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Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries


The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 05/06/07
What it means to be initiated into the secret of the mystery. Part 58.
The mystery of Christian Marriage. Part 3.

We have been noting the three witnesses in the angelic conflict and the mystery dispensation of the Church-age. First, there is the star witness, the Lord Jesus Christ who is called the faithful and true witness (REV 3:14). Secondly, there are individual witnesses, born-again believers who fulfill the spiritual life and glorify God (ACT 1:8). Thirdly, there's the corporate witness of Christian marriage where two believers, a man and a woman, fulfill the three laws of marriage. The first law is the husband's love for the wife (EPH 5:25). The second law is the respect of the woman towards the man (EPH 5:22). The third law is forgiveness always working between the husband and the wife (EPH 4:32). We have spent time on the first law of unconditional love, the second law regarding respect for authority, and this has led us to look at the doctrine of authority. Although there is an entire system of authority, we will focus on how authority relates to our subject of marriage.

We begin with two principles: the first is the principle of personal love and intimidation. Personal love in marriage depends upon impersonal love as a problem-solving device. There can be no capacity for personal love when one is intimidated. Intimidation in marriage eliminates capacity for love and instead substitutes fear, which introduces emotional and irrational sins that complicate the marital relationship. Another problem in marriage occurs when a woman rejects the authority of her husband. This causes her to enter the three stages of Christian degeneracy. 1CO 11:8-9 says, “For the man does not originate from the woman, but the woman from the man; for indeed, the man was not created for the woman, but the woman was created for the man.” When the woman is a blessing to the man, the woman gets the greater happiness. Marriage is a test for your spiritual life, and it can be a problem-manufacturing device which demands the best from every believer. This is why the apostle Paul says in 1CO 7:32-33, “But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,

All human relationships emphasize the importance of priority being given to God by consistent inculcation of Bible doctrine. However, no relationship is more dramatic than the relationship between the man and woman in marriage, or the relationship between parents and children. The status of marriage will determine what you really depend on in life. To depend on Bible doctrine means ultimate (not immediate) success. To depend on the advice of others means confusion, misdirection, and ultimate failure. Success or failure in marriage is a reflection of your spiritual life.

Marriages fail for one of two main reasons: First, there is the problem of getting married in the attraction stage of romance. Secondly, the problem created by never growing up in marriage, never attaining the stages of compatibility or rapport. In romance and marriage there are two things that need to be learned. First, for both unbelievers and believers there are the laws of divine establishment. Then for believers only, there is Bible doctrine from which virtue and the problem-solving devices are extrapolated. The man is the authority in marriage, but he must be able to be a responder in sex. The woman is obedient to the man in marriage, but she can become aggressive in sex. Both are designed for aggressiveness and response in sex; this is how sexual rhythm is created. In romance there is always the possibility of violating the principle of no premarital sex, which can cause those involved to lean on emotions to the point where they often become irrational. Intimacy in the attraction stage destroys a relationship; in romance and marriage, God designed compatibility to come first. This means to explore how a person thinks, discover who and what they really are, discover the dark side as well as the bright side of the other. Intimacy destroys attraction when it precedes compatibility.

Active virtue is the function of impersonal love toward all. 1JO 4:10-11, “In this is virtue-love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another.” Mandates for impersonal love can be given without mentioning the word love, EPH 4:31-32 “All bitterness, both anger and wrath, both quarreling and slander, must be removed along with all malice. But become kind toward one another and forgive each other, just as God also by means of Christ has forgiven you.” Active virtue by husbands is mandated in EPH 5:25Husbands, love your wives [impersonal love] just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself as a substitute for her.” Obedience is active virtue when the wife obeys EPH 5:22 “Wives, be subordinating yourselves to your very own husbands as to the Lord.” The Lord must have number one priority in your life. COL 3:18“Wives, be subordinate to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord.” God did not design a system where the man is to be a bully.

