As many of you know, I’m always a fan of practicalities. Being made new is a process that involves removing the old and putting on the new. If you simply remove the old then your habits will resurface and you will eventually start putting back the old on again. The same is true spiritually as Jesus discusses.
Matthew 12:43 “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”
As I discussed in shades of rebellion, Dalrock has posted recently about many areas where evangelical “complementarians” advocate a twisted sense of rebellion and call it godly. Here are some, but not all, of them which you can read on your own time.
Let’s talk about some of the issues.
Part of the discussion that has cropped up in these posts is a peripheral argument that always comes to the forefront namely,
“Should wives submit to a husband that leads or commands her to sin.”
This question is indeed a red herring in the sense that it promotes unwarranted fear. The vast majority of so-called Christian husbands aren’t leading nor commanding their wives to sin. However, this question is used as a strong arm tactic to undermine the authority of headship. In particular, the fear questions legitimate authority and sows the seeds of discontent and discord within relationships that lead ultimately toward covert or overt rebellion.
The discussion itself focuses on actions and actually misses the mark of what God consistently is aiming at in the Scriptures. Since this is actually not clear to many people, I want to bring up the actual examples from the Scriptures.
The preeminent verse and example is brought up in 1 Peter 3 on how wives are to win their husbands:
1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and [a]respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right [b]without being frightened by any fear.
The first part of the passage is straight forward. If a wife claims to be Christan then even if her husband is not a Christian she should act in the proper manner to win her husband:
- Chaste Attitude
- Respectful Attitude
- Gentle Spirit
- Quiet Spirit
- Submissive [to their husbands]
As you can see from the Keller’s example of busting up China in Dalrock’s posts that is being touted as a Christian example, this is completely and utterly false. The reason why God commands chaste and respectful attitude, a gentle and quiet spirit, and submission is because that is able to win the hearts of their husbands. Confrontation through strife is not a way to win the heart of the husband, and if he is a man that backs down to confrontation and does what the wife wants it is an inversion of sex roles. She has taken the head over the relationship through rebellion.
The example given is Sarah to Abraham. The example of Sarah to Abraham answers the question “Should I obey my husband if he leads me into sin.” Let’s look at two specific situations.
Genesis 12:10 Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 It came about when he [j]came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “See now, I know that you are a [k]beautiful woman; 12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that [l]I may live on account of you.” 14 It came about when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians [m]saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 Pharaoh’s officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16 Therefore he treated Abram well for her sake; and [n]gave him sheep and oxen and donkeys and male and female servants and female donkeys and camels.
17 But the Lord struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, [o]here is your wife, take her and go.” 20 Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they [p]escorted him away, with his wife and all that belonged to him.
Abraham goes down to Egypt, and tells a “white lie” and tells his wife to be complicit with his “white lie.” Sarah, or Sarai at this point, is obedient to Abraham. However, in the passage as the story develops obviously you can see that none of the blame falls onto Sarai but solely onto Abraham. This is the power of headship as a covering. That which a wife does under her husband’s authority is not her responsibility but his for commanding it. Likewise,
Genesis 20:1 Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the [a]Negev, and [b]settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he sojourned in Gerar. 2 Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is [c]married.” 4 Now Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You slay a nation, even though [d]blameless? 5 Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my [e]hands I have done this.” 6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also [f]kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 Now therefore, restore the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”
8 So Abimelech arose early in the morning and called all his servants and told all these things in their hearing; and the men were greatly frightened. 9 Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And [g]how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me [h]things that ought not to be done.” 10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What have you [i]encountered, that you have done this thing?” 11 Abraham said, “Because I thought, surely there is no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife. 12 Besides, she actually is my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife; 13 and it came about, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said to her, ‘This is [j]the kindness which you will show to me: [k]everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”
Abraham does not learn his lesson and trust God the next time the same situation pops up. He does the same exact thing again with Abimelech. The same exact scenario occurs.
The important thing to note is that both times Sarah is delivered from each situation by God. She did not choose to rebel against Abraham and refuse to do what he said even though lying is obviously a sin. God delivers her both time from her situation because she was in the right — chaste, respectful, gentle, quiet, and submissive to her husband — even in his doing wrong.
Of course, there is only one other example in the Scriptures where a wife is disobedient to her husband and God honors her.
1 Samuel 25:2 Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel; and the man was very [a]rich, and he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And it came about while he was shearing his sheep in Carmel 3 (now the man’s name was Nabal, and his wife’s name was Abigail. And the woman was [b]intelligent and beautiful in appearance, but the man was harsh and evil in his dealings, and he was a Calebite), 4 that David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. 5 So David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, [c]visit Nabal and greet him in my name; 6 and thus you shall say, ‘[d]Have a long life, peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. 7 Now I have heard that you have shearers; now your shepherds have been with us and we have not insulted them, nor have they missed anything all the days they were in Carmel. 8 Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we have come on a [e]festive day. Please give whatever you find at hand to your servants and to your son David.’”
