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Section IIIC

Working out your Salvation

The Family (1)


Study C1

God’s order

Study C1 The Family (1)

God’s Order

Wives, submit yourselves to yourselves unto your own husbands as it is fit in the Lord.

Husbands, love your wives and be not bitter against them.

Children obey your parents in all things for this is well pleasing to the Lord.

Fathers provoke not your children[to anger] lest they be discouraged.

Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;  And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.


C1.1 From the beginning

Marriage of one man and one woman is God ordained. It was established at the time of creation, when the woman was taken from Adam’s side.

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

This affirmed by Jesus when he gave a teaching on divorce, Mtt.19:3-6. Later on in the NT the writer to the Hebrews says that marriage is honourable, the bed undefiled, Heb.13:4. ALso, Paul in I Cor.7 gives counsel on the issue of marriage.

As the old marriage service said;

DEARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this Congregation, to join together this man and this woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.

First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.

Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s body.

Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined.

Book of Common prayer 1662

Marriage was God’s ordination for the human race, and is the basic unit of society at large. But just as the fall affected all creation, so it affected the institution of marriage. But Paul now in this section of Colossians exhorted those in Christ as to how one should work out their salvation in this very important aspect of life.

It is not without significance that one of the signs of end times is the attack on marriage:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

I Tim.4:1-5

C1.2 Headship

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Marriage, as Ephesians declares, is a great mystery, for it is a picture of Christ and His Church. And as the passage in Ephesians says Christian marriage is to be a reflection of that relationship between Christ and the Church.

But I would have you 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.
I Cor.11:3

Christ is the head of the church, His body. It is He who directs and is responsible for it. The man has the responsibility of being the head of the family. Unfortunately because of sin many men become domineering and lord it over their families.

We also note from this verse that Christ is under the headship of His Father. This is not to say that Father and Son are not co-equal, they are.  But it is in terms of their relationship to each other.

Likewise man and wife, and for our purposes we  are assuming they’re both born again, are equal for there are no barriers in Christ. However when we talk of headship it is in their relationship to each other in this God-ordained institute. God has appointed the man as head of the family. Woe betide anyone who would tamper with God’s order, and woe betide any man abusing his position. For both give a false testimony of God’s order, and ways.

For the Christian the family should be a testimony to God’s grace, love and order. And all should be glorifying to him. With that in mind we will turn to the specifics of what Paul says.