David Platt on Biblical Mahood and Womanhood

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What better day to listen to David Platt giving the biblical perspective on manhood and womanhood, than on March 8 – the official international woman’s day.

adam eve gardenIn Part 1 – Platt gives a Summary of Manhood  & Womanhood in Genesis

Some of the Bible’s statements may sound chauvinistic or domineering in our contexts today, if they’re not understood in the context of the Scriptures’s teaching in Genesis 1&2. In part 1 we see 3 truths:

  1. Equal dignity. God created man and woman with equal dignity, both man and woman created in the image of God, and likeness of God, as representatives of  God. Man, not superior to woman, woman not superior to man. Any man who belittles a woman is violating the design of God. Any woman who disparages a man  is undercutting the beautiful design of God.
  2. Different roles. At the same time, men and women are created with different roles. Roles that don’t call into question one’s dignity and worth in any way. This is clear, we look to Genesis and walk through 8 reasons we know this is true. Man created to be the head, in a position of authority, Created first by the design of God with responsibility, representation, authority, entrusted by God. And woman, created to be the helper. Genesis 2:18 and 20 woman created as suitable helper for man, equal in dignity, different in roles in a complementary way, in a good way, not unfair, not demeaning. Cause God did this as a reflection of Himself and of the Trinity- God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit- Equal in essence, worth, different in role. It’s not chauvinistic, domineering for God the Father to have authority over, and for God the Son to submit to God the Father. This is where we see, the understanding of the personhood of God is huge for understanding our own manhood and womanhood.
  3. For our good and His glory. So, He created all of us, men and women with equal dignity, different roles, for our good and His glory.

David Platt – Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Part 1

Platt recounts the points from the first part (video) and begins the second part message at the 9:30 minute mark.

Sin has woefully distorted those 2 roles. , and we bear, feel the effects of sin. Broken relations with men and women abound. Distorted ideas of manhood and womanhood abound all across our culture. What I want to show you is that it all goes back to Genesis 3.  Every detail is important. The anatomy and the consequence of sin are intertwined directly with manhood and womanhood. I want to show you how sin affects men differently than it affects women, how it expresses itself differently in man and in woman, how the results of sin are different in man and in woman. As sin expresses itself in man and in woman, we see how there’s an active picture and a passive picture.

Manhood-

  • Spineless abdication of his responsibility. This is the essence of what Adam did in verses 1-5. He stands by and does nothing. The serpent, in the very way he is tempting this couple, he is subverting the design of God. He does not come to the head (the man), he comes to woman. The serpent’s saying to woman, „Why don’t you lead the way? Why don’t you make this decision?” The serpent is undercutting the design of God, in the very way he is tempting. Then, when you get to verse 17, when God speaks directly to Adam, „Adam, because you have listened to the voice of your wife…” before He even addresses the fact that Adam ate the piece of fruit- direct disobedience to the command of God that Adam had been given. He says, „Fundamentally, you listened, instead of leading. You stood silently by, doing nothing.” Like a wimp, and then has the audacity, when God confronts his sin, to blame the woman.  Spineless abdication of responsibility in men, and dads, that is alive today because men refuse to lead. They sit and watch TV, play video games, surf the internet, who never come home from work, who don’t step up and take responsibility for wives and children. Males who think they are men, but in reality are little boys, shirking the responsibility that God Himself has entrusted to them. (13:00)
  • Aggressive: Selfish abuse of his authority. Then you go to the other extreme. And what you have is a more aggressive picture, selfish abuse of his authority. A man will rise up and say, „I’m not gonna be a wimp in this relationship, I’m gonna dominate this relationship. Some believe the end of v. 16 „he shall rule over you”, that word there is depicted of harsh, forceful, oppressive rulership, domineering, which is a distortion of God’s design. Headship does not equal domination, man’s controlling woman, man abusing his authority in his position of authority in the relationship. 
  • He will experience pain in his role of breadwinning. Notice of how punishment for sin in man’s life is then specifically linked to his responsibility. As a result of sin, man shall experience pain in his role of breadwinning. This is something that man was commanded to do in a way that woman was not commanded- working the ground and providing for the family. This is gender specific punishment for sin.

Womanhood-

  • Passive: Spineless dismissal of any responsibility. We can’t misunderstand the picture here. It’s not that woman was not responsible for her sin, here in Genesis 3. Man certainly had a level of responsibility, we see that when God confronts man for the accountability for sin, but, woman was obviously and clearly directly responsible for her disobedience to God. And, there’s a distorted picture, as a result of sin that leads, particularly when it comes to submission. Sin distorts this role and causes women to think, „Ok, well, if I’m the helper, he’s the head, then I’m not accountable for what I do. Maybe a woman sees her husband or her children doing something they should not be doing, she doesn’t do anything about it because she says, „That’s my role.” Or maybe she has a husband who is abusing her and she sits idly by, thinking that’s what submission is all about. That is a tragic distortion of biblical womanhood. God has created no woman to be a door mat. He’s created women with a responsibility towards God for how they think, for how they live, for the choices they make, the way they use and present their bodies. SIDE NOTE here- as we come up on summer here. I want to say to the women in our midst that you have a responsibility before God for the way that you dress for the summer, not to lead men into sin. Some would say, „Well, it’s their problem .” It is their problem and it is most definitely your problem. Do not do what Eve did in Genesis 3, leading your brother into sin. Run from every appearance of that. Guard your brother from sin in every way you can. 
  • Agressive: Selfish defiance against authority. In v. 16, as a result of sin, God says to the woman, „Your desire shall be for your husband.” Now, why is that bad, that the woman will desire the husband, as a result of sin? What does that mean- desire? You go to ch. 4:7, and you see the same word, the same language used when God is speaking to Cain about sin in his life. Listen to what God says to Cain, „If you do well Cain, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. It’s desire is for you. But, you must rule over it.” Same language there. Sin’s desire is for you. Is it good for sin to desire you? No. Sin’s desire is to overpower you, to oppose you, to work against you. That’s what sin does. And so, it’s the same picture that’s being used here in 3:16, when God says, „Your desire will be for your husband.” You will desire to overpower him, to oppose his leadership, to work against his leadership. This is defiance of his authority. Your desire will be to usurp his leadership with your own leadership. Not in a complementary way, but in a competitive way. The result of sin in you is you will say, „I wanna do this my way, my rule, regardless of what my husband says or does. I’m in charge here. That is a very sinful sense, desiring the authority that God has given to man.
  • She will experience pain in her role of childbearing. Here, the same way that we saw God’s punishment, uniquely fitted to man, we see God’s punishment and  sin uniquely fitted to women. As a result of sin, women will experience pain in her role of childbearing.Just as God had given man a specific role in providing, working the ground, God has uniquely given woman the role of bearing children. So, God says to woman, I will surely multiply your pain as a woman. You bring forth children. In other words, that which I have created you uniquely to do as a woman, will bring about pain in your life as a woman. You put this together and you realize just how much sin is intertwined with manhood and womanhood. This is not just a generic picture of sin in Genesis 3. This is a picture of sin that is a direct assault, from the adversary on manhood and womanhood , as God has designed it to be. (20:00)