9 When David’s young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in David’s name; then they waited. 10 But Nabal answered David’s servants and said, “Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who are each breaking away from his master. 11 Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men [f]whose origin I do not know?” 12 So David’s young men retraced their way and went back; and they came and told him according to all these words. 13 David said to his men, “Each of you gird on his sword.” So each man girded on his sword. And David also girded on his sword, and about four hundred men went up behind David while two hundred stayed with the baggage.
14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “Behold, David sent messengers from the wilderness to [g]greet our master, and he scorned them. 15 Yet the men were very good to us, and we were not insulted, nor did we miss anything [h]as long as we went about with them, while we were in the fields. 16 They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the time we were with them tending the sheep. 17 Now therefore, know and [i]consider what you should do, for evil is plotted against our master and against all his household; and he is such a [j]worthless man that no one can speak to him.”
18 Then Abigail hurried and took two hundred loaves of bread and two jugs of wine and five sheep already prepared and five measures of roasted grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19 She said to her young men, “Go on before me; behold, I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. 20 It came about as she was riding on her donkey and coming down by the hidden part of the mountain, that behold, David and his men were coming down toward her; so she met them. 21 Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have guarded all that this man has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him; and he has returned me evil for good. 22 May God do so to the enemies of David, and more also, if by morning I leave as much as one [k]male of any who belong to him.”
23 When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from her donkey, and fell on her face before David and bowed herself to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said, “On me [l]alone, my lord, be the blame. And please let your maidservant speak [m]to you, and listen to the words of your maidservant. 25 Please do not let my lord [n]pay attention to this [o]worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. [p]Nabal is his name and folly is with him; but I your maidservant did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent.
26 “Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, since the Lord has restrained you from [q]shedding blood, and from [r]avenging yourself by your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek evil against my lord, be as Nabal. 27 Now let this [s]gift which your maidservant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who [t]accompany my lord. 28 Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant; for the Lord will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord, and evil will not be found in you all your days. 29 Should anyone rise up to pursue you and to seek your [u]life, then the [v]life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the Lord your God; but the [w]lives of your enemies He will sling out [x]as from the hollow of a sling. 30 And when the Lord does for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and appoints you ruler over Israel, 31 this will not [y]cause grief or a troubled heart to my lord, both by having shed blood without cause and by my lord having [z]avenged himself. When the Lord deals well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.”
32 Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, 33 and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from [aa]bloodshed and from [ab]avenging myself by my own hand. 34 Nevertheless, as the Lord God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light as much as one [ac]male.” 35 So David received from her hand what she had brought him and said to her, “Go up to your house in peace. See, I have listened to [ad]you and [ae]granted your request.” 36 Then Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; so she did not tell him anything [af]at all until the morning light. 37 But in the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him so that he became as a stone. 38 About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died.
The most interesting aspect about this story even though Abigail goes against the wishes of her husband is the way in which Abigail does it. Now, this type of action is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum that many advocate in the supposed scenario of a husband leading a wife into sin. Most of those who advocate disobedience if the husband is leading to sin never suggest that:
- Prepares a gift and goes out to meet David
- Gets down and bows to the ground (chaste and respectful attitude and actions)
- Is willing to accept the blame for her husband’s actions
- Tells of her ignorance for what happened
- Offers the gift
- Again asserts willingness to accept blame for the transgression
- Begs for mercy over judgment
- Points out that shedding blood, even justly, may cause grief
Giving a gift, having a humble, chaste and respectful heart, willingness to accept blame that is not hers, begging for mercy over judgment, and using facts to show how adding a weight to the soul is unnecessary are all good ways to show a heart for righteousness instead of evil.
Of course, those who advocate disobedience do not really have good intentions and are trying to undermine authority in the first place. It’s to be expected that they are advocating evil instead of righteousness.
The story of Esther is probably the best example of how to petition a husband that is a non-Christian [or disobedient to the Word.] First, we have the story of Vashti:
Esther 1:10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown in order to display her beauty to the people and the princes, for she was beautiful. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command delivered by the eunuchs. Then the king became very angry and his wrath burned within him.
