T. PIERCE BROWN
Some time ago when my wife, Tomijo and I were celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary in our new house, several persons said something like, “You have a nice home.” I was not simply being a smart aleck when I replied, “Thank you. I think the house is nice too.” We had a home long before we had a house! I might live in a nice house without her, but I can not conceive of having a nice home without her. That leads me to the starting point of this article.
When we speak of “the home” we are talking about something slightly different from “a home.” We are speaking of an institution ordained of God — the family unit that is to function in accordance to God’s laws. “A home” is a specific family unit — an objective reality, perhaps the Browns, Smiths, or Jones. “The home” is an abstraction from which we gain an insight into what “a home” should be like.
When God had created Adam and saw that it was not good for him to dwell alone, He created woman as a help “meet” for him. This simply means a helper, suitable for him. We may call her a “helpmeet” or a “helpmate,” but if so, we hide the real meaning of what God meant. The one “suitable” was not just another being — a mate — that could help, but a female who was suitable for him. “Homo” was created sexual, but he was not therefore created homosexual. Nothing but a female Homo sapiens was “meet” (suitable) for him!
Then that family unit was not complete as God meant for it to be until they obeyed His command, “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” (Gen. 1:28). I do not mean to imply that single persons, or married persons with no children are thereby second-class citizens or displeasing to God. We are simply talking about the home as God planned it. God closed and opened the wombs (Gen. 20:18, 29:31). Psalms 127:3-5 says, “Lo, sons are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth. Happy (blessed) is the man who has his quiver full of them.” It is unfortunate the idea developed that if the womb was NOT opened, and the “quiver” was not full of sons, the family was cursed instead of blessed.
That does not follow, but we are talking today about the home as consisting of husband, wife and children. For that unit to be like God would have it, there needs to be several factors.
First (in regard to both time and priority) there needs to be obedience to Eph. 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.” This love is not “erao” — an emotion or sexual attraction, as good and marvelous as that is. It is “agape” — a choice of will. It is a command that can be obeyed by choice. A husband can love his wife AS Christ loved the church, even if he loses his sexual urges. This is not “as much as,” but “with the same kind of love as.”
Second, Eph. 5:22, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” is necessary. This, of course, has nothing to do with inferiority or inequality. It has to do with God’s ordained order for a properly functioning society. We are persuaded that any sensible wife even is she had not yet learned to be a Christian, would be happy to “submit” to a husband who loved her AS Christ loved the church. That is, his constant desire and overriding motive was to do what was best for her happiness and welfare.
Third, Ephesians 6:1-3 is a constant need. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” A proper exegesis and commentary on this passage alone would more than fill an article. The three reasons suggested here for children to do that are only a few of the many reasons for the value of this. “It is right” and “that it may be well with thee” are only two general statements under which many specific aspects of “being well with thee” could be listed. To live long is one. To be respected and respectable, to be useful and productive, to be happy and strong, to be loved and wanted are all by-products of being obedient to parents.
Fourth, Ephesians 6:4, “And ye, fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” is a fitting climax to a short listing of things that would make the home the kind that God approves. When husbands and wives cultivate the proper love and respect for each other, the children are trained to obey their parents in the Lord and honor them properly, and the parents bring them up — that is, TRAIN THEM — in the proper respect and obedience to the Lord, not only will we have THE HOME AS GOD WOULD HAVE IT, if this were a common and widespread practice, we would have a nation that was powerful, influential and invincible! Indeed, it would be ONE NATION UNDER GOD!