Adam and Eve Casted Out from the Garden Genesis 3:24You can almost picture Satan, at the end of Genesis 3, just laughing, saying, „I’ve got things so distorted now, they’ll never figure this thing out.” You have aggressive man, and you say, „You need to be more passive.” You’ll have passive women, and you’ll say, „You need to stand up and be aggressive. Now, go back and forth between distortions, i.e. contemporary culture, and you’ll never get to the root of the issue. So, take us to the root of the issue: When you put all this together, and the results of Genesis 3 are all across this room.

So, what shall we do? This is the beauty, that in a sense, this is the worst chapter in the Bible. Genesis 3:15 is the promise of grace- the proto evangelion- the first Gospel. And it’s God saying, at the midst of the entrance of sin into the world, to the serpent, „I’m gonna raise up an offspring from woman, and He shall bruise your head, you will bruise His heel.” It’s a promise. God says, at the first entrance of sin in the world, „I’m going to send one, from woman, who is going to conquer sin and Satan and who will bring my redemption. And so, what shall we do, in light of the effects of sin on our marriages, in our homes, and our cultures, on manhood, and womanhood? What we must do is look to Christ. Because He is the one who conquers sin and its effects.

And this is the beauty, you realize. You come to Christ, you’re saved from sin. You trust in Christ as your Lord and Savior and follow the process of sanctification, where you and I, as followers of Christ are being made  in the image of Christ. Sanctification, all growing into the image of Christ. This is where we realize, that as you and I are conformed into the image of Christ, we’re not just conformed into the image of Christ generically. Certainly, some generalities across the board. But, we’re being formed into the image of men and women, and sanctification. If sin affected and is expressed in certain ways, among men and women, then  salvation and sanctification will then be expressed in certain ways among men and women. And our salvation in Christ is not just about becoming the people that God desired us to be, but, our salvation in Christ is about becoming the men and the women God desires us to be. Turning from sinful expressions of manhood, and womanhood, sinful inclinations of manhood and womanhood, to where in Christ be redeemed as the men and women He desires. SO, that’s where we come to God’s design.

This is God’s ideal- God’s design. None of us are there. How can we, from our unique situations, by the grace of Christ, pursue God’s design?

Manhood-

  • praying husband and wifeMan’s primary responsibility is to lead. 1 Corinthians 11, Ephesians 5, God has entrusted, in His design, from the beginning, man for the primary (not sole, but we’ll get to that) responsibility to lead, for the good of the woman. It was good in Genesis 1, and turned bad since Genesis 3. It was good in the design- good for man and for woman. This was not leadership for self appeasement, for self gratification, self exaltation.
  1. This is leadership for the good of others. Christ is our leader and He is good. He is a good leader, and so we gladly submit to Christ, our leader. God’s design , and that’s the whole picture, His design is for men to lead in a way that reflects Christ. Some say, „What about men who area abusive do women, domineering over women?” That’s not good, and that’s not God’s design. There’s a manual on church discipline from the 2nd century. And this manual gives the following instruction. „If there is a man that is abusing his wife in the church, the pastor should take 2 stout elders and go visit that home…”
  2. So it is for the good of woman, and ultimately for the glory of Christ. Man realizes that he is a leader under authority. Man is not the ultimate leader. He is the head. Christ is the head of man, and Christ is the ultimate leader, and man, in the design of God, never resumes the authority of Christ over woman. Man leads in a way that points woman to the authority of Christ. That’s God design from the beginning. That’s why God setup the whole picture, to show who Christ is. This is what drives men to lead: The good of woman and the glory of Christ.
  • In that, man is accountable to God for two things, based on what we see in the first 3 chapters.
  1. Man is accountable to God for protection of his wife and of women. It is clear here in chapter 3 that he does not protect his wife from the adversary. And this is what we see all throughout Scripture in spiritual warfare, in physical warfare, family warfare, man is protector for all of God’s people. In the Old Testament, it’s the men who go off to war, not women. In the New Testament, Joseph is told by God to protect Mary and the child, and go into Egypt. Men are commanded in the church, in the New Testament to protect the body.  In a general sense, we all know this. If you have 2 single guys, and 2 single ladies walking down the street together, and an attacker comes up, we all know it is not a sign of manhood for the men to step back and push the ladies forward. Spineless abdication. It is outside the design of God. Man is accountable to God for the protection of his wife.
  2. Man is accountable to God for provision in the home. When God doled out his punishment for sin, he’s directly addressing the responsibility He had given man to work and to provide for a family. A man feels accountability for provision. Now, it doesn’t mean sole accountability. The Bible’s not saying that it’s wrong for women to work outside the home, or to help provide for the family. But, the primary accountability here is upon man, the leader in the home. (29:00)

