“Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.”
Be subject is the Greek word “hupotasso,” which is a military term meaning to rank under or to place yourself under authority.Placing yourself in rank under the authority of your husband is a matter of function not superiority. It does not mean that a wife is to be a slave to her husband. When God brought Eve to Adam He brought her as Adam’s help mate (function).When the wife properly submits to the leadership of her husband she is aligning herself with God’s protocol plan. Notice that husbands are told to love their wives, but it does not say that wives are to love their husbands. The proper marital relationship brings both marriage partners the freedom to be the person that God wants them to be. (Ephesians 5:21-25; I Peter 3:1-9)
The foundation for the family is the husband’s love for his wife. Without this mental attitude of love he can expect no response from his wife. When a man invests nothing in his marriage, he will receive nothing in return. The woman was made for the man and is a glory to him. (I Corinthians 11:7-9) The husband’s responsibility to the family does not end with being the bread-winner, which is just a small part of the responsibility in marriage. The husband should initiate a mental attitude of love expressing itself in conversation, behavior pattern and their physical relationship. The husband should always have time for his wife and family.
The wife needs a sense of security which comes from knowing that her husband makes good decisions and has good judgment; this develops respect, which is the highest form of love. Marriage does not give the man the right to be a bully or a brute, nor does it give the woman the right to spend a lifetime trying to straighten out her husband and mold him into the image of her own idealism. The man must not destroy the woman’s responder (that part of her soul that responds to her husband). A woman must have the freedom to respond to her husband’s love by using her own volition. There must be a desire, which begins with the freedom to respond. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church. And it is the husband’s responsibility to make the marriage a success.
Embittered means to become irritated to the point of bitterness. Bitterness is a mental attitude sin that leads to the contamination of all those in their periphery. The analogy the writer of Hebrews used was a custom used in Biblical times of the chamber pot being thrown over the side of the roof onto a passerby. It is impossible to have a happy, Christ-honoring home when a husband is bitter toward his wife or the wife toward her husband.
“Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.”
Parents have the responsibility to train their children and orient them to the functions and principles of life. The parents are not only responsible for food, shelter and clothing but they are also responsible for training as well. The training of children must include basic principles of authority. Respect for authority, for the privacy of others, for the property of others respect for law and order, respect for your country and instruction in the Laws of Divine Establishment are basic concepts of life. Add to this the responsibility of Christian parents to share the Gospel message with their own children. In addition to that parents are to provide doctrinal teaching, and good common sense from doctrine. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9; 7:9) Children must be oriented to the local church and they must be taught to recognize the authority of the pastor-teacher. (Hebrews 13:7,17)
Parental authority must be used carefully. The Greek word for exasperate is “erethizo,” which means to provoke, to irritate, to embitter, or to antagonize. In this context where parents are guilty of abuse of their authority in this way it means to make a big deal about inconsequential things to the point of irritating children. A second area is to exasperate your children by poor judgment and unfairness. One thing about children is that they can pick up unfairness in a hurry. A third area is to provoke or embitter by expecting your children to act and think like an adult, setting up standards which push them way ahead of their time, and depriving them in effect of their childhood.
Children did not select their parents! Good discipline does not make children despondent. It is poorly administered discipline which causes the discouragement and the despondency which is the meaning of lose heart. Parental authority is designed to train and bless; it is designed to improve. It is not designed to discourage or destroy. The abuse of authority pays dividends in misery, suffering, and loss of tranquility.
“Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.”
By application, “slaves obeying their masters” refers to believers living in the Church Age who work for someone else. Not with external service means only while being watched or hypocritical type working. Merely please men means desirous of pleasing other people at the sacrifice of principle, striving to please or to gain favor. In other words, every believer must do his job as unto the Lord not to just please your boss. The believer’s job, duty or work is not only his means of livelihood but is a part of the function of the Royal Priesthood. A believer must do the job to please the Lord and not people, and this means both respect for authority on the job and doing the job well whether supervised or not. Sincerity of heart means with integrity. Fearing the Lord means respecting God and His principles. Respect for the Lord will cause a believer to do a good job.
