The exception temptation

One of the biggest areas of temptation that is often obscured by our culture in the Church is the exceptions temptation.

For example, when the concept of wifely submission to the husband is brought up, you will find that many Christian wives will almost invariably ask along with the most probably line of response is:

Topic: “Let’s talk about submission to husbands.”

Wife: “But what if my [Christian] husband commands me to sin?”

Response: “Well, if he tells you to sin then you disobey him so you don’t sin.”

This type of “exception” question is actually a temptation in disguise in the vast majority of cases. It is a redirect away from a productive discussion about the righteous concept of submission toward a statistically improbable situation that virtually never occurs in real life. In fact, taking out the “sin” part, I’ve rarely heard a husband “command” his wife to do anything. That just goes to show you how absurd this line of thinking is in the first place.

The most probable line of response tells a woman what she wants to hear. In other words, she should ‘be rebellious, if he asks her to sin.’ However, the reality is far darker. The real problem is the diversion away from submission obscures the Truth and replaces it with terms that usually aren’t discussed such as ‘what constitutes sin?’ Hence, what many women actually hear is:

  • “I don’t have to obey him, if I don’t want to.”
  • “I don’t have to obey him, if I don’t feel like it.”

Thus, the probable response plays right into a woman’s sin nature by inadvertently encouraging a rebellious attitude. In almost all of the cases I’ve seen where a wife asks this question, you can tell from her attitude and tone of voice she simply wants to be able to be rebellious and throw headship back in their husband’s face: “That’s a sin and I’m not going to do it!” which in reality is simply “I don’t want to listen to you.”

In fact, a righteous answer should include a redirect back to submission.

Topic: “Let’s talk about submission to husbands.”

Wife: “But what if my [Christian] husband commands me to sin?”

Response: “When’s the last time you heard a husband command his wife, much less to sin? Now, as I was saying about submission…”

If you want to actually address the question, then you have to discuss the right heart attitude and actions. This would go something like this:

Topic: “Let’s talk about submission to husbands.”

Wife: “But what if my [Christian] husband commands me to sin?”

Response: “You should find where it says it is a sin in the Scripture. Then you come to him with a respectful and submissive attitude and say: ‘Hey, I think this may be against what God says in the Scripture here and my conscience. Is there anything else I can do instead to make it up to you? Now, as I was saying about submission…”

Obviously, the correct response is one that encourages respect and submission as the Scripture states. It is an attitude and actions that want to obey and not rebel. It gives alternatives for obedience.

This is why it’s important to consider the implications behind women and wives questions instead of answering them directly. There’s usually some subtle background information driving her response to ask one. Do not fall prey to distracting and redirecting questions.

Bonus points comment and response on this topic.

Maybe that’s some women’s motives but not mine. I’ve point blank asked my husband if I’m submissive and he states I am. He has never asked me to sin. But that doesn’t mean he couldn’t. My biggest concern is if that happens I want to stand in front God with a good reason for not obeying him or for sinning.

And that’s the problem right there. You are thinking he “could.”

You know your husband’s character. If he made an honest mistake and was unaware then you, as his helpmeet, bring it up to him respectfully. “Hey, this might be a problem because…”

Wives have concerns that they’re husbands are going to turn into some horrible monsters when the subject of authority comes up. This is ingrained because our culture despises authority via feminism and even the revolutionary war. I’m not surprised.

It’s the attitude of *letting him lead* instead of *following his lead.* I’m going to let him lead *until* he tells he to do something that is sinful.