Active arrogance is Christian degeneracy where the subject produces the problems and sins. This arrogance includes mental attitude sins and all emotional sins. Passive arrogance is where the subject is acted upon by something or someone else, including arrogant subjectivity, guilt, self-pity, unrealistic expectation, role-model arrogance, and succumbing to the temptations of the old sin nature. In passive virtue, the believer is acted upon by God the Holy Spirit to understand Bible doctrine and to function under grace. The subject receives love, respect, and honor from the execution of the PPOG. The subject responds to Bible teaching with perception and metabolization which, when applied, results in spiritual momentum. In passive arrogance, we are acted on by the old sin nature, by guilt, by others who dislike or hate us, or by a bullying husband or a nagging wife. In passive arrogance, the man depends on the praise and approbation of others to bolster his ego, and when cut off, the believer in passive arrogance is deflated, discouraged, despondent, depressed. In passive arrogance the old sin nature acts on you and results in Christian degeneracy, implosion, explosion, and reversion.

The Doctrine of Authority. Point 1. Authority and human volition.

            Authority is defined as the power to command, to judge, or to act. The terms authority or authorities, applies to persons having legal power to make and enforce the law, policy, or decisions. Authority is also an accepted source of information, as in the case of the authority of the pastor-teacher to provide doctrinal or theological information from the scripture. Under the laws of divine establishment, authority is defined as that legal power, delegated by God, whereby certain persons have jurisdiction and responsibility for others. All authority in life is either legitimate or illegitimate. Legitimate authority is established according to scripture, for example the laws of the land, or in accordance with established rules, principles, or standards. God has delegated legitimate authority in two categories: 1) The temporal realm--the laws of divine establishment. Here there are four basic concepts of establishment freedom. a) Freedom, the right of self-determination from human volition apart from violation of law or authority. b) Privacy, the right to hold opinions, make decisions, and engage in actions which do not interfere with the rights of others. c) The sacredness of property and life. d) Enforcement of law, which is the guardian of freedom, privacy, property, and life. 2) The spiritual realm--under the spiritual laws for the function of a particular dispensation. Spiritual freedom is the function of the believer while filled with the Holy Spirit inside the PPOG. JOH 8:32 “you shall know the truth [Bible doctrine], and the truth shall make you free [spiritually].” PSA 119:45 “I will walk in freedom; for I seek your doctrines.” GAL 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set you free.  Keep standing fast, and do not become entangled again in the yoke of slavery[living in the cosmic system].”

Illegitimate authority is illegal, unlawful authority, generally established by unlawful or illegal force. It is the attainment of power without the lawful right to possess that power. This type of authority is established by Satan through the function of the cosmic system. It is evident in the rise of dictators and tyranny throughout history. Illegitimate authority is delegated by Satan as the ruler of this world in these categories: Tyranny, false doctrine, and power struggles. However, whether authority is right or not is not the issue. All authority is given by God, ROM 13:1-7, “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil. Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”

Point 2. Realms of Authority. God has delegated authority through his mandates in both the O.T. and the New. DEU 11:26-27, “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today;” Notice that there is blessing for respecting and listening to the voice of authority. 1SA 15:22-23, And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.”

            God has authority over nature, and nature obeys God. MAT 8:27 and the men marveled, saying, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” LUK 8:25 And they were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”

Angels are subject to divine authority, MAR 1:27 And they were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” 1PE 3:22Who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.”

The pastor-teacher and church officers have authority over the congregation in the local church, 1CO 16:15-16, “Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints), that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors.” 2CO 10:8 “For even if I should boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I shall not be put to shame,” 1TH 5:12 “But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction,” HEB 13:7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.

Government has authority over its people to protect their freedom, property, and life, 1TI 2:1-2, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”

The husband has authority over the wife. This authority provides great happiness in category two love (EPH 5:22; COL 3:18). Parents have authority over children, EPH 6:1-3, Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.

Teachers have authority over students.

Coaches have authority over athletes.

Management has authority over labor.

Authority in business stabilizes the economy (EPH 6:5; COL 3:22).

Freedom through military victory is based on the principle of the authority of military rank (NEH 4:13-15).

Law enforcement over citizens (ROM 13:1-7).

