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New Covenant of Grace

And a Biblical Interpretation

of Power and Control

in Human Relationship

by Rev. Yenan Silen-Perez, PhD

Biblical Base
Since they are no longer two but one, let no one separate them. For God has joined them together Matthew 19:6 NLT
As the scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”
This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.
Ephesians 5:31,32 NLT

The story of men and women from a Biblical perspective began when, God created humanity (adam, Strong # 120), male and female, in God’s image and likeness. God creates the genders, a man and a woman in God’s image and likeness. God blessed them saying “be fruitful, multiply, subdue and rule over the waters, airs and the earth.” The underlying principles in here are.
Underlying Principles are:
  • Man and woman, both are created in the image and likeness of God.
  • They are both blessed to be fruitful, multiply, subdue and rule over the creation.

Not to be alone

God said: “it is not good for humans (adam, # 120) to be alone, I will manifest myself through them.” After God declares that it is not good for humans to be alone, God goes on and creates the animal kingdom. He then ask Adam the first male human to named the animals for Adam to acknowledge that the creatures that were presented to him, no one were his equal or counterpart. God, then, caused Adam to be in a trance and sleep, while He took, from the body that was representing humanity, as two persons in one, God’s female representation, the woman. God takes one being out (laqach # 3947) of the first adam (human race), and takes one rib from the first human male, Adam; to make the women with curves, bone and flesh, as a rib (# 6763). A rib will become the representation of a curvaceous body; today it would sound like saying, God created a woman with a body like a guitar.
After God separates Eve from adam (the representation of God’s humanity), God closed up (cagar # 5462) Adam’s flesh. This process is similar to the surgery that is performed on twins united by their stomach and chest. Now Adam exclaimed; “this person is just like me, created in the same substance that I am.” Adam, who was a male person, named his counterpart woman, because she was his female version.
The underlying principles are:
  • It is not good for human beings to be alone
  • Man and Woman need each other because they complement each other.
  • God creates the women from the same substance that Adam was made.
  • The rib is a symbolic representation of the female body
  • Adam recognized Eve as his female side

The Helper

God placed adam (humankind) in the Garden of Eden to work and care for it (Genesis 2:8, 15). After that God said: It is not good for humankind to be alone; I will make for him ( him was used due to language barriers) a helper, “ezer” (#5828). And suitable, “neged” (# 5048), which in the Hebrew word means: a front, counterpart, over against or before, or ‘before; in the presence of; in the sight of; in the front of; in one’s estimation; straight ahead.’ Basically the word indicates that its object is immediately ‘before’ something or someone” (Strong 179). The underlying principles in here are.
Underlying Principles are:
  • God created both man and woman to be a complement for each other
  • God expects that man and woman treat each other with favor, and kindness.

The mystery of marriage

God’s image and likeness is expressed through a man and a woman, who has been made from the same essence, but who will express themselves in accordance with God’s likeness in each one of them. Bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh is the statement that Adam made of Eve. That is why:
  1. …a man leaves his father and mother
  2. …and is united with his wife,
  3. …and they become one.
  4. The man and the woman were both naked,
  5. …but they were not embarrassed (Genesis 2:24-25).
The underlying principles are:
  • Adam recognizes Eve as his complement
  • A man leaves his parents family to unite his wife (physical intimacy)
  • Both are to expose themselves to each other, open their hearts (psychological intimacy)
  • Share their secrets and not be ashamed (emotional intimacy)
  • They are to join into one (spiritual intimacy)
God is Spirit (John 2:24). In a Christian marriage, there is no male or female because we are one in Christ. “So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free people, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 4:28)
The Christian Marriage is a covenant that is composed of God, husband and wife. God is the head or source of the marriage: that is, life that manifests as grace, mercy, forgiveness, justice, truth, peace and love. God fills husbands and wives with love for each other to become as one.
In a Christian marriage, husband and wife must manifest their calling, spiritual gifts, natural talents, and biological inclinations. “So we are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us” (Romans 12:6).
Underlying Principles are:
  • In the Christian marriage there is no male or female roles.
  • We have God’s likeness manifesting through our temperaments that are a genetic inheritance from our natural parents, and divinely designed by God, which will determine our talents, spiritual gifts, calling and purpose.
  • Personality; a rational mind, will, emotions
  • God gave us gifts as part of our equipment for our ministry in marriage
  • God shared in the marital relationship, God’s paternity and maternity
  • Father: life giver, provides security and significance
  • Mother: life giver, provides significance and security
  • The patriarchy gave us stereotype roles

Love and Sexuality

Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her and, likewise, the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but the husband does. Likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does (1 Corinthians 7:3-4). The underlying principles in here are.
Underlying Principles are:
  • The man’s body belongs to his wife
  • The wife’s body belongs to her husband
  • They are to provide for each other physical and emotional needs with consent

The Head

In the Hebrew culture, covering the head was a symbol of respect, honor and authority. However, the Greek word “kephale” or head can mean ruler, leader, source or origin, what does Paul try to say when he declares: “The head of every man (aner) is Christ, and the head of the woman (gune) is the man (aner), and the head of Christ is God (1 Corinthians 11:2). …In the Lord however, woman (gune) is not independent of man (aner) or man (aner) independent of woman (gune). For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God (1Cor.11: 11-12). Indeed, there was a well-planned selection of words by the Bible’s first male translators. Many scholars agree that for the Greek words “aner,” is more appropriate to translate as husband than man, and for the Greek noun “gune,” is more appropriate to translate as wife than woman; the contrary has been the influence of male domination through a patriarchal-hierarchic system.
The underlying principles in these verses are:
  • Christ is the source of life of every man and woman
  • In the same way the husband is the source of life of his wife
  • God is the source of Christ
  • In the Lord, a wife is not independent from her husband nor is husband independent from his wife, they are interdependent.
The connection of head and glory is to manifest God’s “doxa” or glory.
  • God manifest his glory through Christ
  • Christ manifests his glory through the husband for the husband to manifest Christ glory through his wife.
  • Doing what Jesus did, revealing God’s Love (1 Cor. 13).
The church institution, because of a distorted interpretation of God’s word, has promoted the extensive abuse of authority it supports worldwide based on the chauvinist, patriarchal and hierarchical interpretation of the Bible.
Wives submit yourselves to your husband as to the Lord. For the husband has authority over his wife just as Christ has authority over the church; and Christ is himself the Savior of the church his body. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
If there is a passage in the Bible that has been most abused is Ephesians 5:22-24. To understand these verses and free women from spiritual abuse, we need to clarify what Paul is saying. At the beginning of Ephesians chapter 5, Paul began declaring:

