In Replay #15, we come to the end of the Service level exercises in our Workout Room–which is the conclusion of the discussion we began last time on Women and their role in the Work of God. For more on this subject, please go to… Service: Women and the Work of God, Part 2 | His Truth, My Voice (histruthmyvoice.org).
So far, in our efforts to become more spiritually fit, we have successfully worked our way through three of the four levels of exercise in our Workout Program; where, at…
Level 1, we covered the basics of our Faith; learning how, through Salvation, we are Redeemed from Sin and Death, and adopted as children into the Family of God.
Level 2, we dealt with Sanctification; or, the life-long training process by which the Holy Spirit transforms us from the Sinners we once were into Holy Sons and Daughters of God.
Level 3, we learned about Service; or, the Work of God that we, as His Children—the Church—have been commissioned to carry out. It was here that we were introduced to the concept that…
…as the Corporate Body of Christ, we are to reach out to those in the world around us, bringing them the good news of God’s Love and Salvation;
…as the Corporate Soul of Christ, we are to relate as Family to those who are already a part of God’s Family; and,
…as the Corporate Spirit of Christ, we are to serve as the Army of Spiritual Warriors charged with the task of liberating those still held in captivity by Satan, and taking his territory captive for the Kingdom of God.
Since this last matter deals with Spiritual Warfare, something which we have only recently touched upon, we will make its study the objective of this fourth and final Level of Exercise in our Program—a Program which, when completed, will have helped us…
Define our Position, as a Child of God;
Refine our Person, as a Child of God;
Outline our Purpose, as a Child of God; and,
Underline our Power, as a Child of God.
It is through this progressive pattern of growth—from Position to Person to Purpose to Power—that we have advanced from our original state of spiritual infancy to God’s more highly desired state of spiritual maturity, becoming better equipped along the way for our eternal destiny with Jesus Christ.
What is this destiny for which we, as the Children of God, are presently being equipped? Contrary to one of the more popular conceptions of what life will be like in the hereafter, we will not be floating around on a cloud, with a crown on our heads and nothing better to do than strum on our harps for all eternity. Not only is this a perfectly wasteful—not to mention boring—way to spend one’s everlasting life, but it in no way compensates us for all of the hardships we suffered through during our earthly sojourns. And, it certainly doesn’t call for any specialized equipping on our parts to prepare for it.
On the other hand, the destiny that God has planned for us is a gloriously challenging one. In keeping with His divinely ordained principles of Sowing and Reaping, it is one that will provide us with levels of rewards commensurate with the levels of faithfulness we have demonstrated during our times of training on the earth, and elevate us to positions of authority in the coming Kingdom of God. From these positions, we will exercise the Dominion originally gifted to us by God, lost to us as a result of the Fall, and restored to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Destined for Dominion, Subjected to Slavery
We first learned about this matter of Dominion during one of our visits to the story of Adam and Eve. For, it was there that, upon his creation, Man—as both Male and Female—was commanded by God to fill the earth with people, and to rule over everything in it. This Right to Rule, however, was lost when Adam, as a result of his disobedience to God, forfeited his Position of Power—a position which Satan immediately claimed as his own.
In his classic book, Destined for the Throne, the late Paul Billheimer explains some of the legal issues involved in this transfer of power…
The entire universe is governed by law…God’s grant of authority and dominion over the earth to man was a bona-fide gift. This authority and dominion became legally his. What he did with it was his own responsibility. If, so to speak, he ‘fumbled the ball’ and lost it, God could not lawfully step in and repossess it for him.
We know from Romans 6:16 that…
…if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness.
Therefore, when Adam chose to obey Satan instead of God, he became Satan’s slave. And…
As a slave of Satan, Adam lost all of his legal rights, not only to his person but also to his domain. This gave Satan legal authority to rule over man and the earth. If Satan’s dominion was to be revoked, a way had to be found to redeem fallen man and recover his lost authority without violating universal principles of justice.
No angel could enter the contest because these legal rights were never his. Thus a member of Adam’s race had to be found who could qualify to enter suit in universal court and wrest Adam’s lost heritage and dominion from Satan. The government of the earth had been given to man. It was lost by man. It could be legally recovered only by a man.
But where was such a man to be found? To qualify for the task at hand, he would have to be a full-fledged human being; and yet, because Adam and all those who would eventually descend from him had become the slaves of Satan, he would have to be sinless in order to be free from Satan’s control…
To the human mind the situation was hopeless, but God found a way. ‘When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons’ (Gal. 4:4). God solved the problem by the Incarnation.
