Real Authority

Restoring Real Authority

by Paul Green

Glorifying the improper government so-called authority of this world, automatically diminishes faith in and submission to real, God ordained authority – in particular, to the holy framework of family and of patriarchal order. This is one major reason why family life, relationships and marriages are so often broken and with that, the effective Christian witness of so many believers.

Many lengthy, so-called “Christian” books have been written to justify overriding the simple words of Jesus with state decrees and paperwork – in order to validate divorce and a subsequent “marriage”. But the Lord himself made clear that for believers and “except for sexual immorality“; marriage is an unconditional contract: And that except for such victims of adultery, regardless of state paperwork, “marrying” the separated wife of a fellow believer is itself nothing more than an adulterous relationship; and that in the Kingdom of God, it would be better to live as a eunuch.

“Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery. …there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.” – Matthew 19:4 “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”– Mark 10:11-12

Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife. – 1 Corinthians 7:10

So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. – Romans 7:3 Yet, it has become common teaching that a man can be welcomed into church fellowship having taken his fellow believer’s wife, usually after an unspecified length of time, provided the government says they are first “divorced” and then “married”.

It is now mainstream “Christian” counseling for women to call upon an extended list of “anger issues” or “abuse” items to justify running to the agencies or courts of the state. With a government red carpet rolled out, they can then destroy the home, often taking half the family wealth on to a new partner.

That wealth however, is also the God-given inheritance right, for the most part, of the firstborn son. And inheritance is very much a New Testament principle – it is in fact, the precise legal process by which we are saved and so made “joint heirs with Christ“, the “first-born from the dead“.

Even where there is a genuinely difficult husband and a completely innocent wife, such actions are in direct violation of teaching contained within 1 Peter 2 and 3:

For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.

…For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: …when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;

…Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. … let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

…For in this manner in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. …Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered…

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” Note the implicit and specific promises of God’s special help, protection and intervention on behalf of women – if fear and unbelief are rejected. Note the promise of change, enlightenment and even of direct divine discipline upon a misbehaving head of household, through hindered prayer and subsequent difficulties… Any husband who is simply erring will surely come around in time. Even an unbeliever may well respond. But an outright reprobate may not want to live in a godly atmosphere of unconditional love, reverence and spiritual strength created by such a woman of faith. In that case, and if the holy covenant is to be broken by divorce and if adultery is then committed – then let it be done by the unbeliever, never the believer (1 Corinthians 7:12-16). Women who choose this path of faithfulness, rather than running to the state, may have to endure for a time – but if they will do so in faith and not fear, the rewards will be great, both here and hereafter.

A man can also apply the same principles when a wife is insubordinate, with appropriate modification: If there has been bad behaviour by the man, then acknowledging this and asking forgiveness is right – regardless of how it may be received by the woman. At the same time, receiving the necessary forgiveness from God first, requires that we harbour no ill will or bad feeling toward anyone else. With that done and from that point on, the man should have faith in the Lord Jesus as our High Priest and should refuse further feelings of condemnation.

Next, it is important to pray in faith – that is, with patient expectation and thanksgiving, not in grief or resentment. This should include quoting relevant scripture out loud and directly rebuking spiritual forces, just as Jesus did in the wilderness. Finally and only if appropriate, a man might issue firm but gentle correction, without bite or condemnation, and should exercise authority over matters of the household with love and patience. When necessary and without pride, he should be strong and affirm his leadership, but should also refuse to argue or get into strife – and never resort to any threat, reproach, spite or physical force. What kind of leadership is it when it is imposed by force? Following that path can also open the door to the woman turning to the physically greater force of the state to gain the upper hand. Instead, stay with God, who is not seeking to impose his own authority over our lives by force, but rather seeks only our willing submission.

In practical terms, the husband should: Buy flowers, gifts and show kindness! He must always believe in the inner beauty God has placed within his wife, continually overlook shortcomings and never be discouraged or embittered by an outburst. He must take charge of every thought to the contrary in the Name of the Lord, and instead envision the work God is doing on the inside of his precious wife, that cannot be seen:

As our Lord said, “Only believe and you will see the glory of God“.