H. Standards – Titus 2:3-5
This is the unique passage in Scripture that links very directly the older woman with the younger in their related responsibilities. The older women are to be in a state of mind (behaviour) that is like the demeanor of servants in the temple. Their everyday behaviour is to be as a constant engagement in sacred duties even as they teach the younger women the standards of behaviour that are required by God. The aged woman who is given to stirring up “feelings” of discord and dislike among the saints, or those whose aim is apparently to satisfy their own physical appetites, will not be an effective spiritual benefit to the church.
The standards that are set out by the Spirit of God for the younger women are neither oppressive nor suppressive. It is within their divinely assigned role that they find their greatest fulfillment. The eight words specified by the apostle are neither vague nor indiscriminate:
sober – the preserving of the mind, self control:
husband – lovers
children – lovers
discreet – preserving the mind (again!)
chaste – Purity of act and thought with innocence and integrity of heart
home – workers – no more and no less
good – that is, beneficial in their effectiveness within their sphere of influence
submissive – standing under to their own husbands
These terms and standards are not directly related to the gatherings of the assembly or responsibilities at those gatherings, as they are aimed more at the home life. However, the assembly will, sooner than later, take its character and atmosphere from the condition or quality of the home life of those families which comprise its fellowship.
VI Spirit – I Peter 3:1-6
As we come to consider this last portion of Scripture on the issue before us, we are compelled by the very opening word to go back to the previous chapter. Actually, the whole section of 1 Peter 2:11 to 4:11 is occupied with the theme of “Subjection in Suffering”. But to focus on the subject before us, we need only refer back to verse 18. There, the domestic (household) servants are exhorted to subjection to their masters, and the specific issue of dealing with unjustified suffering is highlighted. It is to be an evidence of the grace of God Note the words , thankworthy in verse 19 and “acceptable” in verse 20 are simply .grace in their lives when they accept unjustified griefs and the resultant suffering with patience.
The example for this attitude is Christ Himself, for He, having done no sin, actively or reactively, went so far as to bear our sins in His own body to the extent of crucifixion. He did this while committing His cause back to God for righteous appraisal and in order to restore the actual sinners to the One who truly cared for their souls. I suggest the thought that the Christian domestic servant from the previous section would, by accepting the unjustified suffering from the hand of his master, restore all the household “staff’ to a right relationship with the master who may have been angered by some wrong done to him or his goods by one of his servants. The innocent disciple who “took the blame” was the basis for restoration. That is what Christ did for us.
But then comes this startling word in 1 Peter 3:1,7, “likewise!” First, let us look at the wife. She, by her submissive manner of life and deportment, is potentially able to influence an unbelieving husband towards the gospel and its claims. If she emphasizes in her life those spiritual graces that are to be so characteristic of the believer, and minimizes those outward decorations, she will highlight to him the benefit of eternal values over material ones. Note the stark contrast between the outward, decorative terms in v 3 and the seven internal and invisible things in v 4. Then, the apostle takes us back to the attitude of Sarah, whose submissive spirit was a hallmark of her hope in God. The restorative potential noticed in the first two sections is again seen here, by the spirit of the Christian wife.
Now the husband is addressed. He is exhorted to live together with his wife in harmony with his appreciation of her, and to apportion honour to her, as a weaker person, because together they inherit life, and any other attitude would hinder their prayers. His attitude toward her then must be such as would not put a roadblock before their prayers. A proper acceptance of her by him, though it may involve subjection by him in certain spheres of his thinking, will cause harmony and prosperity in the marriage.
From the very beginning of this NT study, where the covering of the woman’s head had a spiritual purpose for extraterrestrial beings, the writers of Scripture have been lifting the minds of their readers to the spiritual, inner values that should characterize the attitude of the Christian woman. It is not a suppressive or demeaning approach when it demonstrates the value of living and functioning within the sphere that God has assigned from the Garden of Eden right down to this present day Here lies her greatest blessing, and the life that she lives herein affects her husband, her children, her assembly, and her impression in the world as she testifies her desire to live for the God who has blessed her with His eternal salvation and sanctification.
VII Creatorial Product Gen 5:1-2
Having seen the purposes of God, in the initial statement of creation (chap 1) and in the particular individual process of chap 2, we have also considered the consequences of sin in chapters 3 and 4, and the introduction of the “second man” in chap 4:25, the Seth who typifies Christ in resurrection. We are now faced with a repeat declaration of God’s original purpose. it suggests that after the course of sin in this world, and the work of deliverance by the divinely appointed seed, the original desire of God shall yet be fulfilled in the eternal state.
The likeness of God shall again be displayed in man, as it was intended, and we have seen in various passages where this is foreshadowed, and specifically prophesied.
It is to be noted that the individuality of both male and female is still confirmed. Though Galatians 3:28 has declared the irrelevance of gender in the relationship with Christ, the reality of it is still obvious. Man and women shall both retain their individual identity in a heavenly sphere and enjoy the fullness of that under the design of the Divine objective.
The verb here translated ‘blessed” has the primary meaning “to kneel” and, in the Hebrew verb form piel, denotes intensity and repetition. Thus, we learn that God made humans “kneelers”, and their “blessing” comes from the fact that God made them thus to express their dependence upon their God and find their blessedness in their God.
Here, we should notice the “togetherness” of both man and woman in the reality of their relationship, for God blessed “them”. The spiritual component of their life and relationship with God is now shown to be equal.
But, regardless of individuality or distinctiveness, God still does not consider the man without the woman, nor the woman as separate from the man, and He identifies them as “Adam”. How significant in regards to the last Adam (Christ), for God will not look upon Him as being distinct or disassociated from the Bride, whom He has given to His Son, that she might be identified with him, and by His Name for all eternity! Quite simply, God cannot look at Christ without seeing us. “I in them … that they-be with me.” (John 17:23-24).