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Scriptural View Of Men

December, 2001

Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man? (Proverbs 20:6)


Faithful men are those who take heed to God's Word (e.g. Matthew 24:45-51; 25:21-23; Luke 12:42-48; 16:10-12; Revelation 17:14), and they are particularly rare in our days. Most men, particularly false Christian men, are lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, etc. (2 Timothy 3:1-5), and most men will go to hell (Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 13:24; 1 Peter 3:17-18); because "they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (2 Thessalonians 2:10).

But, those who heed God's word, are "like Mount Zion which cannot be moved, but abides forever" (Psalm 125:1). The righteous man "will hold to his way, and he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger" (Job 17:9). True godly men, are not cowards (Revelation 21:8), but stand fast in the faith (Hebrews 3:6), act like men (1 Corinthians 16:13 NAS), and are strong (Proverbs 24:5).

I. Godly Masculinity

The Lord expects men to act like men. God said to Job, "Now prepare yourself like a man" (Job 38:3; 40:7). The Lord commands in 1 Corinthians 16:13, "act like men" (NAS, Greek, andrizesthe, to conduct oneself in a manly way). Jesus made women for a specific purpose, and He made men for a specific purpose (1 Corinthians 11:7). When these God ordained sexes fulfill God's design, they do not perform the same function. Women are the glory of man (1 Corinthians 11:7). Men are the image and glory of God (1 Corinthians 11:7).

As the glory of man, when a woman fulfills her God given role in submission to men (see Scriptural View Of Women), she glorifies the man in her life (e.g. Proverbs 12:4; 31:23), and in this glorifies and pleases her Creator (1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Peter 3:4). As the image and glory of God, when a man fulfills his God given role (see below), he displays not only what God looks like (His image, Genesis 1:26-27; 5:1-3), but also His character as well (Colossians 3:9-10).

Moreover, when a man acts not like a man, he rebels against his Creator. For example, it is an abomination to God for a man to wear women's clothing (Deuteronomy 22:5). The Lord hates men who have sex with other men (Genesis 19:1-24; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Psalm 5:5). And, the Lord describes it as a shameful thing when women rule over men (Isaiah 3:12). Although, there may be a time and place to cry like a woman in labor (Isaiah 42:14; Ecclesiastes 3:1), nevertheless, God expects men to act like men.

This truth is so profound that cowards go to hell (Revelation 21:8), and so do the "soft" (1 Corinthians 6:9). The Greek word translated "homosexual" (NKJV, "effeminate" in KJV & NAS) in 1 Corinthians 6:9 is malakoi and literally means "soft." It is translated "soft" in the NKJV, KJV, and NAS in both remaining passages in the N. T. (Matthew 11:8 and Luke 7:25). Soft men go to hell! Those "light in the loafers" will not inherit the kingdom of God.

What is it to act like a man? The ungodly Philistines knew what it was.

Be strong and conduct yourselves like men, you Philistines, that you do not become servants of the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Conduct yourselves like men, and fight! (1 Samuel 4:9)

Here acting like a man (like men) is described as being strong and courageous. Is this part and parcel to acting like a man? Yes it is. David's departing words to Solomon well describe what it is to act like a godly man.

Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: "I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. And keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn;" (1 Kings 2:1-3)

How does David charge Solomon to "prove [himself] a man"? By being strong and taking heed to God's Word. This is similar to 1 John 2:14.

I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.

Paul told Timothy,

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1)

And he exhorted him,

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Godly masculinity is strength and courage, not cowardice and timidity. This strength does not originate in the flesh (although, it may very well display itself in the flesh, e.g. Hebrews 11:34), but rather this strength is in the spirit. As the Word says of John the Baptist,

So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel. (Luke 1:80)

John the Baptist was so strong in the spirit that when Jesus spoke of John He sarcastically said,

What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? (Matthew 11:7; see also Luke 7:24)

John was anything but a reed shaken by the wind! He was a man who lived in the barren Judean desert, wore camel's hair with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey for his sustenance (Matthew 3:4; Mark 1:6). John was one rugged man.

In fact, speaking of John, Jesus also sarcastically said,

But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. (Matthew 11:8)

Camel's hair is not exactly silk laden, nor is eating locusts and wild honey the practice of those who love pleasure (Luke 7:25). Imagine having to eat locusts and wild honey for your daily survival, and along with this, having to deal with the extreme hot and colds of the Judean wilderness. A typical man would most likely be downcast and burdened simply with the task of survival. But John, who is recorded as the greatest man ever born (Matthew 11:11), is not only not downcast, but finds strength to preach to the masses in the power of God. And, his message is no milk toast message. John cuts to the heart of the matter and calls it like it is.

Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." (Luke 3:7-9)

Some Jews accused John of being demon possessed (Matthew 11:18; Luke 7:33). But, the truth is, John gave "the multitudes that came out to be baptized" the hard core reality of the Word of God. John was no reed shaken by the wind.

Did John "turn the crowd off" by calling them a bunch of snakes? No, the people rightly responded with, "What shall we do then?" (Luke 3:10) In other words, "Since we are a bunch of snakes, what should we do?" Such a response exemplifies faith (Luke 7:29-30). Rejection of John's message would have simply been symptomatic of unbelief (John 8:47).

John was a godly man, strong in spirit, and he's a good example to follow. This doesn't mean we have to live in the desert and eat locusts to be godly men, but we do need to be strong in spirit, as our Lord was and is.

And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. (Luke 2:40)

Paul commanded the Ephesians to "be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" (Ephesians 6:10). No doubt, women can and should be strong in the Lord (Proverbs 31:10-31), but how is godly masculine strength displayed?

II. In Authority

In the beginning, the Lord gave man dominion over the earth.