Since Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, the divine nature was present in Him. Because he was sinless, Satan had no claim upon Him. But because He was ‘made of a woman,’ He was an authentic human being and could therefore qualify as a bona-fide member of the human race to enter the legal fight to reclaim Adam’s lost estate.
The Spiritual Battle to the Cross
Although I can’t think of anyone who would willingly sign up for a task like this, the spiritual battle to win back our freedom that Jesus freely committed Himself to was one that was repeatedly characterized by humiliation, rejection, opposition, and affliction; which, when you put them all together, add up to a whole lot of suffering.
Just think of the humiliation involved when…
…Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2: 5-8).
Or, the rejection He must have experienced when…
- His family…went out to seize him, for they were saying, ‘He is out of his mind (Mark 3:21).
- The people in His hometown said, ‘Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him (Mark 6: 2-3).
- John the Baptist sent messengers to Jesus, asking, ‘Are you [sure] you are the one [the Messiah] who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ (Matt. 11:3)
- Upon hearing some of Jesus’ hard sayings, ‘…many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.’ (John 6:66)
As for opposition, Jesus had that in abundance; for, even as a child, when He was perceived to be a contender for his throne, King Herod tried to have Him killed. And later, during His earthly ministry, He found Himself constantly at odds with all factions of Jewish society…
- With the Sadducees, because He threatened their economic and political power;
- With the Pharisees, because they considered Jesus a law-breaker, and His teachings overturned their religious traditions;
- With the Essenes, the ascetics of the day, who considered Jesus too worldly because He socialized with “sinners;”
- With the Zealots, or the anarchists of the day, because Jesus preached a message of love instead of rebellion; and,
- With the people who, in their apathy, did not want to be confronted with change.
And, when it came to affliction, no one has ever endured more. Of Him, it was said that…
…he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? (Is. 53: 2-8)
And, if all this wasn’t enough, from the time of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness at the beginning of His ministry until the moment when He drew His final breath, Satan, in an effort to take Him captive through sin just like the first Adam, was constantly working to trip Him up…
The fallen Lucifer, once the Light Bearer, the guardian of the throne of God, the highest of all pre-Adamic created beings, marshaled all of the available resources of the underworld in an effort to break down the allegiance of the God-man to His heavenly Father. One weakness revealed, one thought of rebellion or self will entertained, and all of Jesus’ efforts to repossess the world and its enslaved race from the usurping god of the world would be lost.
But, Praise God, in spite of all this pressure, Jesus didn’t give in; for…
When Jesus died without failing in the smallest detail, His death resulted not only in defeating Satan’s purpose to obtain a claim upon Him—it also canceled all of Satan’s legal claim upon the earth and the whole human race…
Therefore, since Calvary, Satan has absolutely no rights or claims upon anyone or anything. Whatever authority he carried with him on his banishment from heaven passed into the hands of the new Man along with the lost heritage of Adam…
Our Authority Restored
It is this authority that Jesus restored to His disciples; the same authority…
…to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you (Luke 10:19)…
…that Jesus delegated to the seventy-two He sent out to proclaim the Kingdom of God—and, it is the same authority that we possess today. For…
As individuals we have authority over all the combined powers of the enemy. This is an incredible, wonderful truth. Everything at Satan’s disposal—every demon, every coven, every cult and religion, every work, and every influence—is subject to the authority given to us by Jesus.
When Jesus rose from the dead after ripping the usurped authority from Satan’s hands, He did not immediately go to heaven. He stopped off to see the eleven remaining disciples…Jesus handed to them the authority He had taken from Satan. The authority legally changed hands once more and belonged to man again.
This truth is what we need to keep at the forefront of our thinking as we approach our upcoming exercises in Spiritual Warfare—because our success in any battle will be totally dependent upon our acknowledgement of the One who has already won the victory. Satan and his demons certainly know who it is; for, it was Jesus who, after overcoming every form of Spiritual Warfare in His life–on the Cross and through His resurrection…
…disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them (Colossians 2:15).
Even so, Satan and his legions continue to fight on, using our ignorance of the authority in Christ as one of their chief means of success. Let’s determine not to give them that critical edge over us; always bearing in mind that, in whatever situation we may find ourselves, the One who won the war for us has already been there on our behalf…
…For, we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
Therefore…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Hebrews 12:1-4)
In our next exercise, we will learn more about the destiny for which we are being prepared.
The Gaither Vocal Band reminds us of who we are in “On the Authority”…
 Paul E. Billheimer, Destined for the Throne (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1975), 73.
 Billheimer, Destined, 73-74.
 Billheimer, Destined, 74.
 Billheimer, Destined, 76.
 Billheimer, Destined, 79-80.