To summarize my points, since apparently even BGR did not understand what I was trying to get at:

  1. The Scripture is quite clear that if a [Christian] leader is advocating sin, other Christians should speak up to ensure that he doesn’t go astray. Not just those under authority. This is the importance of family and community as a husband and wife are not unto their own.
  2. The Scripture is clear that if you have a moral issue with a leader(s) degree you do your best to be respectful and obey to the extent that you don’t disobey God, even potentially offering obedience in other ways as I have give examples above. Give Scriptural examples to the leader. Any discussion must be done in a respectful and submissive attitude. The intent of those under authority should be to obey by finding a way to obey without sin.
  3. Wives are scared their husbands are going to turn into evil monsters when/if they have to submit. Part of this is from the ingrained anti-authority and anti-masculine sentiment from our culture, which leads to the exception temptation. This is living in fear. As I discussed earlier, if there’s an honest mistake then it’s no big deal to bring it up to a husband. The very fact that wives keep making it a big deal shows that there is other undercurrents involved rather than asking “honest questions.” The undercurrents of rebellion in our culture are strong and need to be rooted out.
  4. The diversion tendency is one of moral dilemmas. Do I obey God or my husband? In fact, these moral dilemmas are false. There is no mutually exclusive answer because you can figure out pretty easily if it’s a honest mistake or not which most of the time it is. Or, like Sarah and Abraham, the wife may have a heart to obey and then God intervenes or the husband may change his mind before she sins. The point is that there are opportunities to show that you want to obey and alert the leader at the same time that there might be a problem.
  5. Wives with actual non-Christian husbands have it difficult. In the vast majority of cases, it’s still highly unlikely that a non-Christian husband will advocate sin if she is acting in accordance with 1 Peter 3. It’s possible, sure, but I have already covered how to respond to that in #2.
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22 Responses to The exception temptation

  1. donalgraeme says:

    Wives have concerns that they’re husbands are going to turn into some horrible monsters when the subject of authority comes up. This is ingrained because our culture despises authority via feminism and even the revolutionary war. I’m not surprised.

    I disagree with this. I don’t think that most really have this concern. At least, not from an honest, open and rational examination of the subject. I think it is mostly projection. Sure, exceptions might exist, but in the overwhelming majority of cases I am fairly convinced it is female projection occurring. That tendency to project, as well as their desire to project a command to sin, need to be addressed too.

  2. Why is it most of the time when pastors preaches on wifely submission they feel compelled to say something to undermine submission and stirs up anxiety in women:Something to the effect of …

    “What submission is not is being a doormat, what submission is not is losing your identity, submission does not mean being silent and not having anything to say, submission does not mean being like June Cleaver…

    This is how they normally exposite ” Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. … Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. ” There is a submission crisis in both the teaching and the practice of christian marriage. As I have lamented previously, the church is leading the culture, but she is leading it away from the standard of God’s Word.

  3. @ Donal

    Ah, yeah, that could certainly be the case that wives are projecting that if they were given authority they would potentially use it poorly.

  4. @ Jonadab-the-Rechabite

    Why is it most of the time when pastors preaches on wifely submission they feel compelled to say something to undermine submission and stirs up anxiety in women

    That’s another one that bugs me.

    There’s also the exception that I didn’t mention in this post which is if someone starts to talk about woman/wives responsibilities you get the:

    “But what about the men?”

    As if you can’t talk about what women have responsibilities for without talking about men and their responsibilities.

  5. SnapperTrx says:

    Funny. Do these same people squawk, “Well what about Jesus?”, when they are told we are to submit to Christ?

  6. SnapperTrx says:

    That reminds me of the comedy sketch I saw in which the comedian was complaining about everyone thanking God for their wins, but that he had never heard anyone say “Well we could have won – if Jesus hadn’t dropped the ball!”.

  7. Jeff says:

    Also note that many times you go to listen to a sermon on wifely submission and immediately takes a 180* turn and it is about the husband’s roles. Think Paul Washer.

  8. SapphireYagami says:

    so a man has never asked his wife for a threesome before? cause im pretty sure that counts as a sin.

  9. SapphireYagami says:

    i thought Jesus was Christ?

  10. feeriker says:

    Jonadab-the-Rechabite on June 11, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Yes, it ALWAYS comes off this way in my experience – on those incredibly rare occasions when it happens at all. This is why, to be really honest, I’m not really offended that pastors stay clear of this topic. They would do infinitely more damage by giving it the churchian feminist spin you describe.

