Year 3 Day 93
Read - Colossians 3v18-4v6
Message - Scott Woodburn
The Gospel isn't just for Sunday, it has dramatic and counter-cultural relevance every single day. We live in a day and age of revolution inside and outside the home and so an incredibly controversial statement is when a Christian stresses that wives should submit to their husbands (v18). What is often heard when such a statement is made is that Christians believe a wife should be chained to the kitchen skin. Some think we mean that a wife exists to meet her husbands every demand, she should be quiet unless spoken to and she should always be ready to please her husband sexually when he demands.
I trust you won't be surprised when I tell you that all of the above is not what we mean by Christian submission. Firstly, as Christians we all willingly submit to the Lordship of Christ. He is in no way abusive towards us. He does not treat us harshly. He does not beat us or demean us or call us names. We willingly submit to a kind and loving Lord.
In the same way wives are to submit to their husbands - this is fitting in the Lord (v18). How so? The Lord made men and women in His image and therefore they enjoy equality before Him. However He gave them different attributes and abilities which made them distinct from one another. The husband of any home is expected by the Lord to be the leader of that home. He is to be wise and caring and he is to take the spiritual lead in his family. In this manner wives are to willingly submit to their husbands just as they willingly submit to Christ.
Husbands in turn are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Gentlemen there is no Biblical mandate to treat your wife harshly. We are not to raise our hands against our wives. We are not to mock them or to treat them as objects for our pleasure and gratification. This is not submission and it is certainly not Biblical. Husbands love your wives. Treat them well and honour them with your love, care, attention and prayer - this is pleasing to the Lord.
Children are to strive for obedience when it comes to their relationship with their parents. Our parents have no mandate to force us into sin but whenever possible we are to obey our mother and father (v20). It pleases the Lord when a child honours their parents in this way (v20b). Equally a father should not be harsh with his children (v21). Does this mean we shouldn't discipline our kids? No. Discipline that comes from a loving and kind fatherly heart is a good and necessary thing. However we are not to provoke our children. Fathers are not to mock their children's achievements or lack of them. Fathers are not to tell their children that they will never amount to anything. Fathers are to submit to the Lord and in turn cherish their children.
Even our working relationships are to be transformed by the Gospel. In Paul's day there existed a vast number of people born into slavery. If their master was kind they would enjoy a good life, if he was cruel then the slave's life could be made a misery. Paul's exhortation was that the slave should work as if they were serving Christ Himself (v23). Their service should be marked by fear of God (v22) and even if they were faced with a wicked master they should trust that the Lord would repay the wrongdoer (v25). In like manner Christians who owned slaves were to treat them justly and fairly in light of their own heavenly master (4v1).
In all of our relationships the Gospel is to abound. At no turn are we to be the abuser. It doesn't matter if it is inside the home or outside - as we submit to the Lord Jesus so our relationships are to mirror the beauty of the Gospel. It should go without saying that prayer is to underpin everything we do. We are to be watchful in prayer, ensuring that we make time for it and being thankful always. Indeed as we pray we are to ask that the Lord would open doors for the Gospel (v3-4). Time is short and so we are to walk wisely and we are to talk graciously to each person (v5-6).
When Paul speaks and urges us to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel, he isn't just urging us to go to church on a Sunday. The glorious news of the death and resurrection of Christ is to flow through every aspect of our lives and relationships. May we take the call seriously and may the world see the evidence that we are indeed children of the living God.
Q88 What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption? The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption are, his ordinances, especially the Word, Sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.