 Dean Sherman, Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian (Seattle, Washington: YWAM Publishing, 1990), 130-131.
As promised at the end of our last workout session, we are back to finish what we started in our exercise on Service: Women and the Work of God. There, in Part One, in pursuit of a better understanding of the role God intends for Women to play in the Service of His Kingdom, we began, once again, with the story of Adam and Eve; looking at it to determine…
- God’s Purposes for the Sexes;
- God’s Punishment of the Sexes; and,
- God’s Promise to the Sexes.
As a result, before our break, we discovered that in His quest for a Family to love, God created Man as a Spirit Being; a Spirit which He then placed in the two houses He called Male and Female. As a Spirit, Man could relate to God and, in the physical houses of Male and Female, he could (re)produce the Family that God has always desired. We also learned that, because he was created first, the Man was placed in the Position of Head over God’s Creation; with the Woman being created later, to be his Companion and Helper in carrying out the Work of God. This arrangement, however, did not mean that the Male was superior to the Female; for, from the beginning of their history together, they were both…
Equal in their standing before God;
Equal in their call to the work of God; and,
Equal in their blessing by God.
Something else that we learned was that in his Position as Head, the Man was meant to reflect the Headship of God the Father, while the Woman was intended to be a picture of the nature and work of the Holy Spirit. As such, the Man possessed what the late Dr. Myles Munroe referred to as Position Power, while the Woman possessed what he aptly described as Influence Power. In the words of Dr. Munroe…
Power and influence are equal, but different…
First, position-power generally comes with a title, such as king, governor, doctor, or pastor. Second, position-power is usually executed through commands, whether verbal or written. It is the authority that goes with the position, and the commands, that is the nature of the man’s power.
Influence-power manifests itself in a very different way.
First, a woman may have a title, but she doesn’t need a title to lead. She leads by influence…Second, a woman doesn’t need to talk in order to run things. She leads just by her influence…the woman doesn’t need to say a word; she just looks, and people respond. This is a very powerful influence.
Position-power announces itself. Influence-power just comes in and controls things. By the time you realize its presence, it has already taken over.
We will learn more about these differing leadership functions as we progress in this exercise—especially when dealing with Man’s Testing in the Garden, and the consequences of his failure there. Since that was where we left off in Part 1, that is where we will begin this time—as we continue our look into…
- God’s Punishment of the Sexes
No matter how well you package it, testing is one gift that I think few, if any, would look forward to receiving. At its mere mention, most of us shrink back, no doubt, put off by the mental images it evokes—images of the hard work and preparation it requires, the struggle involved in making the right choices, and the thoughts of failure and the consequences which that would bring. Given the amount of angst involved in testing’s anticipation, it was probably a good thing Adam and Eve did not see it coming.
God, on the other hand, not only knew that it was coming but He purposely allowed it into their lives. That’s because to Him, testing is essential to the proving of one’s righteousness and obedience to the Word and Will of God; so essential, in fact, that He required the same kind of testing of His Son, Jesus Christ. For immediately following His baptism and just prior to the beginning of His public ministry…
…Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1).
The Apostle James explains some of the principles of testing in this way…
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death (James 1:12-15).
While this sort of downward progression is something we see taking place in the testing of Adam and Eve, of more immediate interest to us is the cunning plan lurking behind Satan’s temptation, and the bearing it will have on God’s punishment of Man’s transgression.
The Cunning Behind the Con
In Service: Interrupted…By Devilish Design, we learned of Satan’s goal to subvert the Kingdom of God and supplant it with his own. Since God’s Kingdom is a Spirit-Down one, ordered in the following way…
The Man next;
Then the Woman; and,
Lastly the Animals…
…for Satan to achieve his goal, he would have to overturn God’s Spirit-Down order and replace it with a Flesh-Up one. By Flesh-Up, I mean that Man would be living life, no longer under the direction of the Spirit of God, but according to the fleshly dictates imposed on him by his body and soul. In a Flesh-Up order, Man would be dead to the things of God, and the line of communication between him and his Maker would be severed. In this condition, he could not become a Child of God, and any Service he might have rendered as such to the Kingdom of God would be eliminated. This, of course, is exactly the type of situation that Satan was hoping to create when he approached Adam and Eve in the Garden.
As for his method of achieving this end, instead of confronting Adam directly, the possessor of the Position Power and the direct Word of God, Satan made his sly and subtle appeal to Eve.
The devil is clever…he was after the man, because the man is the foundation, but he couldn’t get to the man because position-power can usually stand firm as long as its position is genuine. You can’t destroy position-power directly; you have to destroy it through influence.
