Tim and Maggie

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Of course we confess the fact that God is the Creator of all things, but we have to be more specific than this. God did not just create matter, bringing it all forth out of nothing—although He did in fact do that. God created all the constituent parts of the cosmos, which would include time and space, matter and energy. But God did not just created the world—He shaped it, and He shaped in every detail. He shaped the crab nebulae, and He shaped the quarks and leptons.

We must pay attention to the authority that is bound up in this shaping. God did not just create material stuff, like so much inert and featureless Play Dough. The Scriptures are clear that He created particular things—sun, moon, night, day, land, sea, fish, birds, male and female. This means that He created edges. He created boundaries. He created perimeters, rims, and thresholds. There is always a place where one particular thing stops, and another particular thing starts. And within the boundaries of that thing, it is entirely that thing.

But our first parents grabbed for the knowledge of good and evil prematurely, and so it is that our race has grown old, has grown foolish, and has tumbled into the ways of death. In this folly, we want the basic stuff of the world to be featureless, without defined characteristics. We want this so that we can “be as God,” and place our own imprint on matter. We want to be able to invent ourselves, and if we think that society has oppressed us with various assigned stereotypes, we want to be able to declare our authority to reinvent ourselves. We want to place our own imprint on what we are. We want to be able to define ourselves. All of this is just a farrago of nonsense. We are creatures, and we are defined by our Creator.

God created things. God created kinds. God created this, and God created that. The long and short of it is that a man is a man all the way through. A woman is a woman all the way through. From the top of his head to the bottom of his feet, he is a man. The same goes for the woman. Each of us here is a picture painted by God, and His signature is in the lower right hand corner of every one of our cells—and there are trillions of those in every human body. When God defines, He defines entirely.

He created the man first, and it was good, but not completely good. It was not good for man to be alone, and so God created a being who was like the man, but was not a man. She shall be called woman, Adam said, for she was taken out of man. The first woman was created from the first man, but when she was created, a new and different kind of thing was established. Now these two different kinds of creatures—male and female—are complementary. When in fellowship with God, they are of necessity in fellowship with one another, and there is no harmony in the world quite like it. But the thing that makes it possible for them to harmonize is the fact that they are not identical.

So the first step is to surrender to the authority of God to define us. The second thing is to attend to the content of those definitions. God has communicated to us the nature of our natures, and He has done this in various ways. We learn His purposes for us from the created order around us, and from our inclinations and instincts. We learn from natural revelation, in other words. But over all of it, surrounding all of it, is the inspired and authoritative Word of God as found in the Scriptures. This means that every married couple that wants to walk in step with the Spirit of God must do two things. They must first surrender the principle. We are defined creatures, not defining creators. And in the second place, we must be students of the Word of God, seeking His wisdom for how we are to live. And, according to His gospel logic, when we abandon all pretense of being our own originals, He makes us . . . original.

Tim, my charge to you is this. Be a man of the Scriptures. If you are a man of the Scriptures, then you will be a husband according to the Scriptures, and later on, a father according to the Scriptures. It is your task to make sure that the Bibles in your home do not spend an inordinate time on the book shelf. The Bibles in your home should be in your hands, on your lap, on the desk in front of you, and on the breakfast table in between you and your wife. The center of gravity in your home must always be the revealed Word of God. When God said of Adam that it was not good for man to be alone, He meant that he should have a woman beside him. And when God said that man does not live by bread alone, He meant that he should constantly have the Scriptures with him—on his doorposts, on his lips, in his heart, and throughout his household. Live as befits a Christian husband.

Maggie, here is your charge. As you watch your husband submit himself, and his marriage and family to the authoritative Word of God, you must realize that he is modeling submission for you. He does not model submission to you, but rather for you. He is submitting himself to God and His Word. This means that as you live in the way Christian wives are called to live, honoring and respecting your husband, you are doing so in the full confidence that you are walking behind a man who is walking the same path. Men and women are both to obey, but they are assigned different tasks. As it happens, your obedience is the obedience that will make your husband’s obedience glorious. This is your calling, to be your husband’s glory.  

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, amen.