WOMANHOOD – 

  • woman prayingWoman’s primary responsibility is to support. She is a helper by God’s designGenesis 2. She is not devalued by that, but she is honored by that, in the same way the Son is honored by before the Father.
  1. She supports through a humble disposition that yields to man’s leadership. The reason I put disposition there is because I know there are all kinds of circumstances in this room. That’s what makes this issue really difficult to apply. I have yet to meet a woman who has a husband, that desires to show loving, Godly leadership, protection, provision, humble sacrificial care for her, I have yet to meet a woman that is complaining about that- that says God’s design is not good. Now, I’ve met a lot of women who have not seen that. But, when this is there, we see this is good. It’s very good. knowing that there’s all these circumstances in this room, knowing that there’s manhood nonexistent in many cases, the reason I use the word disposition, is because there is in the pattern of God, the design of God and inclination, a disposition that He has designed for women to desire that, in a good way, that kind of leadership. You might say, „What about a situation where you’ve got a wife that is really, really gifted? And the husband, not so gifted?” Should she still follow his leadership? Absolutely. This is the design of God, based on position, not on ability. Any husband is going to maximize his wife’s gifts
  2. With ultimate devotion to following Christ’s leadership. The husband is the head of the wife, but not ultimate head. Christ is the ultimate head. And, biblical womanhood does not say, „Whatever my husband tells me to do, I’ll do it, no matter what. No, biblical womanhood has a discerning spirit that is inclined to submit to a husband, but is further inclined to submit to Christ. And if her husband wants her to do something that goes directly against the word of Christ, she yields to Christ over him.
  3. Affirming her husband’s role. (35:00)
  4. Nurture in the home. She is equipped by God to nurture in the home, in a way that compliments a man’s leadership with the children. He protects, provides; she affirms and nurtures.

That is the ideal, and none of us are living in it. And, the temptation is to think, „I would, if my husband would get right.” Or, „I would, if my wife would start living out womanhood.” You could spend all day figuring out how to fix the other people in your life on this issue. But, let’s step back and see the application to our own lives. Let’s resist the temptation to shift blame and responsibility for lack of manhood and womanhood in our culture, in the church, in our families, and our lives. And, to say, „In my own life, how God, by your grace, can I be the man and woman you designed for me to be?

Overall exhortations to guide the application in our own lives:

MEN

Initiate humble, hardworking leadership. God made you to work hard, for the good of women, and the glory of His name. Work at leadership.

  1. in spiritual devotion. Is your wife and are your children flourishing in their relationships with Christ? 
  2. in marital duties. Don’t wait for your wife to come to you and say, „There’s some problems in our marriage and we need to talk about.” You initiate that conversation every single time. Turn off the TV, stop hiding on the ball field, behind the computer or at work. Go to her, as your wife, say, „How can I love you better?’ That’s your responsibility. Consistently and periodically sit down with her, and she will love you for it.
  3. in parental discipline. Men who don’t stand idly by, while their kids talk back to their wives. But use humble, loving discipline of children.
  4. in essential decision. It is not that men are supposed to make every single decision for his wife and family. But, that man will feel the overarching responsibility for decision making. That his wife and his children will look to him for leadership in decision making. That he’ll be known for making decisions for their good, and for the glory of Christ.
  5. amidst inevitable disagreements, in those tough decisions,  to lovingly, caringly, graciously, make the tough decisions, with a commitment to love, lead, guide, protect, shepherd his family in the implementation of that decision. This is not easy, brothers. None of us can do this on our own. That’s why Scriptures call us to look to Christ
  6. lay down your life to honor women. Honor your wife. Do not belittle our wife for her failures.
  7. train boys to be men. We need to show boys the humble responsibility, what it looks like in action.

WOMEN –

  1. incline yourselves toward wise, willing, submission. First and foremost to God, in constant prayer. Obviously, you need not submit yourself to abuse. You take that to a church.
  2. and then to men. If you are a wife, obviously, incline yourself to wise, willing submission to a husband, as best as you can, in a way that honors Christ.
  3. for the glory of Christ, live in a way that demonstrates Godly respect for men
  4. live in a way that shows girls how to be women.

David Platt – Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Part 2

Sin’s distortion of Manhood and Womanhood

Some very good thoughts on marriage for June, the traditional month for weddings – for Singles and (especially) for Married Couples

The more I read the Puritans, the more I learn how much respect I should have for those people of God who lived before us and the wisdom God gave them. One such group of people is the Puritans. The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1559, as an activist movement within the Church of England. Puritans by definition felt that the English Reformation had not gone far enough, and that the Church of England was tolerant of practices which they associated with the Catholic Church. They formed into and identified with various religious groups advocating greater „purity” of worship and doctrine, as well as personal and group piety. You can read these additional posts on the Puritans:

I came across this writing from Richard Baxter, written as an exhortation for men and women  on the treatise of marriage. What is truly impressive, is the understanding that Baxter has of women, and the sensitive treatment he accords them in the marriage relationship. For example here are a couple of points that are very well made:

  • in point#9 he says – Don’t magnify her imperfections until they drive you crazy. (Consider also your own infirmities, and how much your wives must bear with you.)
  • in point#11 he says – A good husband is the best means to make a good and loving wife.
  • point #3 he says – Fighting chills love, fighting makes your spouse undesirable to you in your mind.
  • in point #7 he says – Your dissension will expose you to the malice of Satan, and give him advantage for many, many temptations.
  • Do not forget that you are both diseased persons, full of infirmities; and therefore expect the fruit of those infirmities in each other; and do not act surprised about it, as if you had never known of it before. Decide to be patient with one another; remembering that you took one another as sinful, frail, imperfect persons, and not as angels, or as blameless and perfect.

and my absolute favorite one:

  • Agree together beforehand, that when one of you is sinfully angry and upset the other shall silently and gently bear it until you have come to your sanity.