So, appearing in the form of a Serpent, he beguiled Eve into eating of the Forbidden Fruit and then, through the manipulation of her Influence Power, he succeeded in enticing her husband to join her in her Sin. As a result of this coup, Satan’s reversal of God’s order was complete, for…
- A member of the Animal Kingdom had usurped the authority of the Woman;
- The Woman had used her Powers of Persuasion to usurp the authority of the Man; and,
- The Man had rejected the authority of God and His Word, abdicating his position of Headship in the process.
The Consequences of the Con
In Genesis 3: 14-19, we find the record of God’s judgment on this upheaval of His divine order, a judgment in which the punishment was meted out in the same order in which the crime was committed. Addressing the Serpent first, God said…
Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
Next, He came to the Woman and said…
I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband [for your husband, in some translations], but he shall rule over you.
Then finally, to the Man, He had this to say…
Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Looking closely at these judgments, we can also see that in each case, the punishment was appropriate for the crime—something to be expected, given that everything in God’s Creation was designed to reproduce “…after its own kind.” We know this to be true because God said so ten times in the Creation Story found in Genesis 1—a principle which was later affirmed by the Apostle Paul in this very familiar passage…
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life (Galatians 6: 7-8).
Here, then, is the way this Sowing and Reaping Principle played out in God’s Judgment on the perpetrators of this crime…
The Serpent—as an Animal
- Because it had presumed to raise itself above its divinely ordained station in life, it would be brought down, cursed as the lowliest of creatures, to spend its days slithering on the ground.
- Because it had tempted Eve to eat what she shouldn’t have, it would have to eat what it didn’t want to—which was dust.
- Instead of being looked upon as the beautiful creature that it once was, it would forever after be regarded as a loathsome beast.
- Instead of the friendly relationship it had shared with the Woman in the Garden, from then on, their relationship would be one of mutual hostility.
The Serpent—as the Devil
- As the one who had exalted himself in rebellion against God, leading others to do the same, he was given notice that eventually he would be “…brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit (Isaiah 14:15).”
- Here, he was presented with a “Declaration of War” by God—the notice of perpetual warfare between his kingdom and the Kingdom of God; between his offspring, the Wicked, and the offspring of the Woman, the Righteous.
- And, because it was the Woman whom he had beguiled, here he was notified that it would be through her childbearing of the Righteous Seed of God that he would ultimately suffer defeat and meet his doom.
- The blessing of childbearing, which prior to the Fall, would have been a joy, would now be accompanied by pain and sorrow.
- Submission to her husband, which before the Fall, would never have been an issue or a hardship, would now be a daily struggle.
- Her Influence Power, which before the Fall, would have remained unchecked, would—until the coming of the promised Deliverer and Restorer—have to be regulated by means of external restraints. For, apart from the internal control provided by the Holy Spirit, the Woman would continue to use her Influence Power to manipulate and control the Man, and he would use his Position Power to try and dominate her in an effort to keep her “in her place.” For some examples of a Woman’s Influence Power gone horribly wrong, we need look no farther than the Old Testament…
— To Sarah who, through her Influence Power, convinced Abraham to have a child by her maid, Hagar, rather than wait for God to fulfill His promise;
— To Delilah who, through her Influence Power, succeeded in bringing down Israel’s most powerful judge, Samson; and,
— To Jezebel who, through her Influence Power, manipulated her weak-willed husband, Ahab, and corrupted Israel with her idolatry.
- His habitation from then on would be among thorns and thistles, instead of the lush beauty he had experienced in the Garden.
- His occupation would become a toil, instead of the pleasure that it had once been in the Garden.
- His food would become difficult to obtain, instead of being readily available, as it had been in the Garden.
- His life would be shortened and he would be returned to the soil, instead of living forever in the Garden of God’s Fellowship.
At this point, it is important for us to note that God’s Punishment on the Sexes here was in no way a Curse. That’s because, back in Genesis 1: 28, God had already blessed the Man and Woman. And, from what we learn later in Numbers 23: 8,20, when the prophet, Balaam was hired by the king of Moab to curse Israel, every time he tried, a blessing would come out instead of a curse. Balaam’s explanation at the time was this…
How can I curse whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce whom God has not denounced? …he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.
Since that which God has blessed cannot be cursed, the only things to be cursed here were the Serpent and the Soil. For the Serpent, there is no hope that his curse will ever be removed; but, for the Soil, there is such a hope, and it will be realized when God’s Promise to the Sexes has been fulfilled…
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now (Romans 8: 19-22).
- God’s Promise to the Sexes.
