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Gender Versus Equality

Does God show partiality?

For there is no partiality with God. Romans 2:11

So stated in many places in scripture, this ought to settle that question—NO, he does not.

That then being true, it cannot be an issue of partiality between genders when he commands:

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22, similarly in Colossians 3:18

In 1 Peter 3:1 we read:

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands

"In the same way" as what? This may seem hard but Peter is referring to the preceding section where we read:

Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect 1 Peter 2:18

If he shows no partiality even between male and female then why this command to be submissive? Why would God ask a woman, who may be more capable, to submit to a man who may be less capable simply because of gender? Certainly not for reasons of partiality especially based on gender.

First this is not real about gender, this is only about the relationship between husband (man) and wife (woman). 

...there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

It would seem reasonable that every organization should have structure, someone who carries the extra vote where, as in a husband/wife scenario, there might be a stalemate. 

couple

I suspect there is another reason for this submission command and it pertains to a His determination to transform us both into the image of Christ. This, I believe, is His highest priority for our lives—after receiving salvation. This transformation requires our cooperation to progress and, when we become aware our short comings, we more willingly cooperate.

It would seem that each gender has a propensity toward certain character traits, weaknesses, flaws, or sins of which we must be made aware. 

Where men are challenged in considering the needs of another over their own, God commands them to love their wife as they love themselves. To the degree that our love for Him motivates us to want to obey, we come face to face with our weakness and our inability to do so—apart from His work in us.

We see man’s weakness more blatantly in other cultures where women are given little value apart from serving and meetings a man’s desire to have one or more. 

We see another tendency in the creation record which might suggest that Adam was content to follow Eve rather than lead, and so in general for men in relation to the significant woman in their lives. This may be rooted in the fact that boys are raised by mothers—the first significant woman, and leader, in their lives. The habit is difficult to kick and yet God has decreed that the husband is the head of the household. This goes against man’s social development. 

Conversely, Eve’s weakness might also be evident in that garden of Eden event and become evident in those things God requests of them.

Why was Eve approached by the “serpent”? Was there a recognized weakness to be exploited? There is no record of God having instructed Eve regarding the forbidden fruit, she would have heard that from Adam. Eve was created second and as a by-product of Adam. Even today, women are generally shorter and weaker than men. Did Eve have an inferiority issue that was fed by the promise of being like God if she just tasted the fruit? Do women feel a need to assert themselves over men?

Women appear have a tendency to lead, direct, or at the extreme, control. Does God ask them to submit to their husbands so that they face one of their greatest challenges? Will facing this challenge ultimately or hopefully bring them to surrender that condition to Holy Spirit in exchange a Christ-like nature? I wonder if some marriages are on the rocks because the wife' feels unfulfilled in not being able to get her husband to conform to her expectations...

Where a husband needs to constantly chose to love his wife, not as a servant, but as he loves himself and to treat her with great care, so too the wife needs to live in submission to their husband, lifting him up and revering (fearing) him, constantly surrendering to God her innate tendency to lead. Each spouse carrying out God’s command for their lives motivated by their love for Him, regardless of their spouse’s success in meeting God demands in their lives.

If you love me you will keep my commandments. John 14:15

When we, in our love of Him, try to obey His commandments such as to love our wife or submit to our husband, then we come face to face with our inabilities—the sin within—be it self-love or control or whatever. Only when we become aware of these can we confess them. Only then can God work through those issues for our holiness.

God’s commandments show no partiality, they actually work to produce equality as we become more Christ-like.

A husband who loves his wife as he loves himself will, in love, lift her up as his equal,  as one who is special to him. 

A wife who follows the headship of her husband will find herself lifted to a position of sharing equally with him as he loves her as he loves himself.


©2013, steven, a man.

All publishing rights reserved. Permission is granted to reprint this article for personal use; however, no commercial re-publishing of the material in this article is permitted without prior written consent.

Steven is the author of Fathered by God and with his wife Dianne, co-author of Dream Dreams and Dreams the Heal and Counsel. He has been a guest on the Miracle Channel, Trinity Television, and Crossroads Communication, and have taught internationally on various topics.


Without Prejudice. © 2012, Steven., house of bij de Leij., a man.