  11. Just Some Guy says:

    @ SapphireYagami

    “so a man has never asked his wife for a threesome before? cause im pretty sure that counts as a sin.”

    Yes, there have been husbands who have. And…. So what? Your question right there is exactly the point that DS is making. Just because a husband MIGHT ask their wife to sin does not negate, in the slightest, the requirement/commandment, from God, for wives to submit. DS is suggesting that IFF (If and only if) the husband does command their wife to sin, then they should respectfully and in all submissiveness discuss it with their husband. Response #2 in the Conclusions above is exactly that.

    i thought Jesus was Christ?

    I’m assuming your talking about the joke made by SnapperTrx? Yes, Christ and Jesus are the same person. And don’t forget about Yashua. Same guy. What SnapperTrx is doing is reversing the common response from wives to what the Church would say to Christ. Ephesians 5:24.

    Unfortunately the hamster immediately responds with “But you’re not Christ”. *sigh* It’s no longer a logical conversation at that point.

  12. Just Some Guy says:

    @ DS I apologize for the size of this. I didn’t realize it until i was done. Please delete/truncate as you see fit.

    @ SapphireYagami
    so a man has never asked his wife for a threesome before? cause im pretty sure that counts as a sin.

    I wanted to address this desperately because I didn’t want it to take away from the previous responses. I just want to bring to your attention some possibilities that you may not have considered. Now before getting into that, please let me offer some “pre-reading”:
    1) Romans 14 (whole Chapter) : Don’t argue over things that are not established by God’s Law. If two people think different things, let them be guided by their consciences. Do not try to force your views on each other.
    2) Romans 4:15, 5:13, 7:7, others: Where there is no Law, there is no sin. Sin is defined as the violation of the Law.
    3) A law (ecclesiastical or secular) either requires something or prohibits something. Whatever is not prohibited or required is optional. (example: there is no law allowing one to drive with their windows down, but there is a law requiring a licence and a law prohibiting high speeds.)

    Now, this can go different directions. Let’s assume an easy one first:

    A Husband, Wife and the +1 (one night stand/BFF/wife’s sister/whatever). If the +1 is married, both she and Husband are guilty of adultery. If the +1 is not married, Husband is looking at fornication, at the worst. The Wife would not be sinning. So that’s OK.

    Ok, let’s step it up a notch. Husband wants Wife to actually do things to the +1. Surely that’s sin because of homosexuality, right? Maybe not. There actually isn’t any law regarding girl on girl. The only one that is used pretty constantly in regards to this is Leviticus 18:22-23 with Romans 1:26 as a side dish. First part of proper exegesis is Assume Nothing. Look at what Leviticus actually prohibits: 1) no man on man, 2) no man on beast, 3) no girl on beast, 4) no 4, it ended on 3. You have the specifics of no man with beast, no girl with beast and no man on man, but no girl on girl is not there. What about Romans 1:26? That’s the side dish and is used to compliment the entree. It states that women would be given over to their shameful lusts and exchange natural use for unnatural. This is used to support the no girl on girl, if you assume that girl on girl is a sin or shameful. But that’s ignoring the litany of stuff that was stated verses prior. Now, there is a grain of truism here that does need to be explored. If a woman has completely rejected men and become a true “Lesbian”, this is where Romans 1:26 is no longer the side dish but the main course. She has exchanged natural use for unnatural. She is no longer looking for a husband as a head or in a relationship capable of producing offspring; it is unnatural. So, in our case of the Husband, Wife and +1? Still not sinning as long as Husband is still #1 on her list.

    Last Step: yeah, you know where this is going. Second wife. Again, no limitations on plural wives. There are so many issues with this but i’ll try to be brief. Let’s assume that one rejects the Old Testament patriarchs and states that the new testament requires only one wife. So, that means we skip the part about Moses, the giver of the Law to the people, who had more than one; David, who God said that if he wanted more he would have given them to him; Jacob who with his 4 wives started the 12 tribes of Israel; God himself being the husband of two sisters (Eze 23); God saying Abimelek was innocent to try to take Abrams wife as his own even though he already had a least one wife and several female slaves (Gen 20); and about 30 some-odd more. We’ll skip right past those and go right into the NT. remember the Pre-Reader up top. Where there is no law, there is no sin.