The Promise that God made to the Sexes may be hard for us to spot at first, and that’s because it’s contained in the unlikeliest of places—it was not given to the Sexes directly, but was first spoken of in the curse which God pronounced on the Serpent. His Promise was that one day, a Holy Offspring would be born to the Woman—the One by whom Satan would finally be crushed, and all that the Sexes had lost in the Fall would be restored. Of course, this Redeemer and Restorer was none other than Jesus Christ, who, through His obedience to the Father, not only secured our Salvation, but restored us to the Purposes of God. Matthew Henry describes the work of Christ on our behalf in the following way…
How admirably the satisfaction our Lord Jesus made by his death and sufferings answered to the sentence here passed upon our first parents.
— Did travailing pains come in with sin? We read of the travail of Christ’s soul (Isaiah 53:11).
— Did subjection come in with sin? Christ was made under the law (Galatians 4:4).
— Did the curse come in with sin? Christ was made a curse for us, died a cursed death (Galatians 3:13).
— Did thorns come in with sin? He was crowned with thorns for us.
— Did sweat come in with sin? He for us did sweat as it were great drops of blood.
— Did sorrow come in with sin? He was a man of sorrows, his soul was, in his agony, exceedingly sorrowful.
— Did death come in with sin? He became obedient to death.
Through His substitutionary death on the Cross—dying the death that should have been ours—Christ redeemed us from the power and the penalty of the Law, delivered us from bondage to sin and death, reconciled us to the Father, gifted us with eternal life, and empowered us with His Holy Spirit. With the Spirit now living within us, writing God’s Laws on our hearts, the restraints previously imposed on us by the Old Testament Law are no longer needed.
Now, empowered from within by the Spirit of Christ, the Man can love his wife as Christ loves the Church, regard her as his equal in the work of the Lord, and not have to resort to his Position Power to dominate her into submission. The Woman, empowered by the same Spirit, can respect her husband and submit to his leadership—for the sake of order—just as Christ has submitted to the leadership of the Father. She can keep her Influence Power in check herself, making sure that it is used to glorify God and not to manipulate others—because…
Under the redemptive work of Christ, the woman is not only restored to fellowship with God but is restored to the position of partner with her male counterpart. Therefore, she is no longer to be dominated or ruled by the male, because, if she were, it would mean that the redemptive work of Christ had not been successful.
Scriptural Stumbling Blocks to a Woman’s Service
Now that we have established the fact that, in Christ, Male and Female are once again…
Equal in their standing before God;
Equal in their call to the work of God; and,
Equal in their blessing by God…
…why is it that Women are still being denied the freedom to exercise their God-given gifts of Leadership in His Service? I think that, in most cases, it can be traced back to a misunderstanding of the two most troublesome Scripture passages that relate to Women. Both of these were penned by Paul, with the first one being found in 1 Corinthians 14: 33-35…
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church…
…and the second one being found in 1 Timothy 2: 11-15…
Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through [the] childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
The reason these passages have created so many problems is that they have, more often than not, been taken out of their immediate context; and instead of being interpreted in light of the cultural conditions of the day, they have been isolated from the rest of the passage and elevated to the stature of a doctrine which, in its meaning, flies in the face of not only Paul’s but Jesus’ attitudes toward women.
For example, in his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul was dealing with a number of problems creating disorder in their church—problems such as spiritual pride, the misunderstanding and misuse of spiritual gifts, marital issues, confusion concerning the resurrection, and even incest. Please note Paul’s emphasis on God not being a God of confusion, but of peace. This is a good indication that there was confusion in the church, and it was being caused by some unruly women.
So what did Paul mean when he told the women to keep silent? If he was indeed saying that women should not minister publicly, he was contradicting what he said earlier when he gave instructions for women’s dress code while prophesying! There must be an explanation. As we examine these verses, we will see that Paul was definitely not teaching against women ministering publicly. Rather, he was correcting the way in which women were ministering in the Corinthian church.
In his letter to Timothy, however, Paul was addressing a different set of problems; ones created as a result of false teaching infiltrating the church at Ephesus—the church where Timothy was ministering. In all likelihood, this false teaching involved some “old wives’ tales” which were being passed down from the older women to the younger ones; tales promoting Eve, in her sin, as a benefactor to humanity, instead of as the transgressor that Paul later states she was. To counter this heresy, Paul first addressed the women of the church in general, instructing them on how Godly women should dress and behave. Then, he directed his attention to one woman in particular—the one most responsible for promoting the false doctrine—and commanded that she not be allowed to teach. Instead…
Paul…commanded this woman to learn but not to teach. Why? Because she had been teaching false doctrine. Therefore, Paul set aside the normal link between learning and teaching in her case. For a season, she was being disciplined, corrected. She couldn’t be allowed to continue spreading false doctrine. It was time for her to abstain from teaching altogether and dedicate herself to study alone.
