Tuesday, 5 August 2014
Tuesday, 29 July 2014
Wednesday, 28 May 2014
By Ess-Jee Rautenbach
We are living in very interesting times. And the way we perceive the Bible and Christ is key to how we construct our lives and make decisions. The way we view the Gospel is also a great prediction of how we perceive marriage, divorce, re-marriage and separation. In this article, I will try to show you that in our generation we can get three types of Gospels. Most Christians fall in one of them.
The Analogy of three Gospels can also be seen as what type of lens you are looking through. Your lens is the filter you look through -- at the Bible, Jesus, etc. This lens also determines the way you experience other believers and how you will act in certain situations. It is also the core of your belief system. Frank Viola names the three Gospels in His book, “Reimaging Church,” and he discusses them in detail. For this article’s purpose, I only touch on them shortly, just to give you an idea of why we do what we do.
“A man's morality will almost always determine his theology, not vice versa. People first choose how they wish to live and then construct and conform their world view to suit their lifestyle. It is a rare person who objectively looks at the Bible in inductive study to see what is said and then brings his life in conformity with biblical standards.” Craig Hill
In the start of the first century and even to the present day, we get three Gospels. They are: Libertinism, Legalism and the Gospel of Liberty and Lordship. Libertinism is where the individual beliefs that Grace covers all his sins. He believes that Jesus dying on the cross gives him a license to sin. He justifies his actions with prophetic words: God told him, etc. Most of his actions are not in line with the Word of God but, in his mind, he is okay because Christ died for His sins. As we read Romans 6, we can see that Paul tackles this Gospel head on, telling the reader that we should not give in to the desires of our flesh because the fruits of listening to our flesh lead to sin, and sin leads to death. The same is true in the book of James. James implores believers not to fall for this type of Gospel. To make James’ and Paul’s cautions relevant to today, we can find this type of Gospel in Hyper Grace movements and also in some Charismatic Churches. Apply this lens to marriage and we find individuals who divorce, re-marry and even commit adultery with no hint of remorse or repentance.
The second Gospel is Legalism. This Gospel is marked by the believer working very hard to earn God’s acceptance. In my own experience, these individuals always dig deep into old covenant scriptures and use the Old Testament to justify their words and actions. They also judge those who do not do what they do or do not have the same conviction they have. They are very prideful individuals who are marked by self-righteousness. In some way or another, they have placed themselves above other people. In marriage, these individuals have all the right knowledge and they even sometimes speak the truth, but what they say and what they do are two totally different things. They use scripture to justify their sinful behaviors. In the Book of Galatians, we can see Paul addressing such a legalistic Church.
“In short, the libertine lives as if there is no God. The legalist lives as though she or he is God to everyone else. Both attitudes are incompatible with the life of Christ.” Viola, Frank. Jesus Now: Unveiling the Present-Day Ministry of Christ
The third and final Gospel is the Gospel of Lordship and Liberty. This Gospel is very scarce in our generation. This is a Gospel where believers take up their crosses and follow Jesus. This can also be seen as the ecclesia of Christ, the church most of the new covenant and New Testament talk about. When there is a reference to Church in the New Testament, it is talking about ecclesia, not the Institutional Church we know today.
“But the truth is, submission to Christ’s lordship is the gateway to the liberty of the Spirit.” Viola, Frank. Jesus Now: Unveiling the Present-Day Ministry of Christ
It is a Gospel where individuals, in cooperation with other brothers and sisters, make Jesus Christ Lord of their lives. They learn individually and corporately how to live from Christ in them. In other words, they learn how to live from Christ inside of them. This is a type of individual whose life will testify of love and all the fruit of the spirit as is described in Galatians 5. His walk is a sacrificial one. He strives to serve others daily and denies himself as well. In marriage, this individual stays true to his vows until “death do us part.” No matter what his or her spouse does or says, he or she chooses to stay faithful till death even if there spouse isn’t. They choose to stand for their marriages if need arises, sacrificing their lives for a spouse who doesn’t really deserve it, but they choose to love them anyway.
When Christ Jesus is the one who determines our Gospel and lens, nothing else matters. Our priorities begin to fall into place, our values are rightly determined and, most importantly, God is honored and glorified.
Monday, 26 May 2014
Tuesday, 20 May 2014
Monday, 19 May 2014
by Ess-Jee Rautenbach
Matthew Henry wrote: “The woman was made out of Adam’s side. She was not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved.”