Heartily as for the Lord means to do your work on the basis of the divine integrity from Bible doctrine in your soul. It does not mean to ignore the authority for you supervisor. It is simply a contrast between being a people-pleaser and pleasing God. Motivation for this type of attitude and work ethic comes from your love for God and your desire to glorify Him. In other words, you base your motivation on the fact that reward from God is a greater motivator than reward from a human being. When you are properly serving the Lord in the workplace by being a good testimony, you are fulfilling your role as a Royal Ambassador of Christ. Therefore a believer should do his job with the same vigor and enthusiasm as he would with any phase of Christian service.
The ultimate in Christian service is related to invisible impact. Invisible impact depends entirely upon spiritual growth. The greatest service you render to the Lord is invisible service, and it depends on the filling of the Holy Spirit, metabolization and application of doctrine, and personal love for God as the motivation. The most important part of Christian service is consistent perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine. When you listen to the teaching of Bible doctrine, you are preparing for the most important Christian service you can render as a believer.
Spiritual skills must precede production skills in the performance of divine good. Spiritual skills plus production skills equals the performance of divine good. Production skills minus spiritual skills equal the performance of dead works. Therefore, it is imperative under the protocol plan of God that before a believer gets too heavily involved in Christian service he or she must grow spiritually. This spiritual growth and momentum comes only from the cognition of Bible doctrine, not from good deeds and “Christian service.”
The effectiveness of Christian service is based on the attainment of spiritual self-esteem and the advance to occupation with Christ. The priority for invisible impact is the understanding of Bible doctrine with emphasis on the inculcation of the mystery doctrine for the Church. If you are ever going to have maximum production of divine good you must start by learning doctrine. Once you have your number one priority correct, you must now concentrate on the study of doctrine. Then you must organize your life around continuing the consistent intake of doctrine, so that you are not distracted by those who say you need to be “doing something.” Then you must organize your thinking about what is the most important thing in life, so that you are not distracted. Now you have momentum from your consistent intake of doctrine. Eventually you reach spiritual adulthood and have executed the protocol plan of God. Now you are in a position to have maximum production in life and glorification of God. Maximum production comes in two categories: 1) Visible production of divine good 2) Invisible impact of the invisible hero, in which he has an impact on history and an impact on the Angelic Conflict.
The biggest part of Christian service and the greatest deeds in all of human history are performed by those believers having invisible impact on history and on angels. The greatest production of the Christian life is invisible, and it is related directly to Bible doctrine. Invisible impact can occur only through the execution of the unique spiritual life of the Church Age. The execution of the unique spiritual life demands cognition and inculcation of Bible doctrine. This does not diminish the importance of visible Christian service categories, but it is important to learn that invisible impact belongs to the mature believer, the winner, the invisible hero, who executes the unique spiritual life.
For he who does wrong refers to a believer in reversionism. If you stay out of fellowship for any period of time, if you neglect Bible doctrine, if you are in reversionism, you are going to be a lousy employee. But that isn’t all. You are going to be disciplined on the job. Will receive the consequences for the wrong which he has done gathers up into one entirety all the mental attitudes sins, all the gossip, all of the insubordination, all of the deliberate wrong things that have been done on the job. The reason they have been done wrong is because of a bad mental attitude. In other words, a believer’s involvement in the business world has spiritual ramifications, good or bad. For those who enter into reversionism on the job they will receive both divine discipline and self-induced misery. A mature believer should be the best employee within the company!
“Masters, grant your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in Heaven.”
And if you are in a position of authority as a manager or supervisor at your company, you are to treat those who you supervise with the same respect and integrity that God does you. Justice and fairness are the proper ways to deal with anyone under your supervision, without partiality, as God does us. It takes a great deal of wisdom to properly supervise others in the workplace. And there is no greater wisdom than spiritual wisdom. Spiritual wisdom is the proper application of Bible doctrine. So, not only should a mature believer be the best employee on the job, he should also be the best supervisor!