The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans )
Home! What does that word bring to your mind?
Adam, God saw that "it was not good that the man should be alone"
(Genesis 2:18). One of the first things God did in analyzing His
to determine that man, by himself, was incomplete. The Almighty then
deep sleep to come upon Adam and took from his side a rib, and of this
created woman. When He presented her to man He initiated the home:
shall a man leave his father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife:
they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). Not only has the home been the
human society ever since, but the laws given that first home has applied to every home since that time.
Since God established the home and gave laws to govern it, it is only reasonable to believe that God knows what is best for the home and its happiness in any generation. If the home is to be Christian, God's will must be considered. This lesson will be concerned about the pattern that God has ordained for the Christian home.
"One flesh" is God's description of the relationship between two who are married (Matthew 19:4-6). The Bible says, "Let marriage be had in honor among all” (Hebrews 13:4). The word "honor" means precious and valuable. When a husband and wife view marriage in this manner they will keep themselves pure and faithful to one another. The marriage relationship is further defined with the words found in Romans 7:2-3: "For the woman that hath a husband is bound by law to the husband while he liveth; but if the husband die, she is discharged from the law of the husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be joined with another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if the husband die, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be joined to another man."
From these passages we see: (1) God is the author of marriage. (2) When a marriage is formed, all other ties are broken and a new relationship is developed, i.e. home ties with parents are severed and new ties are made with ones mate. (3) The relationship that exists between husband and wife is superior to that which exist between parent and child in the new union. (4) Marriage is for life; only death can dissolve the marriage bond without someone being guilty of unfaithfulness.
From the beginning it was God's plan that a husband and wife should live together until the relationship was severed by death. It is true that during Old Testament times God tolerated divorce among the Jews (Deuteronomy 24:1-2), but He did not approve of it (Malachi 2:14-16). In discussing the matter of marriage and divorce Jesus not only stressed God's will about the permanency of marriage, but forbade divorce and remarriage except for one reason – fornication (Matthew 5:32-33; 19:9).
It is the will of God that the husband and wife be faithful to one another in body and in heart (Genesis 2:18-24). To preserve the sanctity of the marriage bond among the Israelites, God commanded: "Thou shalt not commit adultery." He also said, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife" (Exodus , 17). The home can only be successful when guided by the principles set forth by God, its founder. Sex is one privilege that is peculiar to marriage. When indulged in outside of wedlock it is called "whoredom", "fornication," and "adultery" (Genesis 38:24; Matthew 19:9; Hebrews 13:4; Galatians -21).
After Adam and Eve transgressed the law of God in the garden of Eden, God said to Eve: "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee" (Genesis ). In reference to the position of believers before the Lord, it is true that "there is neither male nor female" (Galatians ). However, when it comes to the governmental arrangement of the family, there is no equality. The husband is the head of the home. God outlines the order of authority in the Christian home in First Corinthians 11:3: "But I would have you to know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."
This order is also clearly stated in Ephesians 5:22-23: "Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is head of the church." In Colossians Paul wrote: "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord."
Man's God-given leadership (headship), is to be a loving one. When this leadership is exercised as God intended, it is a pleasant rulership because his authority as husband does not reflect superiority. The wife is subordinate in rank but she is not inferior. In many respects she is man's superior - in motherhood, beauty, and in many cases physical vitality. The husband-wife relationship is not competitive, but complementary. Neither is complete or independent alone. Rather, it is an arrangement where each strives to please the other (1 Corinthians -34).
The husband has four basic responsibilities. First, he is to be the head of the home. A man who does not accept the responsibility to guide, direct, lead and protect his wife and family is a disgrace to his manhood. Second, he is to love his wife: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it" (Ephesians ). Paul said in Colossians 3:19: "Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them." If the husband loves his wife as Christ loved the church, his conduct toward her will be considerate, protective, understanding, patient, and unselfish. Love will keep him from abusing his authority as head of the home. Third, he will "render unto the wife her due" (1 Corinthians 7:2-5). He will give to his wife her conjugal rights. Finally, he will provide for his wife and family. Paul declared "But if any provideth not for his own, and specially his own household, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Timothy 5:8).
God sets out three roles for women: wife, mother, and homemaker. As a wife she is a helpmeet (Genesis ). The word "meet" means suitable. Man needed companionship, and woman was created as the only suitable companion of man. Everything about woman was a compliment to man as God created her. God gave her such traits as tenderness, beauty, and charm. When the wife uses these as God intended she is a compliment to her husband. The wife is commanded to be a keeper at home (Titus 2:5; Proverbs 31:27). She is to love her husband. In fulfilling her function as a loving wife and mother the woman does not lose her status as an individual. Rather, her identity is real, rich, and rewarding.
One of the greatest privileges of husbands and wives is to bring children into the world. With the privilege comes many responsibilities. In the first place, the parent is to love his children, and let the children know that they love them by word and deed. The parent is charged by God to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:1-4). This is the responsibility of both parents, especially the father. The right example must be set before the children. Obedience and respect should be taught the children. This can best be taught by parents who respect the same standard they expect their children to respect. Parents deceive themselves when they expect their children to meet a standard of living which they themselves reject.
To make the home a solid unit, each family member must gladly accept his God assigned responsibility. Each member of the family has an important function to perform, and if either member fails, other members suffer because of it. The Christian home is the blessing God intended it to be when it is characterized by: (1) one husband who loves his wife and children; (2) one wife who loves her husband and is to him submissive; (3) children who love, respect and honor their parents; (4) all members who fear God and keep His commandments; (5) understanding, forgiveness, kindness patience and the "golden rule" (Matt. 7:12) is exercised by all.