Paul silenced this woman not because she was a woman but because she was teaching false doctrine to others.*
Now, concerning the question of women being saved through motherhood…
The phrase “the childbearing” is unique. It isn’t found anywhere else in the New Testament…it’s a noun, dramatically preceded by the definite article (‘the childbearing’) to point to one particular childbearing…
‘The childbearing’ refers to the one mediator between God and persons, the person Christ Jesus, the promised seed of Eve, the Child born of a woman. The issue at stake here was salvation, not motherhood. Women aren’t saved by getting pregnant and having babies. They’re saved by the child who was born–Jesus! Throughout this passage, Paul was talking about how men and women are redeemed, not about how they procreate. The central truth of this entire passage is Jesus and God’s desire for all to be saved through the promised childbearing.
As for Jesus’ attitude toward women, I think we can agree that He always treated them with respect. We have no record of Him ever rebuking a woman and telling her to be quiet, or forbidding her to minister in some fashion. Following His encounter with the woman at the well, she left Him and immediately went back to her town and started preaching about Jesus—something which He did not criticize or attempt to discourage. It was to a group of women that He entrusted the good news of His resurrection, and it was to His Bride, the Church, that He entrusted the good news of His saving grace; charging her to use her Influence Power to convince the world of His Truth, and to…
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you (Matthew 28: 19-20).
Now, for those who may still have issues with Women in Leadership, I would like to offer this suggestion from Dr. Munroe…
…if you as a male have problems with a female preacher, I encourage you to close your eyes and listen to the spirit-man speaking. This approach has helped many men. Listen to what’s being said. If the female house is the problem, then ignore the house and listen to the resident, the spirit-man within, because God speaks through the spirit-man. It is the Spirit that gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6)…
…and, to bring this session to a close with this thought from J. Lee Grady…
Jesus’ blood was shed for all women, and it is the only covering they will ever need. Blood-bought women don’t need a man to bring them closer to God. Blood-bought women don’t need a man to legitimize their ministries. Blood-bought women don’t need a man to ‘cover’ their spiritual endeavors or to replace the leadership of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
The blood of Christ is a woman’s true covering. For the church to require anything more is to renounce our faith.
*Since space and time will not permit a further examination of the passages here, I would like to suggest these books as resources for those interested in a more in-depth study of the subject…
Understanding the Purpose and Power of Woman, by Dr. Myles Munroe;
Why Not Women? by Loren Cunningham and David Joel Hamilton;
I Suffer Not a Woman, by Richard Clark Kroeger and Catherine Clark Kroeger;
10 Lies the Church Tells Women, by J. Lee Grady; and,
What Paul Really Said About Women, by John T. Bristow.
In keeping with the theme of this exercise, here is Shackles, by Mary Mary…
 Dr. Myles Munroe, Understanding the Purpose and Power of Woman (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2001), 185-186.
 Munroe, 189.
 Munroe, 187.
 Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing House, 1960), 11.
 Munroe, 191.
 Loren Cunningham and David Joel Hamilton, Why Not Women? (Seattle, Washington: YWAM Publishing, 2000), 185.
 Cunningham and Hamilton, 219.
 Cunningham and Hamilton, 224.
 Munroe, 197.
 J. Lee Grady, 10 Lies the Church Tells Women (Lake May, Florida: Charisma House, 2000), 100.
In our last exercise, Service: Interrupted…By Devilish Design, we learned how Satan, in his drive to establish his kingdom’s rule over the earth, has been at work trying to prevent the establishment of God’s Kingdom on the earth. We discovered that from the beginning of human history to the present time he has…
- Grown his kingdom by alienating people from God, taking and keeping them captive through sin;
- Limited the growth of God’s Kingdom by keeping those under his dominion ignorant of God’s goodness, as well as the freedom they could be enjoying as members of His Kingdom; and,
- Hindered the advancement of the Kingdom of God by means of an on-going war, aimed at disrupting the Service of its citizens—namely, those liberated from Satan’s kingdom of darkness and death through the freedom of faith found only in Jesus Christ.
We also learned that Satan has enjoyed a considerable amount of success in this war, simply by keeping those in God’s Kingdom…
- In the dark as to their true mission in life, and ignorant of the resources available to them for successful living, merely by limiting their knowledge and understanding of the Bible;
- At odds with one another by stirring up misunderstandings, envies, and petty offenses among them; and,
- Battle-fatigued, or frustrated, discouraged, and completely worn out from all the conflict.