(This article could make a good wedding card stuffer)

Richard Baxter was a prominent English churchman of the 1600s. He was a peacemaker who sought unity among Protestants, and yet he was a highly independent thinker and at the center of every major controversy in England during his lifetime.

He was a true statesman; „In necessary things, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity,” he was fond of saying. Baxter, for his part, did his best to avoid the disputes between Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and other denominations, even convincing local ministers to cooperate in some pastoral matters. The interest in cooperation was not due to a lack of conviction. Among his more than 200 works are long, controversial discourses on doctrine. Still, he believed society was a large family under a loving father, and in his theology, he tried to cut between the extremes.

The Mutual Duties Of Husbands And Wives Towards Each Other

by Richard Baxter (1615­-1691)

From Puritansermons.com Extracted and modernised with apologies
by Scott Andersen

Selfish ungodly persons everywhere enter into all kinds of relationships with a desire of serving their ownselves, and gratifying their own flesh without knowing or caring what is required of them. Their desire is for the honour, profit, or pleasure their relationship will provide them but not for what God and man requires or expects from them. [Gen 2:18, Prov 18:22] Their mind is concerned only with what they shall have and not for what they shall be and do. (1)

They know what they want others to do for them, but do not care what their duty is to do for others. This is the way it is with too many husbands and wives.

We should be very concerned to know what the duties of our relationships are. And how we can please God in our relationships. Study and do your part, and God will certainly do his.

Direct. I. The first duty of husbands is to love their wives (and wives their husbands). Eph 5.25,28,29,33. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.­­So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies; he that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.­­Let every one of you in particular so love his wife, even as himself.” See Gen 2.24.

Some directions for maintaining love are as follows:

1. Choose a good spouse in the first place. A spouse who is truly good and kind. Full of virtue and holiness to the Lord. (2)

2. Don’t marry till you are sure that you can love entirely.

3. Be not too hasty, but know beforehand all the imperfections which may tempt you to despise your future mate. (3)

4. Remember that justice commands you to love one that has forsaken all the world for you. One who is contented to be the companion of your labours and sufferings, and be a sharer in all things with you, and that MUST be your companion until death. (4)

5. Remember that women are ordinarily affectionate, passionate creatures, and as they love much themselves, so they expect much love from you.

6. Remember that you are under God’s command; and to deny marital love to your wives, is to deny a duty which God has urgently imposed on you. Obedience therefore should command your love.

7. Remember that you are “one flesh”; you have drawn her to forsake father and mother, and to cleave to you; (5)

8. Take more notice of the good, that is in your wives, than of her faults. Let not the observation of their faults make you forget or overlook their virtues. (6)

9. Don’t magnify her imperfections until they drive you crazy.

Excuse them as far as is right in the Lord. Consider the frailty of the sex. Consider also your own infirmities, and how much your wives must bear with you. (7)

10. Don’t stir up the evil of your spouse, but cause the best in them to be lived out. (8)

11. Overcome them with love; and then they will be loving to you, and consequently lovely. Love will cause love, as fire kindleth fire. A good husband is the best means to make a good and loving wife. (9)

12. Live before them the life of a prudent, lowly, loving, meek, self­denying, patient, harmless, holy heavenly Christian. (10)

Direct. II. Husbands and wives must live together. 1 Cor 7:2­5

Direct III. Abhor not only adultery itself, but all that leads to unchasteness and the violation of your marriage­covenant. [Mat 5.31,32; 19:9; John 8,4­5, of adultery; Heb 13.4; Prov 22.14; Hos 4.2­3; Prov 2.17; 1 Cor 6.15,19; Mal. 2.15; Prov 6.32,35; Deu 23.2; Lev 21.9; 18:28; Num 25.9; Jer 5.7­9]

Direct. IV. Husband and wife must delight in the love and company, and lives of each other. When husband and wife take pleasure in each other, it unites them in duty, it helps them with ease to do their work, and bear their burdens; and is a major part of the comfort of marriage. [Prov 5.18,19]

Direct. V. It is your solemn duty to live in quietness and peace. To avoid every occasion of fierce anger and discord.

[I. Directions showing the great necessity of avoiding dissension.]

1. The duty of your marriage­union requires unity. Can you not agree with your own flesh?

2. Division with your spouse will pain and upset your whole life … Just as you do not wish to hurt your own self and are quick to care for your own wounds; so you should take notice of any break in the peace of your marriage and quickly seek to heal it. 3. Fighting chills love, fighting makes your spouse undesirable to you in your mind. Wounding is separating; to be tied together through marital bonds while your hearts are estranged is to be tormented. To be inwardly adversaries, while outwardly husband and wife turns your home and delight into a prison. (11)

4. Dissension between the husband and the wife disrupts the whole family life; they are like oxen unequally yoked, no work can be accomplished for all the striving with one another.

5. It greatly makes you unfit for the worship of God; you are not able to pray together nor to discuss heavenly things together, nor can you be mutual helpers to each other’s souls. (12)

6. Dissension makes it impossible to manage your family properly.(13)

7. Your dissension will expose you to the malice of Satan, and give him advantage for many, many temptations. (14)

[II. Directions for avoiding dissensions.]