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Genesis 1:28)

Some may argue that this authority over creation was given to "them," that is, male and female, and that it was not until the fall that the woman was placed under man's rule (Genesis 3:16). While it is true that God did give both the male and the female rule (dominion) over the earth, it is not true that Adam's authority over the woman did not exist until after the fall. Scripture declares that "Adam was formed first, then Eve" (1 Timothy 2:13; see also 1 Corinthians 11:3). The order of creation established the order of authority between male and female, and this was before the fall, and before the above command (Genesis 1:28).

Moreover, some may argue that man's dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:28) was lost via the fall (Genesis 3:1-19). Scripture says no such thing, but rather confirms this supremacy long after the fall.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen - even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas. (Psalm 8:3-8)

The Lord has given man dominion over this earth, and he is responsible before God for all that he does (Proverbs 5:21) and any consequences of his actions (Revelation 11:18).

Furthermore, in this sovereignty is the rule over men as well.

The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men. (Daniel 4:17)

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. (Romans 13:1)

What does this dominion and authority have to do with godly masculinity? Whether it be in some rule over animals, men, or any aspect of authority in creation, men should act like men, be strong, and work righteousness and justice in the earth.

He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

A righteous man regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. (Proverbs 12:10)

The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me: "He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God." (2 Samuel 23:3)

Working justice and righteousness is what it is to know God. As the Lord said to Shallum the son of Josiah, king of Judah,

"Did not your father eat and drink, and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Was not this knowing Me?" says the Lord. (Jeremiah 22:15-16)

III. In The Home

A man has God given responsibility (1 Timothy 5:8) and authority in his home. This is evident in the wording of 1 Timothy 3:4-5 & 12.

. . . one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?) (1 Timothy 3:4-5)

ruling their children and their own houses well. (1 Timothy 3:12)

Both bishops (overseers, pastors, 1 Peter 5:2) and deacons (literally servants) are required to rule their houses well. They are to be examples to the flock in how all men should rule their homes (1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Peter 5:3). They are to have their children in submission with all reverence, and even their wives "must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, [and] faithful in all things" (1 Timothy 3:11). How could a man have such control over his household? Such command comes by being strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might (Ephesians 6:10).

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge. (Proverbs 14:26)

Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord. (Psalm 128:1-4)

When a man fears the Lord, he has the wisdom of God to rule his house well (Job 28:28), and as he exercises godly authority in his home, the Lord will bless his work (Psalm 128).

IV. With The Wife

A man not only has the responsibility to provide for his family (1 Timothy 5:8), to bring up his children in the training and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4; see also Deuteronomy 6:4-9) and be strong in this and not leave a child to his own destructive ways (Proverbs 19:18), but he is also accountable before God in how he deals with his wife.

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)

Psalm 66:18 says, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear." It is indeed iniquity to deal with one's wife without understanding. So, what is to be understood? Understand that the wife is the weaker vessel (1 Peter 3:7), and that she is under a curse that particularly effects the marriage relationship (Genesis 3:16, see Scriptural View Of Women); and with this in mind, remember Proverbs 14:29 & 17:27.

He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly. (Proverbs 14:29)

He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. (Proverbs 17:27; see also Proverbs 18:2; James 1:19-22)

A man who has understanding, a man who lives with his wife in an understanding way, is a man who is slow to wrath (Proverbs 14:29) and is calm (Proverbs 17:27). "A man of understanding walks uprightly" (Proverbs 15:21), and it is upright to deal gently with one's wife (Galatians 5:23).

Moreover, "the heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge" (Proverbs 15:14), and,

Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. (Proverbs 20:5)

A godly man will seek to intimately know (1 Corinthians 7:3; Ephesians 5:28) and understand his wife and to draw out of her the deep counsels of her heart, so that he might deal with her in an understanding way, and in this, wash her with the pure water of the word (Ephesians 5:26; Proverbs 10:13a).

In this gentle understanding, a husband submits himself in love to his wife (Ephesians 5:21, 25), not in exchange of authority, or cowing down to her fleshly whims and desires (Romans 8:5), but in the strength of the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:16), he leads her into godliness and righteous living (Ephesians 5:23, 25-29) as he gives her the affection due (Proverbs 5:18-19; 1 Corinthians 7:3). He is to "likewise" (1 Peter 3:7) submit himself to her, even to the point of suffering if she is physically abusive, for that is the context of the "likewise."

1 Peter 2:18-21 tells slaves to submit, even in the case of being beaten (1 Peter 2:20). Then 1 Peter 3:1 tells wives to submit in like manner. Then He tells the husbands to live "likewise." If a man were to have such an abusive wife, he could live out Jesus' words in Matthew 5:39.

But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. (Matthew 5:39)

It takes a strong man to live this out!

V. In The Church

Not only has the Lord placed women in submission to men (1 Timothy 2:11-14), but there are certain men whom God has given "rule" in the church as well. As the writer of Hebrews wrote in Hebrews 13:24, "Greet all those who rule over you," and in Hebrews 13:7,

Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.

These men who rule are to be obeyed by the rest of those who follow Christ.

Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:17)

Also, 1 Timothy 5:17 says,

Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. (1 Timothy 5:17)

Elders (pastors, overseers, 1 Peter 5:2) who rule well are those who hold fast the faithful word (Titus 1:9), rightly divide Scripture (2 Timothy 2:15), exhort and convict those who contradict (Titus 1:9), are not quarrelsome but patient (2 Timothy 2:24), yet rebuke sharply when needed (Titus 1:13), and contend for the faith (literally "fight," Jude 3; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Such men are to be held in high esteem.

And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)

Whether a man rules well in the church, in his home, or in some other realm of God's creation, if he acts like a man (1 Corinthians 16:13) and is strong in the Lord (Ephesians 6:10), he will find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.

My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man. (Proverbs 3:1-4)

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