One of the interesting things I’ve meditated on in the past was the context of the Old Testament with respect to the New Testament. I’ve posted along these lines before, but I really didn’t understand it until now.
There is no grace and mercy without justice.
If you examine the Old Testament as a whole, you will come to the conclusion that after the fall of Adam and Eve the whole process results in the giving of the Law of Moses. Specifically, it is about Israel’s successes and failures in regard to the Law. When Israel failed to follow God’s law, God swiftly punished the lawbreakers according to their deeds. This led to many occupations by surround countries as well as foreign exile. When Israel turned back to God, He redeemed them.
This is the entire back drop for everything that occurs in the New Testament. The call, always, has been to repent and turn to God. However, humans are a wayward people and easily get deceived or lured into turning away from God after they have turned back to Him. Israel had a long history of knowing the consequences for their evil actions. Hence, now, Jesus’ ministry of grace and mercy and ultimately reconciliation can operate to full effect.
When teaching young children, it is important to first teach them justice before grace and mercy. For example, if only grace and mercy are given to a child that makes mistakes, they do not learn that there are negative consequences for their actions even if you explain it. Hence, they grow up to be spoiled kids who continually get into trouble. There are no consequences for their actions. They have never learned a lesson about it.
This is why the concept of justice is so important for all Christians — and in reality all humans — to learn and to understand. There are consequences for the way we behave. There are consequences for all of the actions, no matter how small, that we take. All of the small things add up who you are. They become your character.
There is where grace and mercy come in. You know you screwed up. You know you deserve justice. You know there are negative consequences for your actions. However, we are able to receive grace and mercy from God for our sins. Indeed, this is the context of repentance as a whole. You cannot repent without knowing that you screwed up, you should receive punishment for your behavior, and you desire and actually turn away from screwing up again. This is why victims and perpetrators all matters, especially in the context of abortion.
The early Church had instances where they didn’t understand the totality of the concepts of justice meted with grace in the context of circumcision, food sacrificed to idols, and freedom in Christ. It was easy to “hold someone to the Law of Moses” based on the culture at the time while not understanding that it had been fulfilled by Jesus. However, it was easy to fall into the trap of cheap grace as Paul describes in Romans.
Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become [a]united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be [b]in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old [c]self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be [d]done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is [e]freed from sin.
In today’s modern churchianity there is an overabundance of cheap grace being handed out. Money to many in the pulpit has become more important than repentance. Inversion of values and not offending women is more important than exhortation of the Truth. The gospel is not the gospel without understanding justice in the context of grace.
Why men are called to be leaders of the family and Church
I believe this is another reason why men are called to be leaders in both the Church and family.
It’s fairly well known that men tend to have a strong sense of justice. That’s why men can be easily prone to legalism. However, this strong sense of justice is the building block for truly understanding the nature of grace and mercy. It is imperative that grace and mercy be meted out only after someone has understood that they have done wrong and have repented for it.
Indeed, womens’ sin nature is rooted in ignoring or brushing off consequences for actions. Women tend to have a very difficult time correcting or rebuking others because they do not like to be confrontational. They do not like to call out the sin in others. This is where the relational impact of empathy backfires because feelings are placed as importdant over Truth. This often leads to women criticizing men as being too judgmental, without understanding how the backdrop of justice leads to mercy and grace.
This is the precise duty of love that husbands are called to in the marriage relationship:
Hence, the thrust of love in marriage is mainly aimed for the husbands to sanctify and cleanse their wives. What does this look like?
- Sanctification is a husband standing on the Truth of God’s Word and and directing her on that path in order that she may become holy.
- Cleansing is to point out to her, with words, the dirtiness of the things of the world and to help her rid herself of those things to become blameless.
This all goes back to the garden where Adam’s sin is one of lack of action and diverting blame. The husbands call is in direct opposition of what Adam did. The call is to love and thus sanctify by firmly standing on the Truth while directing her path to be holy. And to love and thus assist in her cleansing by pointing out and helping to removing sin of where she has gone astray so she becomes blameless.
Obviously, this is in stark contrast to how sacrificial love is typically used in churchianity where a husband is a “servant leader” or rather a slave to his wife’s feelings.
I believe that this along with the fallacy of teaching men to be emotionally honest are two of the reasons why God has called men to be the leaders of the Church and family. Men are better equipped to handle the down and dirty and especially difficult aspects of relationships that make them successful.