It seems like, in our generation, we have everything mixed up. It seems that husbands are taking the roles of wives and wives are taking on the role of husbands. Wherever you go, you see this phenomenon. In many cases it seems that the wife misconstrues her calling to be conformed to Christ -- she is called to be conformed to Jesus in character, not in authority. In fact, the Bible tells her specifically that she is not to be like Christ in the exercise of authority, but to be like the Church who submits to Christ's authority (Eph 5:24).
Amplified Bible (AMP)
22 Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:23 24
King James Version (KJV)
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.
1 Peter 3:1-6 ESV
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands,
A wife should submit to her husband, not because women are inferior, but because that is how God designed the marital relationship to function. Submission is not being a “doormat.”
"The reason we as wives submit to our husbands is that, in our obedience to them, we are obeying Jesus. He knows men are prideful and He asked our submission for the sake of peace within our marriages. He showed us by example by submitting to us while He was on earth and He loved us even while He suffered. Now He calls us, women, to follow in His footsteps of loving submission. It is a high honor that He bestows exclusively upon women. Whereas men are charged with leadership, we are privileged to follow Jesus as peacekeepers through submission." Beth Durkee, award-winning Christian author
Titus 2:1-15 ESV
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Like the book Titus explains. There are not many Godly mentors left in our generation. Young men had to have mentors who could teach them how to train their eyes, to love there wives and to stay pure before marriage. But this is not happening because there are not many real godly men left. By Godly men, I mean men who pursue a life with Christ: Men who live by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The same goes for women. Most of us learn what we know from our parents and not much of what we learn is really in line with God’s word. Don’t misunderstand me. I know our parents did the best they knew how to do, but that is part of the problem we have in this generation. For example, if a young woman grows up in a home where there is not much respect shown for her dad by her mother, chances are good that she will grow up to follow her mother’s example with her own husband.
God designed marriage to work a certain way. He gave us a blue print on how things are supposed to work. If we don’t follow that blue print, then we will have a corrupt system and the fruits of our system will be perverted. Husbands and wives have individual roles to play in marriage relationships, but evil always tries to corrupt what God has designed. I think this again is a tactic of the enemy to destroy homes and families world wide.
Colossians 3:18 ESV
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.
Genesis 2:23 ESV
Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. ”
Genesis 2:18 ESV
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
Proverbs 31:30 ESV
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
1 Peter 3:5 ESV
For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands,
Specifically in South Africa, the resent divorce rates and stats show that 74% of people filing in court for divorce are women. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that husbands are blameless when a marriage hits rocky ground. But my focus of this article is the role of wives in marriage and how that role is being misinterpreted.
Believers are to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21). In context, everything in Ephesians 5:19-33 is a result of being filled with the Spirit. Spirit-filled believers are to be worshipful (5:19), thankful (5:20), and submissive (5:21). Paul then follows his line of thought on Spirit-filled living and applies it to husbands and wives in verses 22-33. A wife should submit to her husband, not because women are inferior, but because that is how God designed the marital relationship to function. Submission is not a wife’s being a “doormat” for her husband. Rather, with the help of the Holy Spirit, a wife submits to her husband, and a husband sacrificially loves his wife.
For a wife to go against her husband's desires and leave him, would require that she forsake her biblical responsibility to submit to his authority. If a wife is fully expected to be disobedient to her husband, her disobedience to him is in order that she be obedient to the Lord.Case in point: Most standing wives are doing so against their husbands' wishes.
Here is a short list of the role a wife has in her marriage:
- Woman was created by God for a purpose.
- A wife should follow her husband’s leadership
- A wife should care for her husband
- A wife must be careful what she says; love him
Read more: The Role of the Wife in a Christian Marriage
One point I think most men will agree on is that we need our wives to support us in the bedroom. That is an article on its own. But I know that women don’t understand how men work. There are many books explaining how men must satisfy their wives, etc. There are some great books out there, but our women need to understand how we work as well. We are simple and also complicated in our own unique way.
Christian wives must get back to the fundamentals of who is Christ living in them, so that they can be the best wives that God has made them to be. Like I mentioned earlier in this article, God’s design for marriage is flawless. I believe one of the first steps for us to get back on track is for each wife to strive to follow her husband’s leadership, to care for him, to respect him in all manner of conversation and live lives to help meet his needs. The marriage relationship on earth is a living representation of Christ’s relationship to the church, His bride (Ephesians 5:21-33). When a wife unselfishly loves and lives for her husband, she glorifies Christ and teaches the world the true role of a Christian wife.
So what is the blue print for the roles of husband and wife in marriage? It can be summed up in the following scriptures:
Ephesians 5:25 ESV
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
Ephesians 5:22 ESV
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Plain and simple.
May God bring us back to His original design and may we be a generation that turns things around.