  • Be imitator of God v.1
  • Live a life of love as Christ loved us and gave himself for us v.2
  • It is not right that any manner of immorality, indecency or greed should be mentioned v.3
  • Nor language which is obscene, profane, or vulgar v.4
  • Be sure that no immoral, impure or greedy person has any inheritance in the kingdom of God v.5
  • Do not let anyone deceive you with foolish words v.6
  • Have nothing with these kind of people v.7
  • You are in the light. Live like people of the light v.8
  • For the light brings every kind of goodness, righteousness, and truth v.9
  • Do not get drunk but be filled with the Spirit v.18Speak one another with psalms, sacred songs to the Lord and praises in your heart v.19
  • Always give thanks to God for everything v.20
  • Submit yourselves to one another out of reverence for Christ v.21
  • To whom is Paul talking? Of course, he is talking to husbands and wives. After Paul identifies everything that is not OK in godly people, especially those in a marital relationship, he goes on to explain in detail what kind of behavior should be in a godly marriage.
  • Submit, give up, lay down your arms to one another v.21
  • Submit to your husband like you do to the Lord—which is voluntary and with love and gratitude, because He is good with you—v. 22
Paul is stating that we should submit to one another and he goes on further to explain that wives should submit to their husbands like to the Lord, which is voluntary and out of gratitude.

For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church v.23
The husband is the source of life, love and power of the wife as Christ is the source of life, love and power of the church. Christ delivers the church from darkness and brings life and freedom as a river of life. What Paul really meant was that husbands in a patriarchal and hierarchical system are the source of life and power for their wives to come out of oppression. For wives to be free and experience the abundant life in Christ on a male dominant society husbands need to be like Christ, to allow their wives to flourish; and this has been the constant message that Paul has expressed through all his letters.

  • As the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything v.24
Is Paul saying that wives should submit in everything? Yes, he does. However, this submission in everything is like the church. How is the church submitting to Christ? Again, the church comes near God, because God elected, predestinated, and called her through his love to come out of darkness and become part of his family into the light. Like the church means voluntarily, but Paul goes further, now he declares that wives’ submission should be in everything like the church. The church is composed of men and women that want to honor and obey God’s will for their lives because God loved them first.
Paul was explaining what kind of submission a husband should expect. He was saying something like this: “Like you, husband, submit to God because you want to honor and obey Him, though you do it only when you want to, and you are also God’s church, thus His wife” this is what Paul wanted to say in his analogy in verses 21 to 24.
Now Paul begins to deal with husbands at full extent when he exhorts them to:

  • Love your wives as Christ loved the church
  • And gave himself up for her v.25; which requires will, obedience and ultimately sacrifice.
  • To make her holy, cleansing her through the word v.26; which requires a conscious use of words and actions that will promote the wife to feel holy.
  • To present her to himself as a radiant wife, without stain or wrinkle or any blemish, but holy and blameless v.27; an attitude of love, respect thus honor towards one’s wife.
  • IN THE SAME WAY, husbands ought to love their wives
  • As their own bodies
  • He who loves his wife loves himself v.28; when you abuse your wife you are showing that you do not love yourself. In the same way, the wife is a reflection of a husband’s heart condition.
  • No one ever hated his own body but he:
  • Feeds and cares for it
  • Just as Christ does… v.29

I can only rejoice when I see the kind of husbands, thus, marriage that God wants for His daughters. God wants husbands to be like Christ. The relation of the head to the body is for a husband to be the source, which with unconditional love (agape) will bring life to his wife, because the wife live in a system that promotes and proclaims that women are of lower status and mere possessions of their husbands. A system that allows women to be killed, abused, raped and sold them as properties. God is saying that a husband that confesses to be His son must love his wife as Christ loves the church.
Christ loves the church and shows it by giving up His life. He died for His church. He died to His own rights. Christ renounced to His royal position and authority for love of His church (wife) and by doing it; He gained all authority, honor and praises. God is saying to His sons, through Paul, something like this: “I know that this world has given you control and power; however I want you to love your wife as Christ Jesus loved you. I want you to be a servant leader that will surely protect my daughter, nourish and care for her. You will see her as holy and will use your words to edify her as Christ has done with you. You will love her just as much as you love yourself.”
At the end of Ephesians chapter five Paul closes his argument saying:
  • Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself v.33a
  • Paul is pointing out his finger to the men in his church and, through these words, indicates how to improve their behavior.
  • The wife must respect her husband
When Paul urges the wife to respect her husband, he knows that is the language that men understand. But, he is also saying to wives; “now that you know what God wants for you in your marriage, and what God expects from your husband, do not go mad celebrating your freedom and position of honor, by disrespecting your husband’s social position, instead be wise and meek by respecting your husbands. Do not humiliate him and you will contribute to your own well-being.external image body_of_christ_1.jpgexternal image 04_bride_2.JPG