13 Then the king said to the wise men who understood the times—for it was the custom of the king so to speak before all who knew law and justice 14 and were close to him: Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media who [e]had access to the king’s presence and sat in the first place in the kingdom— 15 “According to law, what is to be done with Queen Vashti, because she did not [f]obey the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the eunuchs?” 16 In the presence of the king and the princes, Memucan said, “Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king but also all the princes and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 17 For the queen’s conduct will [g]become known to all the women causing them [h]to look with contempt on their husbands by saying, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in to his presence, but she did not come.’ 18 This day the ladies of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen’s conduct will speak in the same way to all the king’s princes, and there will be plenty of contempt and anger. 19 If it pleases the king, let a royal [i]edict be issued by him and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media so that it cannot [j]be repealed, that Vashti may no longer come into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal position to [k]another who is more worthy than she. 20 When the king’s edict which he will make is heard throughout all his kingdom, [l]great as it is, then all women will give honor to their husbands, great and small.”
21 This word pleased the king and the princes, and the king did [m]as Memucan proposed. 22 So he sent letters to all the king’s provinces, to each province according to its script and to every people according to their language, that every man should be the master in his own house and the one who speaks in the language of his own people.
Disobedient wives curry the anger and judgment of their husbands. Whether the king was right or wrong for wanting to display his wife’s beauty (whatever that meant) before his people, the fact that she was disobedient shows the vast majority of husbands will be in the face of a rebellious wife. Specifically, angry, discontent, wanting a righteous judgment, and the like. Is it no wonder that 1 Peter 3 speaks to wives to be:
- Chaste Attitude
- Respectful Attitude
- Gentle Spirit
- Quiet Spirit
- Submissive [to their husbands]
However, we have Esther who is later promoted to be queen. She becomes queen, and then finds out about Haman’s plot against the Jews. She also knows that she will be breaking the laws of the land, or in other words sinning. The breaking the laws of the land and the punishment of sin are both death.
Esther 4:9 Hathach came back and related Mordecai’s words to Esther. 10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach and ordered him to reply to Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that for any man or woman who comes to the king to the inner court who is not summoned, he has but one law, that he be put to death, unless the king holds out to him the golden scepter so that he may live. And I have not been summoned to come to the king for these thirty days.” 12 They related Esther’s words to Mordecai.
13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”
15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.” 17 So Mordecai went away and did just as Esther had commanded him.
Esther 5:1 Now it came about on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace in front of the king’s [a]rooms, and the king was sitting on his royal throne in the [b]throne room, opposite the entrance to the palace. 2 When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight; and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther came near and touched the top of the scepter. 3 Then the king said to her, “What is troubling you, Queen Esther? And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be given to you.” 4 Esther said, “If it pleases the king, may the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him.”
5 Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly that we may do [c]as Esther desires.” So the king and Haman came to the banquet which Esther had prepared. 6 [d]As they drank their wine at the banquet, the king said to Esther, “What is your petition, for it shall be granted to you. And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be done.” 7 So Esther replied, “My petition and my request is: 8 if I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and do [e]what I request, may the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do [f]as the king says.”
Esther 7:1 Now the king and Haman came to drink wine with Esther the queen. 2 And the king said to Esther on the second day also [a]as they drank their wine at the banquet, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be done.” 3 Then Queen Esther replied, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me as my petition, and my people as my request; 4 for we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed and to be annihilated. Now if we had only been sold as slaves, men and women, I would have remained silent, for the [b]trouble would not be commensurate with the [c]annoyance to the king.” 5 Then King Ahasuerus [d]asked Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, [e]who would presume to do thus?” 6 Esther said, “A foe and an enemy is this wicked Haman!” Then Haman became terrified before the king and queen.
What is Esther’s righteous response?
- Fasting for three days, and inviting others into her fast. I imagine they prayed as well.
- Obeying proper protocol for approaching the king
- Dressing up beautifully in her royal clothes
- Coming to the king and not demanding anything but rather giving a banquet instead
- Only after the banquet is underway does Esther present her request
She seeks God. She obeys proper etiquette. She makes herself beautiful. She thinks of giving before getting. She makes sure the king is happy with food and drink before requesting of him.
One last thing I want to note about Esther’s situation that I have thought about but never made a post on. “Equality” is such a major issue in our culture. However, what the king offers Esther because she pleased him is essentially equality: “Whatever you ask for up to half my kingdom.” Esther didn’t ask for it, but the king was willing to give it. Wives win their husband’s hearts through doing what the Scriptures say not demanding it.
Headship as a covering
The purpose of headship as authority and as the patriarchy is to protect wives and women. Headship and authority in the respect of those under it can be thought of as a covering of protection around them. Indeed, the blood of Jesus is a protective covering around us that shields us from the judgment that we are supposed to receive from our sin, and instead we receive Jesus’ mercy.
Numbers 30:1 Then Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the sons of Israel, saying, “This is the word which the Lord has commanded. 2 If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.