These aren’t the only tactics he has used to good effect, though. Through his exploitation of the conflict between the sexes, a by-product of man’s fall from grace, he has been able to sideline roughly one-half of the workforce in God’s Kingdom, thereby greatly reducing the amount of Kingdom Work being done in the world. These workers, whose God-ordained right to serve has so often been denied, are none other than the female members of God’s Family—the very ones (as we learned in Service: The Church as the Family of God) who were meant to serve as pictures in the flesh of the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
For us to better understand how this situation came to be, we’ll need to revisit the story of Adam and Eve. This time, instead of focusing our attention on the pattern of seduction used by the devil to ensnare our ancient forbearers, we will be approaching the story with an eye to understanding God’s purposes for the Man and Woman, as well as the ways in which sin has affected those purposes.
- God’s Purpose for the Sexes
As we have mentioned more than once during the course of these exercises, God’s purpose in creating Man was to provide Himself with a Family to love, both now and throughout eternity. As a Family of Beings bearing the image and likeness of the One who was giving them life; and, since…
…God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth (John 4:24) …
…it was essential that the members of God’s Family also be Spirit Beings. As the late Dr. Myles Munroe explains in his excellent book, Understanding the Purpose and Power of Woman…
…when God made man, He essentially drew man out of Himself, so that the essence of man would be just like Him. In this way, the receiver could be just like the Giver, and could reciprocate His love. Since ‘God is spirit,’ He created man as spirit.
So man—the spirit-man—was created as a result of God’s love. Note carefully that, at this point, we are still talking about man, the spirit. We are not yet talking about male and female. Whom did God create in His image? Man. Man is spirit, and spirits have no gender. The Bible never talks about a male or female spirit. God created the spirit-man without a gender.
Thus, when the time was right for His Family to come into existence, the first thing God did was create a Spirit Being whom He called Man…
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).
And, once this Spirit had been created…
God took this spirit-man, and He placed him in two physical forms: male and female. The spirit-man is neither male nor female. However, to fulfill His eternal purposes, God used two physical forms, called male and female, to express the one entity of man. Therefore, the essence of both male and female is the resident spirit within them, called ‘man.’
Whom did God call man? Both male and female.
With God’s “eternal purposes” being the creation of Family—and a family being the product of the sexual union between Male and Female—God took the Spirit-Man and placed him in separate physical “houses” or bodies; bodies differing from one another because of the unique roles or functions they were designed to perform. In the role of the Male, Man was intended to demonstrate the love, leadership, strength, guidance, provision, and protection of God the Father, and to be the Giver of the Seed of Life; while, in the role of the Female, Man was intended to demonstrate the love, respect, wisdom, care-giving, gentleness, grace, empathy, and sensitivity of God the Holy Spirit, and to be the Receiver and Nurturer of the Seed provided by the Male. Through the coming together of the Giver and Receiver, then, the life shared by them would be reproduced over and over, and the Family of God would grow.
In keeping with His divine order of creation, God built the house for the Male first, as He…
…formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (Genesis 2:7).
Once the Male had become a living being, God placed him in the garden home He had created for him. And, after instructing him as to his responsibilities and the rules by which he was to live, God set about completing His final work of creation, with this pronouncement…
It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him (Genesis 2:18).
Turning His attention to the construction of the house for the Female, He…
…caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed its place with flesh.
And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man (Genesis 2:21-23).’
Here, in this special construction of the Female’s house, we see how God, in the same way that He had taken Man out of Himself to be someone He could love, took the Woman out of the Man and gave her to him to love. Here, too, we have Man’s acknowledgment that the Woman, having been made of the same stuff as he was, was his equal and partner in the work of God. With His creation then complete…
…God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’… And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good (Genesis 1:28, 31).
So, here at the beginning of things, and in keeping with the purposes of God, in Man—that is, the Spirit-Man created by God for relationship with Himself—there was no Male or Female. It was only in the human body that sexual distinctions were made—distinctions determined solely by the part each sex was to play in the creation of God’s Family. Here…
- Both Male and Female were equal in the eyes of God;
- Both Male and Female were given the task of stewardship over God’s creation;
- Both Male and Female were blessed by God…
…and, as far as God was concerned, it was all very good!
- God’s Punishment on the Sexes
With so much good going on in the Garden, it seems such a shame that Evil had to rear its ugly head and spoil it all. And yet, for Man to truly be a son of God, it wasn’t enough for him to be…
An eternal spirit, like God;
A rational being, like God;
An emotional being, like God;
A willful being, like God; or,
A moral being, like God.
