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

God’s will for men and women is that they be conformed to the likeness of Christ, and the Scripture does not record Jesus calling women "hussies," "ugly," "stupid,"etc. The people who he had the strongest words for were people like the Pharisees, who neither showed grace nor mercy. We must remember that being a Titus 2 woman does not make us acceptable to God. Christ alone makes us acceptable.

The womanhood passages in the bible are beautiful passages to me, and I am grieved when women take such beautiful instructions and turn them into a rod used to crush women. I believe as women we should hold fast to these passages. We should memorize them and never stray from them, but we should bear with the weak, especially those who are humble and desiring to change.

Is it possible to be saying the right things, but the way in which we say it makes it wrong or even sinful? Yes, I believe when we speak without grace and humility we are denying Christ. As Christian women we must seek to speak the truth in a way that does not destroy. The Bible calls it speaking the truth in love. Gentleness would be another word that is commonly associated with the way believers are to treat others. The apostle Peter says that our gentleness and respect gives unbelievers no room to speak maliciously about us. I would say it is impossible for us to teach Biblical womanhood with harsh demeaning words and be right. For if we teach womanhood without the spirit of Christ our words have betrayed the reality of our hearts.

So, what happens to us as women if we measure up in our Titus 2 lists, but fail to be changed on the inside. I believe when our outward lives gain us the approval of men, but our hearts are unchanged we end up like the Pharisees, we have received our reward- the approval of man. Let us set our eyes on things above, the eternal things, and let us pursue the reward that comes from God- not man.

Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Good morning -

In my Systematic Theology class, we have been discussing the biblical doctrines of "justification" and "adoption," and I wanted to pass along several items from this morning's discussion that were encouraging in light of our current memory verse:

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”Galatians 4:4-5

As Tim explained Sunday, we stand condemned under God's holiness and law - but in Christ we are declared righteous on His account. Though we were criminals before God, Christ bore the death penalty that was ours - as 1 Peter 3:18 says, "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God."

While forgiveness and pardon are definitely good news, the incredible news is that it involves far more than that. This holy and infinite judge could have acquitted us and then had nothing more to do with us, but He did not. He instead looked favorably upon us, adopted us into his family, and now lavishes the blessings and privileges of sonship upon us.

In light of our memory verses this week, Galatians 4:4-5, reflect on the following passages and rejoice in your salvation and in the love of our Gracious "Abba" Father!

Romans 5:8-10 - But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

John 1:12 - But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

Ephesians 1:2-14 - Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,... In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

1 John 3:1 - See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.

By His infinite grace!