1. Keep alive your love for one another. Love your spouse dearly and fervently. Love will suppress wrath; you cannot be bitter over little things with someone you dearly love; much less will you descend to harsh words, aloofness, or any form abuse. (15)

2. Both husband and wife must mortify their pride and strong self­ centered feelings. (16 ) These are the feelings which cause intolerance and insensitivity. You must pray and labour for a humble, meek, and quiet spirit. A proud heart is troubled and provoked by every word that seems to assault your self­esteem.(17)

3.Do not forget that you are both diseased persons, full of infirmities; and therefore expect the fruit of those infirmities in each other; and do not act surprised about it, as if you had never known of it before. Decide to be patient with one another; remembering that you took one another as sinful, frail, imperfect persons, and not as angels, or as blameless and perfect. (18)

4. Remember still that your are one flesh; and therefore be no more offended with the words or failings of each other, than you would be if they were your own. Be angry with your wife for her faults no more than you are angry with yourself for your own. Have such an anger and displeasure against a fault, as will work to heal it; but not such as will cause festering and aggravation of the diseased part. This will turn anger into compassion, and will cause you to administer care for the cure. (19)

5. Agree together beforehand, that when one of you is sinfully angry and upset the other shall silently and gently bear it until you have come to your sanity. (20)

6. Have an eye to the future and remember that you must live together until death, and must be the companions of each other’s lives, and the comforts of each other’s lives, and then you will see how absurd it is for you to disagree and upset each other.(21)

7. As far as you are able, avoid all occasions of wrath and quarreling, about the matters of your families.(22)

8. If you are so angry that you cannot calm yourself at least control your tongue and do not speak hurtful and taunting words, talking it out hotly fans the fire, and increases the flame; (Do not ventilate your anger as you only feed your fleshly vengenance) Be silent, and you will much sooner return to your serenity and peace.(23)

9. Let the calm and rational spouse speak carefully and compellingly reason with the other (unless it be with a person so insolent as will make things worse). Usually a few sober, grave admonitions, will prove as water to the boiling pot. Say to your angry wife or husband, “You know this should not be between us; love must put it to rest, and it must be repented of. God does not approve of it, and we shall not approve of it when this heat is over. This frame of mind is contrary to a praying frame, and this language contrary to a praying language; we must pray together; let us do nothing contrary to prayer now: sweet water and bitter come not from one spring”, etc. Some calm and condescending words of reason, may stop the torrent, and revive the reason which passion had overcome.(24)

10. When you have sinfully acted towards your spouse confess to one another; and ask for forgiveness of each other, and join in prayer to God for pardon; and this will act as a preventative in you the next time: you will surely be ashamed to do that which you have confessed and asked forgiveness for of God and man.(25)

Direct. VI. One of the most important duties of a husband to his wife and a wife to her husband is to carefully, skillfully, and diligently help each other in the knowledge and worship, and obedience of God that they might be saved and grow in their Christian Life.

1. This is not love, when you neglect each other’s soul.(26 ) Do you believe that you have immortal souls, and an endless life of joy or misery to live? Then you MUST know that your great concern and business is, to care for those souls, and for the endless life. Therefore if your love does not help one another in this which is your main concern, it is of little worth, and of little use. Every thing in this world is as valuable as it is useful. A useless or unprofitable love, is a worthless love. It is a trifling, or a childish, or a beastly love, which helps you but in trifling, childish, or beastly things. Do you love your wife, and will leave her in the power of Satan, or will not help to save her soul? What! love her, and yet let her go to hell? and rather let her be damned than you will be at the pains to endeavor her salvation? Never say you love them, if you will not labour for their salvation.

What then shall we say of them that do not only deny their help, but are hinderers of the holiness and salvation of each other! [1Kings 11.4, Acts 5.2, Job 2.9] And yet (the Lord have mercy on the poor miserable world!) how common a thing is this among us! If the wife be ignorant and ungodly, she will do her worst to make or keep her husband in the same state as she is herself; and if God put any holy inclinations into his heart, she will be like water to the fire, to quench it or to keep it subdued; and if he will not be as sinful and miserable as herself, he shall have little rest. And if God open the eyes of the wife of a bad man, and show her the necessity of a holy life, and she resolves to obey the Lord, and save her soul, what an enemy and tyrant will her husband be to her ( if God does not restrain him); so that the devil himself will do no more to prevent the saving of their souls than ungodly husbands and wives do against each other.

2. Consider also that you are not living up to the design of marriage, if you are not helping each other’s souls.(27)

3. Consider also, if you neglect each other’s souls, what enemies you are to one another, and how you are preparing for your everlasting sorrows: when you should be preparing for your joyful meeting in heaven, you are laying up for yourselves everlasting horror.(28)

Therefore without a moment’s hesitation determine to live together as heirs of heaven, and to be a helper to one other’s souls. To assist you in this holy pursuit I will give you these following directions, which if you will faithfully practice, may make you to be special blessings to each other.

Direct. I. Before you can help to save each other’s souls you must be sure of your own. You must have a deep and living understanding of the great eternal matters of which you are required to speak to others about. If you have no compassion for your own soul and will sell it for a moment of ease and pleasure, surely then you have no compassion for your spouse’s soul.(29)

Direct. II. Take every opportunity which your nearness provides to be speaking seriously to each other about the matters of God, and your salvation.(30 ) Discussing those things of this world no more than required. And then talk together of the state and duty of your souls towards God, and of your hopes of heaven, as those that take these for their greatest business. And don’t speak lightly, or unreverently, or in a rude and disputing manner; but with gravity and sobriety, as those that are discussing the most important things in the whole world. [Mark 8:36]

Direct. III. When either husband or wife is speaking seriously about holy things, let the other be careful to cherish, and not to extinguish the conversation.(31)

Direct IV. Watch over the hearts and lives of one another, judging the condition of each other’s souls, and the strength or weakness of each others sins and graces, and the failings of each others lives, so that you may be able to apply to one another the most suitable help. (32)

Direct. V. Do not flatter one another from a foolish love.(33 ) Neither meanly critise one another. Do all in true, Godly love. Some are so blinded to the faults of husband, wife or child that they do not see the sin and wickedness in them. They are deluded concerning their eternal souls. This is the same as it is with self­ loving sinners and their own souls, willfully deceiving themselves to their damnation. This flattering of yourselves or others, is but the devil’s charm to keep you from effectual repentance and salvation. On the other hand, some cannot speak to one another of their faults, without such bitterness, or contempt, which will cause them to refuse the medicine that could save them. If the everyday warnings you make to strangers must all be offered in love, much more between the husband and wife.