Freedom and authority must coexist; you cannot have freedom without authority. Freedom without authority is chaos, and authority without freedom is enslavement. Freedom also includes the right of privacy, the right of self-determination, the right to hold your own opinions, and the sacredness of property and life. Establishment freedom is the heritage of physical birth. It is inevitable that arrogance will challenge any legitimate system of authority. Then tyranny results, and of course this is satanic in nature. For Satan as the ruler of this world constantly seeks to do everything possible to overthrow the divinely-delegated authority that brings freedom and blessing to individuals and nations. The one thing in life that makes it possible for people to have blessing, freedom, privacy, and happiness in life is authority, and that includes authority in marriage. When man was first created by God, authority was the great issue. In other words, authority is the key to everything in life, authority is your friend.

Authority has been an issue since the beginning of the human race; as mentioned, the fall was rejection of authority. The woman rejected the authority of God and Bible doctrine and accepted the authority of Satan. She also rejected the authority of her right man, 1TI 2:11-15, “Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression. But women shall be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.”  When the man accepted the authority of the woman he threw his delegated authority away. Authority has been delegated by God to four divine institutions: 1) Self-determination is the authority of your own soul with emphasis on your volition. With freedom to make decisions comes responsibility. 2) Marriage is the authority of the husband over the wife, EPH 5:22; COL 3:18. 3) Family is the authority of the parents over the children, EPH 6:1-3; COL 3:20. 4) Nationalism is the authority of government over the citizens of that nation.

There are five categories of human freedom: 1) The function of the soul with emphasis on thought, motive, and decision. 2) The existence of privacy as the environment for freedom and self-determination. 3) The right to possess property; to enjoy, benefit, or make profit from things acquired. 4) Authority--the power delegated by God to command, to train, to teach, or to act as an agent for a principle. 5) Human life--man must possess human life to exercise his rights and functions under the concept of freedom. There are two attitudes toward legitimate authority: Response--which is acceptance of authority delegated by God. Reaction--which is rejection of authority delegated by God.

Point 3. Greek words for authority.

The Greek word hupakouo means to obey, to be subject to, ROM 6:16Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone {as} slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey,” (MAT 8:27; LUK 8:25). The Greek word hupakouo means to obey in the sense of being subject or under the control of someone else. The Greek wordhupotasso means to be subordinate to something or someone. 1CO 14:32 And the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; EPH 5:22Wives, {be subject} to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” So hupotasso has the connotation of voluntary submissiveness. The Greek word peitho means to obey (GAL 5:7; HEB 13:17; JAM 3:3; GAL 5:7). Peitho has the undertone of obedience. The Greek word peitharcheo means to obey rulers (TIT 3:1). The Greek word kuriotes means authority (JUD 1:8).

Response to authority is a function of human volition. It is something that we either choose to do or not to do. Then there is the function of authority, which is also a matter of personal volition. The principle is the fact that human freedom provides the option of accepting or rejecting authority in life, both legitimate and illegitimate. While God has delegated legitimate authority in life, these authorities are useless if human volition does not accept them. Rejection of authority causes people to degenerate, either morally or immorally. For example, the wife who rejects the authority of her husband becomes uncontrollable in society. However, the biggest mistake people make is the rejection of the authority of their parents. Your attitude toward their authority determines whether you ever grow. The rejection of the authority of legitimate government is also destructive. The rejection of the authority of teachers and coaches is very detrimental. Rejection of all authority means you have the potential of becoming a criminal. Rejection of authority does carry responsibility, and results in a life of misery, unhappiness, disaster, and no human or spiritual self-esteem. Therefore, while God has delegated authority in life to such legitimate categories as government, husbands, parents, teachers, coaches, public officers, judges, and management, this authority is useless apart from human consent. You can be bullied into accepting authority, but it does no good in the long run. What makes authority work is human consent, where rational human beings understand the importance of the principle of authority, regardless of whether they like the personality or not. The biggest thing that keeps you from growing up is your rejection of authority, your lack of consent to submit to necessary authority. Every person is a product of their own decisions. Good decisions from a position of strength accept authority and develop capacity for life. You must understand that cursing or blessing all depends on what type of authority you choose to put yourself under.

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