    1) 1 Tim 3:2, 1 Tim 3:12, Titus 1:6
    Use of the words “but” or “only” were added by the translators and not in the original. It actually reads “mia aner gune”. No new Law.
    1b) Greek word “Mia” can mean one of a group, first of a set or an indefinite article like “a” or “an”. Never used to be exclusive. Mark 14:37 (one hour), Mark 14:66 (one of the maids), Matt 28:1 (first day). This means the three verses above can also mean a) a woman man (married, in general); b) first woman man (not divorced). No new Law.
    2) 1 Cor 7:2 – The infamous “own” verse.
    The word own in both statements are two different Greek words. The first, “let every man have his own wife” is heautou. Heautou directs ownership of the object (wife) to the agent (husband), object(s) can be plural or singular and is exclusive to the agent (husband) [Romans 8:3 – God sending his own Son]. The second, “let every every woman have her own husband” is idios. Idios directs ownership of itself (wife) to another (husband), can be plural and is inclusive [Luke 2:3 – every one into his own city]. No new Law.
    3) One flesh
    Each marriage is it’s own one-flesh union. Wife #2 is not marrying Wife #1. No new Law.
    4) Christ said one wife too and that marrying a second was adultery.
    Look at it carefully. They asked him about divorce. Marriage was intended to be Life-long, from the beginning. He was telling them that to divorce AND remarry would make him an adulterer and cause her to become an adulteress. It was Moses who allowed divorce, not God. He was correcting their error regarding divorce. No new Law.
    5) Adultery has always been defined as someone having sex outside of marriage.
    Actually no. Adultery has always been defined by the status of the woman. Look at all the laws regarding adultery. The status of the man is never mentioned.
    6) It’s illegal.
    Technically, having multiple legal marriages is illegal. That’s why you don’t get legally married. Many people don’t realize that marriage licences are relatively new. The whole licencing thing started because the Govt made interracial marriages illegal. So, people had to get a licence (permission to do something that would otherwise be illegal to do). Then it became a “law” in all 50 states around 1920-something. Besides, a union between man and woman with God is not a legal matter. Marital unions belong to God, legal marriages belong to the State. Nowhere in all of the Bible is there any preacher, judge or arbiter required to make a marriage legitimate. Look at the first marriage: there was this guy, God saw it wasn’t good, made a woman and said, “here”. Done. My favorite is Genesis 24:67 – Isaac took her into his mother’s tent and she became his wife. I don’t there a preacher or the local magistrate was in there with them…..
    7) There’s nothing in the Bible that says it’s allowed.
    True. But remember #3: A law either requires something or prohibits something, it does not allow anything. God’s Law does not prohibit polygyny and, in some circumstances, can require it.

    So back to the Husband, Wife and +1: If the +1 is a second wife, the Wife is still not sinning.

    So, there you have it. If the Husband commands the Wife to participate in a threesome, no matter what the situation, as long as it does not involve any of the situations listed in Leviticus (incest, bestiality, etc.) it is not a sin for her to do so.

    Now, will I command my wife to participate in a threesome? Are you nuts? I ain’t stupid.

    Peace and God Bless

  13. Just Some Guy says:

    GAH! after all that… The first sentence should say “I wanted to address this separately“, not desperately. LOL.

  14. Looking Glass says:

    @Just Some Guy:

    You sir, have done some good work. 🙂

    Toad’s problem always is that he can’t quite square the Allowed/Not Allowed with not being stupid. Which is really what most Christians do not want to actually do: Follow God and not their own passions.