Direct. VI. Keep up your love to one another, do not grow distant. For if you do, you will despise each other’s counsels and reproofs.

Direct. VII. Do not discourage your spouse from instructing you by refusing to receive and learn from their corrections.(34)

Direct. VIII. Help each other by reading together the most convicting, cutting, life­giving books. The ones most spiritual. Do not waste your time on light, weak, milk­toast ministries and books. Make friendships together with the holiest persons. This is not neglecting your duty to one another, but that all the helps working together may be the more effectual.(35)

Direct. IX. Don’t Conceal the state of your souls, nor hide your faults from one another. You are as one flesh, and should have one heart: and as it is dangerous for a man to be ignorant of his own soul so it is very hurtful to husband or wife to be ignorant of one another, in those areas where they have need of help.(36)

Direct X. Avoid as much as possible different opinions in religion.

Direct. XI. If different religious understandings come between you, be sure that you manage it with holiness, humility, love, and peace, and not with carnality, pride, uncharitableness, or contention.

Direct. XII. Do not either blindly indulge each others faults nor be too critical of each other’s state, allowing Satan to alienate your affections from one another.

Direct. XIII. If you are married to one that is an ungodly person, yet keep up all the love which is due for the relation’s sake.(37)

Direct XIV. Join together in frequent and fervent prayer. Prayer forces the mind into sobriety, and moves the heart with the presence and majesty of God. Pray also for each other when you are in secret, that God may do that work which you most desire, upon each other’s hearts.

Direct. XV. Lastly, Help each other by an exemplary life. Be yourself, what you desire your husband or wife should be; excel in meekness, and humility, and charity, and dutifulness, and diligence, and self­denial, and patience.(38 )

Direct. VII. Another important duty in marriage is, to help in the health and comfort of each other’s bodies. Not to pamper each other’s flesh, or cherish the vices of pride, or sloth, or gluttony, or the sensual pleasures in each other; but to increase the health and vigor of the body, making it fit for the service of the soul and God.

1. In health, you must be careful to provide for each other (not so much pleasing as) wholesome food, and to keep each other from that which is hurtful to your health; warning each other from the dangers of gluttony and idleness, the two great murderers of mankind.(39)

2. Also in sickness, you are to be caring of each other; and not to spare any costs or pains, by which the health of each other may be restored, or your souls confirmed, and your comforts cherished.(40)

Direct. VIII. Another duty of husbands and wives is, to be helpful to each other in their worldly business and estates. Not for worldly ends, nor with a worldly mind; but in obedience to God, who will have them labour, as well as pray, for their daily bread, and has determined that in the sweat of their brows they shall eat their bread; and that six days they shall labor and do all that they have to do; and that he that will not work must not eat.(41)

Direct IX. Also you must be careful to guard the honour of one another. You must not divulge, but conceal, the failings of each other; The reputation of each other must be as dear to you as your own. It is a sinful and unfaithful practice of many, both husbands and wives, who among their friends are discussing the faults of each other, which they are required in tenderness to cover up. MANY peevish persons will aggravate all the faults of their spouse behind their backs.(42 )

Direct X. IT is your marriage duty to assist one another in the education of your children.(43)

Direct XI. It is your marriage duty to assist each other in charity.(44)

Direct XII. LASTLY, it is a great DUTY of husbands and wives, to help and comfort one other in preparing for a safe and happy death.(45)

1. In the time of health, you must often and seriously remind each other of the time when death will make the separation; and live together daily as those that are still expecting the parting hour….Reprove everything in one another, which would be an unwelcome memory at death. If you see each other dull and slow in heavenliness, or living in vanity, worldliness, or sloth, as if you had forgotten that you must shortly die, stir up one another to do all without delay which the approach of such a day requireth.

2. And when death is at hand, oh then what abundance of tenderness, and seriousness, and skill, and diligence, is needful for one, that hath the last office of love to perform, to the departing soul of so near a friend! Oh then what need will there be of your most wise, and faithful, and diligent help!….They that are utterly unprepared and unfit to die themselves, can do little to prepare or help another. But they that live together as the heirs of heaven, and converse on earth as fellow travellers to the land of promise, may help and encourage the souls of one another, and joyfully part at death, as expecting quickly to meet again in life eternal.

THE END


No doubt much of the original force and poetry has been lost in my feeble attempt to modernise. It was only my hope to make this treatise available and understandable to the reader who has not accustomed himself to reading and understanding the language of our King James Version Bible. This work was found in Volume I, Baxter’s Practical Works, A Christian Directory, page 431­438. Also available upon request is a Bible study where the scriptures reflecting on each point in Baxter’s above treatise are listed. (Contact Scott Andersen, email: sdandersen@juno.com) It would be hoped that the hearing of God’s word regarding the mutual duties of Husbands and Wives will further strengthen your conviction and provide help to your soul to live as Faith requires. Lastly I would like to relate what a very wise man once told me: “If you are having troubles with your spouse it is not because of what you think of him or her, it is not because of negative thought patterns, it is not because you haven’t first loved self. But it is what you think of Jesus. Do you love Him FIRST? Do you live for Him FIRST? Is your life, his? If you are right with Jesus Christ the King of Glory, then it will be right with your husband or your wife. And this is what is right with God.”

