Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

God’s Commands Concerning Responsibility: Direct Commands

To the male of the species God has given responsibilities that fit the fruit of the Spirit more than the works of the flesh.

Responsibility comes with the territory. The first territory was earth, and the first man and woman got that responsibility.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:27-30)

It may be that the husband had the primary responsibility then because of prior creation.
I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. (1 Timothy 2:12-14)

Eve was deceived; Adam rebelled.

They also got a smaller, detailed responsibility—the Garden of Eden. "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it" (Genesis 2:15).

After both of them failed that responsibility, it was taken from them. "To Adam he said, 'Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, "You must not eat from it," Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life'” (Genesis 3:17).

The husband/father is primarily responsible. We see this order in the law very clearly in Numbers 30. A husband or father is responsible for the vows made by his wife or daughter. If he cancels the vow, she is free from keeping it. If he does not cancel the vow, then the husband, by silence, confirms it. If the woman does not keep the vow, her husband is guilty. The New Testament assigns responsibility to the father/husband in Ephesians 5:25-30, 6:4, 1 Peter 3:7, and Colossians 3:19-21.

God made man with a conscience and placed him under a moral law. After he has been redeemed, man has a new conscience and the Holy Spirit. As men are redeemed out of the world, this cultural phenomenon of wanting authority without responsibility must not be allowed to affect them.
Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to. (1 Corinthians 7:24)

God called us. We are responsible to Him. We answer to Him. We are accountable to Him.

As Christians, men and women together are given great, common, moral responsibilities. We can see this throughout the Bible. However, I want to draw attention to those assigned responsibilities given to men only. After that, I will draw some extensions that also apply only to the men. You may argue with these, but please be careful that in doing so you are not trying to avoid a genuine responsibility.

“And he will rule over you”:

To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16)

Responsible for the vows of his wife and daughters:

When a young woman still living in her father’s household makes a vow to the Lord or obligates herself by a pledge and her father hears about her vow or pledge but says nothing to her, then all her vows and every pledge by which she obligated herself will stand. But if her father forbids her when he hears about it, none of her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand; the Lord will release her because her father has forbidden her…If a woman living with her husband makes a vow or obligates herself by a pledge under oath and her husband hears about it but says nothing to her and does not forbid her, then all her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand. But if her husband nullifies them when he hears about them, then none of the vows or pledges that came from her lips will stand. Her husband has nullified them, and the Lord will release her. Her husband may confirm or nullify any vow she makes or any sworn pledge to deny herself. (Numbers 30:3-5, 10-13)

Children:

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:28)

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court. (Psalms 127:3-5)

Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord. (Psalm 128:1-4)

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. (Colossians 3:21)

Faithfulness to marriage vows:

You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful. (Malachi 2:14-16)

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Mathew 19:3-9)

No adultery/no coveting:

You have heard that it was said, "You shall not commit adultery." But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:17)
No looking/no touching:
Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. (1 Corinthians 7:1 NKJV)

For those who have increased responsibility in the church, the lists in 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-6:8 also apply.

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