    This is sort of a side point, as I like to think through highly unlikely but not impossible situations, I have actually thought through most of the implications if a Man ended up stuck with multiple wives. (The Lord has asked Christians to do far, far stranger things over the centuries, but this is just dealing with theoreticals.) The biggest issue, aside from the headache of *multiple* wives, is the effect it has on the children. Wife #1’s children will always be higher in the pecking order, regardless of how a Man approaches the situation. We can see the results of that effect with Jacob & Gideon in the Old Testament. This also explains a great deal of the issues with “blended” families not the result of a death. The children instinctively know there’s a difference between them, and it does have a deep effect on them.

    This is why, though multiple wives is not a Sin, it’s a pretty dang terrible idea, for everyone. Which brings up a point I like to make: far too many Christians have taken “Thou shalt be stupid” as their highest calling.

  15. Just Some Guy says:

    @Looking Glass

    Thank you but I owe that to studying a literary amalgam of research others have done before me. From “Why do you believe that?” by B. A. Berean, to the work done by the folks at BiblicalFamilies, and more recently, DeepStrength, Dalrock, Toad and BGR.

    I’d have to disagree with you on how it “must” affect the children. I’m from a blended family. The man I call Dad is not my father, but I know that I am just as much his kid as his 4 others. My brothers and sister also see me as their own though there is no blood relation. My sister’s mother made the mistake of correcting her one time when my sister called me “brother” and her mom emphasized step brother. My sister stopped the whole conversation right there and said, “no. he is my brother.” When my other brothers and I talk about our dad, it’s always “our” dad. Not, my dad or your dad, our dad.

    How the children are treated in a plural family has everything to do with how the adults, specifically the Head, treat everyone. There’s also the assumption there is a First, Primary or Alpha Wife. That is only the case if the Husband has created or allowed that to manifest and sustain. Maybe that’s because the only ones who are even remotely open about polygyny are the Traditionalist Mormons who do follow a hierarchy among the wives. Biblically speaking, there were only 2 levels: A Free Wife and a Slave Wife. The Bible calls them both wives and instructed to provide for them both. The difference was in how the inheritance was passed to the children. But if we were to assume (and correctly so) in a modern setting that all wives are Free Wives, then all wives are treated equally and the children too. This is how I would require it in my home.

    You also misapply Jacob’s guilt. Jacob’s favorite kids were of his second wife, not his first. Leah was first wife and first to conceive. Jacob teaches us the folly of having favorites and why we must do our best to avoid that. He flat out got cheated and tricked into marrying Leah and didn’t really care for her that much. He was pretty blatant about it, too. His favorite kids were from his favorite wife and so earned the scorn of the other children. How Jacob treated, or failed to treat everyone, is exactly what caused the effect it had on the kids; not some innate feeling of “difference”.

    Now as far as Gideon is concerned. Well, all we really know is that Abimelech seemed to have taken affront to being born of a concubine (slave wife) and killed all but one of his half brothers. We aren’t told much about why. Was he the only son of his father’s only concubine? If there were other concubines, were they treated better? Did Gideon treat any of his wives or other sons better than Abimelech? We don’t know. The Bible doesn’t say. To attribute Abimelech’s evil to polygyny completely ignores the 70 other sons who were not evil and assumes guilt by association. I think Abimelech was just a bad dude. Why? Who cares. That IS what the Bible tells us; no assumptions needed. He killed his brothers, rejected God and in the end…..

    You know, Adam and Eve were monogamous and one of their kids became the first murderer. Therefore monogamy is evil has a 50% chance of creating murderous kids.

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  18. Dying 2 Live says:


    Good article, but I could see people using Annanias and Sapphira as a defense for the opposite. The wife went along with holding back a portion of their money and lied about it. Would you say this is different because there’s no mentioning of her telling her husband that what they were doing was wrong?

  19. @ Dying 2 Live

    I covered how wives petition their husbands based on the Scriptures here:

  20. Dying 2 Live says:


    Thanks for getting back to me. I may not be looking hard enough, but do you have some articles on what I(a man) can do to prepare for marriage and leadership?

  21. @ Dying 2 Live

    Yeah, on this categorized posts page I’ve listed most of the posts I think are most important on this blog in “framework of the mission.” Most of these are about destroying bad mindsets and learning to be a wise and godly Christian and leader.

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