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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Remembering God's Faithfulness

My friend Dwayne is blogging through the book “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” along with Mark Tubbs from I am following along with the blog and reading the book. You can follow the blog here:

You can read the free PDF of the book here:

I read this in chapter 1 of the book today (which was written by John Piper):

“Commending Biblical truth involves more than saying, ‘Do it because the Bible
says so.’ That sort of commendation may result in a kind of obedience that is so
begrudging and so empty of delight and hearty affirmation that the Lord is not pleased
with it at all.

So there is a second task needed in winning people over to a vision of manhood and
womanhood. Not only must there be thorough exegesis, there must also be a portrayal of
the vision that satisfies the heart as well as the head. Or to put it another way: we must
commend the beauty as well as the truth of the vision. We must show that something is
not only right but also good. It is not only valid but also valuable, not only accurate but
also admirable.

This chapter is meant to fit mainly into the second category. Not merely, but mainly.
It is designed to show that our vision of manhood and womanhood is a deeply satisfying
gift of grace from a loving God who has the best interests of his creatures at heart. The
vision is not onerous or oppressive. It does not promote pride or self-exaltation. It
conforms to who we are by God’s good design. Therefore it is fulfilling in the deepest
sense of that word.”

This fittingly describes the process that has gone on in my heart in recent years. I went from believing that what the Bible said about headship and submission was an irrelevant and outdated cultural construct to seeing the plain text of Scripture and begrudgingly “obeying” it. I sought out every opportunity to learn the practical aspects of what it meant to be a Biblical wife. As learned these characteristics and practical methods, I attempted to will myself to do these things--not understanding their rooting in the gospel. This resulted in a begrudged obedience. I was conceeding that I ought to do these things because the Bible told me I should, but I did not understand their purpose or relevance to the gospel. I was essentially living as a legalist. Since then, I have learned that “begrudging obedience” is no obedience at all. In other words, it did not honor God or bless my husband when I submitted to my husband with bitterness or when I served him with resentfulness. The fruit of this type of “obedience” was despair. The Holy Spirit had to do a work in my heart to weed out the deep rooted bitterness and to give me eyes to see the beauty of God’s design and to give me faith in God’s goodness in it.

Praise God, the Holy Spirit did this very work in me. This work utterly transformed my marriage. Our first couple years of marriage were very hard. They were mostly characterized by a battle of the wills rather than by loving, humble, sacrificial service. My husband and I both battled despair on so many levels. The book, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Roles, Relationships, and Relevance” by Bruce Ware was one of the tools that the Lord used to open my eyes to what was in Scripture all along. I got to see that my God loves submission. I got to see that my God submits! Jesus Christ submits to the Father eternally. The Holy Spirit submits to the Father and the Son. The Father is the head of the Trinity. This is perfection! Headship and submission is not a result of the fall! The beauty of it all is that there is no bitterness or resentment within the Trinity—only perfect love. Something about this glorious truth clicked for me when I looked at marriage. I got to see that what we were privileged to live out in marriage was actually imaging God! The words of Ephesians 5 started to really hit me. Christ is the head of the church and He gave Himself up for her—that is the gospel. Marriage is a means of imaging the gospel! I began to see that not only marriage but Biblical manhood and womanhood are means of imaging God and the gospel as we live in the roles God created for through humble, loving, and sacrificial service to one another. I saw how loving and incredible it was that God would allow us to participate in His work like that and how He would allow us to image Him like that. This brought sacred meaning to both my marriage and to my femininity, and it enabled joyful obedience. I delight to participate in the work of my Father. I delight in His profound love that lives within the Trinity, overflows to me, and overflows from me.

By no means am I saying that I now have the perfect marriage or that I am now the perfect wife or woman—far from it. However, my foundation in these areas is now one of hope and joy rather than resentment and despair! God is moving in these areas of my life, and He is bearing fruit. When my husband and I have the opportunity to counsel couples, we are careful to remember that we must preach the gospel to them. It is not enough to tell them that a Biblical husband behaves in such and such ways. It is not enough to tell them that a Biblical wife behaves in such and such ways. We must show them how being a man, woman, husband, and wife relates to imaging God and the gospel. When Kristian and I hit a rough patch in marriage, we must preach the gospel to ourselves. God doesn’t want our begrudging obedience. He doesn’t want our superficial behaviors to change. He wants loving obedience to flow from changed hearts. How do we get changed hearts? We ask Him! We sit at His feet. We saturate ourselves with the gospel.

2 Cor 3:16-18 “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

1 comment:

Emmanuel said...

Bina - This is a great testimony of God's work in your life. Remember when I asked you about victory or a testimony of God's transforming power in your life? I believe here is one of many areas....