FOOTNOTES

Some of the following scripture references are found in Baxter’s Work, others I have added in hopes of increasing your edification.

1 Luk 6:31­32; 1Cor 10:24; Gal 6:2; Phil 2:4; 2tim 3:2; Jam 2:15; 1Joh 3:17; Gen 4:9; 1 Sam 25:3­11; Esth 6:6; Isa 56:11; Joh 6:26
2 Pro 18:22; Pro 19:13­14
3 Pro 18:13
4 Mat 5:32; Mat 19:9; 1Cor 7:39; Col 3:19; Gen 2:24
5 Mat 19:5; Mar 10:7
6 1 Cor 13:7; Phil 2:3
7 Psa 103:14; 1Cor 13:7
8 Pro 10:12
9 Rom 12:21; 1Pet 3:9
10 Eph 4:1; Col 1:10; 1The 2:12; Pro 11:30; 1Tim 4:16; Jam 5:19­20; 1Pet 3:1­2
11 Pro 19:13
12 Mat 5:23; 1Sam 15:22
13 Mat 12:25; Mar 3:25; Luk 11:17
14 Jam 1:13; 1Cor 7:5; Job 2:9
15 Lev 19:8; Psa 133:1; Pro 15:17; Rom 12:10; Rom 14:19; Rom 15:1; 1Cor 13:4­7
16 Luk 9:23; Psa 101:5; Prov 16:5; Prov 21:4; Prov 28:25; Mat 23:12; 1Pet 5:6
17 Psa 10:4; Hos 7:10; Prov 13:10; Prov 28:25
18 Jer 17:9; Rom 7:24; 1Joh 1:8
19 Eph 4:26; Eph 4:32; Jam 1:19
20 Eph 4:2; 1Cor 13:4
21 Ecc 9:9; Rom 7:2
22 Gen 2:24
23 Gal 5:15; Jam 3:5,6,8
24 Pro 15:18; Mat 5:9; Psa 85:8
25 Eph 4:32; Jam 5:16
26 2Cor 2:4; 2Cor 12:15; 1The 2:8
27 Gen 2:18 1The 5:11; Eph 4:16; Heb 12:15; 1cor 7:5; Col 2:19; Gen 35:2; Gen 35:4; Lev 19:17; Num 16:27; Num 16:32
29 Gen 2:18; 2Cor 13:5; Gal 6:3; Gen 25:29; Gen 25:34
30 Col 3:16; Heb 3:13; Heb 10:24
31 Pro 27:6; Pro 15:12; Pro 15:31; Pro 15:32
32 Heb 10:24
33 Eph 4:15; Eph 4:26­5:9
34 Pro 29:1
35 Eph 4:11­16
36 Jam 5:16; Eph 5:27­32
37 1Cor 7:13­14
38 1Pe 3:1; Joh 13:15; 1Tim 4:12; 1Cor 11:1; 1The 1:6; 2The 3:7­9;
Tit 2:6; Jam 3:17; 2Pe 1:5­8
39 1Cor 6:19; Deu 21:20; Pro 23:21; Pro 19:15; Pro 6:9; Pro 10:4;
2Th 3:10 Pro 19:24; Pro 20:13; Pro 23:21; Pro 24:33; Isa 56:10;
1Tim 5:13
40 Eph 5:29, Job 19:17
41 Pro 31; Tit 2:5; 1Ti 5:14; 1Ti 5:8; Ex 20:9,11; Ge 3:19; 1Th 3:10­12
42 Jam 4:11; Pro 17:9; 1Pet 4:8
43 Gen 18:19; Gen 35:2; Jos 24:14; 1Tim 5:14; Prov 31:1
44 Heb 13:2; Gen 18:6; Rom 12:13; 2Cor 9:6; Luk 16:9; 1Tim 3:2; 1Tim 5:10; Pro 11:20; Pro 11:28; Neh 8:1; Pro 19:17; Job 29:13; Joh 31:20 Acts 20:35
45 Deu 32:29; Psa 39:4; Psa 90:12; Rom 14:8; Heb 13:14; 1Pe 1:17; Psa 3:5; Psa 37:37; Psa 49:15; Psa 73:24; Psa 116:15; Pro 14:32; Ecc 7:1; Luk 16:22; Luk 23:43; 1Cor 15:51­57; 2Cor 5:1; 2Cor 5:4; 2Cor 5:8; Phi 1:20­23; 1The 5:9; 2Pe 1:11; 2Pe 1:14; Rev 14:13; Psa 23:4

Lust not for men only

by Carolyn McCulley (via) DesiringGod.org

We’re well into the heat of summer now, and that means many churches across the American landscape have, at some point, reiterated the modesty message for the good church ladies everywhere.

Wait. I can actually see that eyeroll of yours even from here. But, friends, don’t click away just yet. Because I am going to go where large swaths of American church culture need to go on this topic … but often don’t.

I’m talking about lust. And women.

For the past eight years, I’ve had the privilege of writing two books and hundreds of articles and blog posts for women, which then led to numerous speaking engagements. Right from the start, I noticed a trend at each event, whether in the U.S. or abroad. Invariably, one woman would wait to talk to me until the bitter end, because she wanted to confess something that made her feel doubly shameful. She wanted to talk about her lust and sexual sin, a struggle she was sure was hers alone among the women in church.

How did these women arrive at this conclusion? Because for years most churches herded the men off to talk about lust, while gathering the women to discuss modesty. While those are valid and much needed messages, they are incomplete for the culture in which we now live.