3 “Also if a woman makes a vow to the Lord, and binds herself by an obligation in her father’s house in her youth, 4 and her father hears her vow and her obligation by which she has bound herself, and her father [a]says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand and every obligation by which she has bound herself shall stand. 5 But if her father should forbid her on the day he hears of it, none of her vows or her obligations by which she has bound herself shall stand; and the Lord will forgive her because her father had forbidden her.
6 “However, if she should [b]marry while [c]under her vows or the rash statement of her lips by which she has bound herself, 7 and her husband hears of it and says nothing to her on the day he hears it, then her vows shall stand and her obligations by which she has bound herself shall stand. 8 But if on the day her husband hears of it, he forbids her, then he shall annul her vow which [d]she is under and the rash statement of her lips by which she has bound herself; and the Lord will forgive her.
9 “But the vow of a widow or of a divorced woman, everything by which she has bound herself, shall stand against her. 10 However, if she vowed in her husband’s house, or bound herself by an obligation with an oath, 11 and her husband heard it, but said nothing to her and did not forbid her, then all her vows shall stand and every obligation by which she bound herself shall stand. 12 But if her husband indeed annuls them on the day he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning the obligation of herself shall not stand; her husband has annulled them, and the Lord will forgive her.
13 “Every vow and every binding oath to humble herself, her husband may confirm it or her husband may annul it. 14 But if her husband indeed says nothing to her from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or all her obligations which are on her; he has confirmed them, because he said nothing to her on the day he heard them. 15 But if he indeed annuls them after he has heard them, then he shall bear her guilt.”
The protective nature of headship is shown clearly in the Law of Moses. Men, widows, and divorced wives are all held accountable to themselves and under the binding of their vows. If a daughter or wife acts rashly with a vow, the father or husband respectively can overrule it before it becomes binding. The husband can annul them after he hears them and allowed them to slide, but he will bear her guilt instead. This is one of the fundamental mischaracterizations of patriarchy and headship. The reason why it’s there is not meant to limit or hold back. Rather, the reason why it’s there is to act as a protection. The important point is this. If a wife disobeys her husband she steps outside of the bounds of his God-given protective authority. When she does this she heaps the nature of judgment for her decision solely onto herself. However, if she obeys even in sin then the blame falls onto the husband and not her like the situation with Abraham, Sarah, and Pharaoh and Abimelech. This is why saying a wife should disobey her husband even if he leads her into sin is precarious advice. A wife that does so heaps judgment onto herself because she is walking out from the protective covering over her.
I’ll reiterate the previous section because it’s important realize the consequences for decisions that involve rebellion.
If a wife disobeys her husband she steps outside of the bounds of his God-given protective authority. When she does this she heaps the nature of judgment for her decision solely onto herself. However, if she obeys even in sin then the blame falls onto the husband and not her like the situation with Abraham, Sarah, and Pharaoh and Abimelech.
This is why saying a wife should disobey her husband even if he leads her into sin is precarious advice. A wife that does so heaps judgment onto herself because she is walking out from the protective covering over her.
There are quite a few righteous ways to approach situations in which a wife may need to petition her husband, especially if she is played in a sinful or no-win situation.
Sarah — Obedience to her husband even in his sinful lies. She is delivered by God Himself and is commended for her faith and obedience in Abraham in 1 Peter 3. Has a chaste and respectful attitude, a gentle and quiet spirit, and is submissive to her husband.
Abigail — Goes against her husbands wishes. However, prepares and gives a gift to the one who presides over her judgment, explains her ignorance, declares her willingness to accept blame for her husband’s actions twice, begs for mercy over judgment, and presents a reasonable argument for why judgment is worse than mercy. God honors her.
Esther — Fasts and likely prays for 3 days. Obeys the proper protocol for approaching the king. Makes herself beautiful. Prepares to give first rather than receive and request. Makes sure her husband is happy and satisfied with food and drink before she makes a request.
As you can see, there is no real “one size fits all” way that wives in the Scripture can petition their husbands or their accusers. However, in each various example every wife was commended for the righteous way they approached the situation. You’ll notice many of the themes are:
- Chaste Attitude
- Respectful Attitude
- Gentle/Humble Spirit
- Quiet Spirit
- Submissive [to their husbands]
- Willing to accept blame that is not theirs
- Begging for mercy over judgment
- Presenting reasonable arguments
- Making themselves beautiful for their husband
- Focus on giving rather than receiving
- Ensure that the husband’s needs are met before asking
All of these can be traced back to the heart. The heart of the wife is not set against the husband but rather for him. She is looking to please him and not go against him even if the situation was sinful.
The goal of a wife in each situation is not to do the right actions (e.g. not sin) because there multiple righteous paths. Even Sarah who walked in Abraham’s sin was commended for her righteousness and obedience and delivered by God. The goal is to win hearts for God through the example of the fruits of the Spirit and righteous behavior.