He would also have to be Holy, like God. Before this could happen, though, he would have to do what was right in every situation, just like God. But at this point in Man’s brief history, he was living in his original state of innocence, for his righteousness had yet to be proven through testing.
People have often wondered why a Holy God would allow Evil into the world, without taking into consideration that for Man to truly be like God, he must want the same things God wants and love God enough to do what He says. For Man to be free to choose God’s way, then, there would have to be an alternative from which he could choose—with Evil being the only other option to obedience to God.
Of course, Evil in this case did not look like Evil…
…for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Instead, it came packaged as a rational self-interest and an appealing religion of works, and was presented in such a way that it would overturn God’s established order of creation, inverting His authority structure in the process. Like it or not, God’s order and authority structure for Creation was this…
Then the Animal Kingdom.
We’ve already established that, up until this time, Man and Woman were…
Equal in their position before God;
Equal in their call to the work of God; and,
Equal in their blessing by God.
But, for the sake of order, God created Man first, placing him as Head over his wife (and eventual family); a position in which he would be held accountable for everything that happened in his family. However, this position of Headship was never meant to be a mark or measure of his superiority over the Woman. If it was, then we would have a serious problem with the following verse…
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God (1 Corinthians 11:3).
If being the Head indicated one’s superiority over another, this would mean that God the Father was and is superior to God the Son—and we know from the Scriptures that this just isn’t the case. For…
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3).
I [Christ] and the Father are one (John 10:30).
This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God (John 5:18).
He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God…for in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell… (Colossians 1:15, 19).
From these verses, it is easy to see that although God is the Head of Christ, Jesus is still equal to God. That being said, what are we to make of this statement by Jesus to His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion?
You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I …I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father (John 14:28, 31).
In this case, is God being “greater” than Jesus an indication that He is somehow superior to Jesus? Or, in doing what the Father has commanded Him to do, has Jesus’ equality with the Father been diminished in any way? No, not at all; for in His Person and in His Power, Jesus remains equal to God; it is only in His Position, as Leader, that God is greater than He—with this assumption of Leadership being solely for the sake of order. In other words, for the sake of fulfilling the Father’s Kingdom Purposes, Christ Jesus…
…who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped…emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:6-11).
So, although He was equal to God, Christ willingly chose to submit Himself to God’s Leadership so that the Plan of Redemption needed for God’s Kingdom purposes and the creation of His Family could be realized.
Headship, then, was and is a good thing, and remains an essential and powerful component in the establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth. However, it was not the only component that would be needed; if it had been, then God would never have created Woman. For, in His creation of a Helper for the Man, God provided the Man with a power to help get the job done which was lacking in himself—that being, the subtle yet dynamic power of the Woman’s suggestion, encouragement, and Influence. Had the Man been left in charge on his own, his way of carrying out God’s Work would have primarily been through fiat; an effective but not necessarily a pleasant way to lead. The Woman, on the other hand, as a picture or type of the Holy Spirit, through her powerful leadership gifts of persuasion, could help him accomplish things that he couldn’t do by himself.
Being fully aware, then, of the limitations of Man’s “Position Power,” God fashioned a partner for him with the “Influence Power” needed to complement or complete him, and to assist him in accomplishing God’s Kingdom Work.
In order for us to more fully comprehend the Fall and its effects on the Male-Female relationship, it is vital that we first understand God’s Purposes for Man, along with the system of order and authority He instituted within His Creation. To be sure, Satan was well aware of them for, when he bypassed the Man in his Position Power in the Garden, and approached the Woman instead, he did so with the intention of using her Influence Power to achieve his Evil end of overturning God’s Kingdom, so that he could advance his own.
Because we have already covered a lot of important information in this exercise—information which no doubt will take some time to digest—and, because there is still much more to come, I think it would be wise for us to divide this exercise into two parts and take a break for reflection at this point. Having laid the groundwork for our discussion of the role of Women in the Work of God in the first part of this exercise, when we return for part two…
- We will learn how Satan’s manipulation of the Woman’s Influence Power led to the forfeiture of Man’s Position Power, and the consequences of that debacle;
- We will learn how Woman’s Influence Power was checked during Old Testament times, and compare that to what is intended for women in New Testament times; and,
- We will briefly discuss two of the most troublesome Scripture passages dealing with the role of Women in the Work of God…
…so be sure to check back soon for the rest of this rather vigorous workout session.
Shane and Shane remind us in “Liberty” that it is for freedom that we have been set free…
 Dr. Myles Munroe, Understanding the Purpose and Power of Woman (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2001), 54-55.
 Munroe, 55-56.
 Munroe, 61.
 Munroe, 185.