To understand the times, let’s look at the messages women have absorbed in recent years. There are stripper pole classes at the gym and women’s magazines with screaming headlines about sex and seduction techniques. The morning talk shows candidly discuss sex toy parties. „Sex and the City” becomes a major franchise while „Girls Gone Wild” captures drunken sexual escapades among college students. Abercrombie & Fitch markets push-up bikini tops to 8-year-old girls. Lady Gaga bursts onto the pop music scene wishing she could shut her Playboy mouth. Not one item is sold in the mall without an erotic image. And women are increasingly immersed in online porn.

This highly sexualized culture is the new normal for young women who grew up in the ethos of third-wave feminism’s pro-porn, pro-sex work stance. So normal that when I spoke at a Christian college earlier this year, one woman raised her hand to ask, „So are you saying that it’s bad that there’s too much pornographic influence in our culture? But shouldn’t women embrace their sexuality?”

Um, yes. And yes. That answer highlights the problem: the counterfeit has usurped the authentic. Sex is God’s idea and his good gift to be properly stewarded within his design. For that reason, the church should be the most pro-sex group there is. We have a message of hope and redemption in the morass of sexual confusion. But first we need to help the women who are confused and in our churches right now. Here are four points on how to do that:

1. Give the truth about sex and why it’s attacked.

Let’s start with that modesty message. If it’s framed as a simple „don’t tempt men” message, it is incomplete and easily dismissed. We need to back up and explain first what is good about God’s gift and how it is distorted in a myriad of ways. We should equip young women to be discerning about the spiritual battle raging around sexuality. The Adversary has no need to improve upon his first character assassination of God. Contradicting God’s boundaries and insinuating that he is holding out on his creatures is nearly foolproof.

2. Teach young women not to mistake broken for normal.

Then we need to teach young women how rapidly our culture became porn-saturated in only one generation. That’s often news to those who grew up in it and therefore they often don’t understand the brokenness that follows in the wake of the sexual imagery they accept as normal. As John Piper says, lust is the realm of thought, imagination, and desire that leads to sexual misconduct—and young women often overlook how their drive to be sexually desirable is smack in the middle of that realm.

When young women understand the cosmic consequences of sexual sin, the worldviews that shape our consumption of sexual messages today, and how God’s glory is under spiritual attack, they will not mistake any modesty message for a frumpy fashion campaign. Nor will they resent the men around them for being impediments to whatever is stylish. Instead, they will be sobered by how Satan still „prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8)—and that men and women alike are fair game.

3. Stop thinking that only men have seeing problems.

Let’s not assume that immodesty only affects the eyes of men. Women are becoming increasingly visualized as well, and can be distracted in similar, though perhaps not identical, ways. We also need to remember and help those women who wrestle with same-sex attraction. After I mentioned this recently at a large conference, several women came up to say this is their temptation and how hard it is for them to be open about it in the church. They fear misunderstanding, judgment and gossip.

4. Create a culture of light.

We need to clearly teach that lust is a human condition, not just a masculine one. Knowing God’s glory is at stake, we need to create humble church cultures where secret sin is not kept in the dark, but rather brought into the light. If we rightly understand the doctrine of sin, we should never be surprised by our own temptations nor by the confessions of others. We should want to create „safe harbors” for God’s people to confess, repent, and welcome accountability for change. The roaring lion waits in the cover of darkness to attack what he finds there, but „whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God” (John 3:21).

Let us help the women in our churches experience the freedom of living in the light.

Carolyn McCulley is an author, speaker, and documentary filmmaker. She has written more about third-wave feminism in her book, Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World.

Family Series 16B- Biblical femininity for single women and How can I long to be married without obsessing for it? John Piper

Click to listen to the audio for-

We’re not on hold, Biblical femininity for single women

From a John Piper Question and Answer session:

How can I long to be married

without obsessing about it?

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.How can I long to be married without obsessing about it?

I suppose the dynamics of that question and its answer relate not just to marriage, but to almost any strong desire that you have, especially a desire relating to people.

So my mind broadens out from the marriage issue to ask, „Why do we obsess about anything? Why do we have overweening preoccupations with anything?”

The reason is because God and his Son don’t have the place in our hearts that they should have. The human heart is a God-shaped vacuum—Pascal said that—and it’s designed for God to fill. And if we have small views of God, and inadequate perceptions of his greatness and his glory and his love for us and his sufficiency for us, then there will be big cavernous places in our souls. And they will be churning out these desires that are just huge and controlling, whether it’s a spouse or sexual things or money or praise of man or revenge.

A lot of people are just consumed. They can’t seem to shake it. And I think the answer there is not so much, „Fight, fight, fight! Stop doing that! Stop doing that!” but rather, „Devote yourself to knowing and loving God. Immerse yourself in the Word.”

So when it comes to desiring a spouse you admit, „Of course, I’d like to be married. And Lord, would you work that? Would you do that?” And then you rest in him. Delight yourself in the Lord. Get all of your desires focused on him, and then those desires will be managed in such a way that in due season God will satisfy them. That’s what we’re doing for our Fighter Verse this week. „Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

We were talking about that verse at our staff meeting the other day, in relation to marriage. And I forget who said it, but someone said that the problem is that we treat „Delight yourself in the Lord” like a tool. Like, „OK, I’ve done that. Why am I not married yet?” As though „Delight yourself in the Lord” is a quick little turn of the key, and you get what you want.

It isn’t like that. Delighting yourself in the Lord is an all-consuming, day-by-day quest to bring all of our desires into that one great desire, so that he does satisfy.

So you walk into a group of people, and your mindset should be, „Lord, I’m just going to be there for others, like you’ve been there for me. I’m not going to look at every person as a candidate for doing for me what my cavernous needs require right now. You’ve met those needs. I’m going to be there for others. And you do what you want. I’ll trust you.”

So the answer is to get our orientation off of our needs and onto the needs of others, and that’s only possible if God fills up that vacuum. Which means we should really devote ourselves to knowing him and being content in him.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

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