In Christ, Both Men and Women are Sons
Galatians 3:25-29 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, (26) for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. (27) For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (29) And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
As I understand it, in biblical culture, the sons were the heirs of the father’s estate. The firstborn son got a double portion of that inheritance, right? According to Numbers 27, the estate of a man with only daughters was to go to the daughters. I suspect that this passage acts as a precursor of the New Testament verses quoted just above.
Numbers 27:1-7 Then drew near the daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, from the clans of Manasseh the son of Joseph. The names of his daughters were: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. (2) And they stood before Moses and before Eleazar the priest and before the chiefs and all the congregation, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, saying, (3) “Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against the LORD in the company of Korah, but died for his own sin. And he had no sons. (4) Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he had no son? Give to us a possession among our father’s brothers.” (5) Moses brought their case before the LORD. (6) And the LORD said to Moses, (7) “The daughters of Zelophehad are right. You shall give them possession of an inheritance among their father’s brothers and transfer the inheritance of their father to them.
All of this is to say simply that pastors and elders and all Christians need to recognize that when a person is in Christ, he or she, Jew or Gentile, slave or freeman, has become a son of God. An heir of everything that Christ is to inherit. In other words, a heir of everything. Peter reminds Christian men that they are to remember this when they relate to their wives. Women are full sons of God in Christ and thus have full inheritance rights right just as men do. This doesn’t mean that right now there is no distinction between men and women. I hope not! Men are males and women are females. Moms and Dads. But it does mean that in Christ no one is inferior.
Notice that Peter warns husbands that if they fail to heed this instruction and treat their wives wrongly, then they can expect their prayers to be hindered. Is it not logical that if a church treats its women members unjustly, as some kind of inferior beings, then that church’s ministry and prayers will be hindered? I don’t know why not.
So, if the norm today in our churches is that abuse victims, who are almost always women, are being mis-treated, should we wonder that the Lord is not hearing our prayers? There are huge denominations afoot in the United States with many tens of thousands of members. Why aren’t we making on impact on this nation? Why does evil always seem to triumph? We can write some of it off to the fact that the world hates Christ and hates Christ’s people. But perhaps we just ought to take a closer look at ourselves and see if there might be anything within our own ranks that is preventing our prayers from rising above the ceiling.
I suggest we begin by taking heed in respect to how we are serving up a bitter pill to victims of abuse and protecting the evil man.
Maybe the problem will turn out to be less about those no-good liberals and more about cups that are clean on the outside yet full of corruption on the inside.