GRACE NOTES- PASTORAL LETTER 3.14.24

onthly memory verse: “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4-5).
Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,
It was a blessing and a delight to worship with you this past Lord’s Day as we opened to Revelation in the morning and 1 Samuel in the evening.  I have been praying for our congregation in the time since, from the youngest to the oldest, asking the Lord to fashion us into godly men and women who reflect the beauty of God’s purpose as we continue to grow in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness – displaying the goodness of His original design and the power of His renewing grace.  Of course, part of the first part of that last sentence – “godly men and women” – is itself increasingly seen as offensive in a culture that denies not only the functional, but even the ontological difference between men and women.  Yet, the Word of God couldn’t be clearer, and we must not hesitate to declare and live out the reality, that men and women are quite different, and that this is a good thing – indeed, as the Lord Himself said upon finishing His creative work, a “very good” thing (Gen 1:31).
God created man first and gave him a distinct nature and call to serve as the Head of his household and, by extension, over the larger societal structures that would naturally develop.  Thus, we’re told that the man is the head of his wife, just as Christ is the head of the church (cf. Eph 5:23).  The godly man is to well mange, or lead with authority, his household (cf. 1 Tim 3:4-5).  Men are to work hard with their hands to cultivate the world for God’s glory, and to supply for their families – a creational gift that is made more difficult by the fall, but not resulting from or eliminated by it, nor altered but rather restored and perfected by the grace of God in Christ (cf. Gen 3:17-19; 1 Tim 5:8).  Men are not to be soft, or effeminate, but to act like men, gaining and providing for those under their care by their strength (cf. 1 Cor 6:9; Prov 11:16).  When called to it, they are to lead the church and rule in the civil sphere (cf. 1 Tim 3:1-7; Isa 3:12).  They are to do this with love, but never to confuse love with unwillingness to address wickedness (cf. Eph 5:25; 6:4; 1 Pet 3:7; Prov 13:24; Prov 17:15).  In short, they are to act like men (1 Cor 6:9).  When godly men do so, families and cultures flourish, and the Lord is glorified in it.  It is God’s good design for men.
God created woman second and gave her a distinct nature and provide man with companionship and help him his call to take dominion by supporting and obeying him.  Thus, we’re told right from the start that woman was created to be, “a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:20).  The godly woman is to submit to her father and then her husband (cf. Eph 5:22, 24; Col 3:18; 1 Pet 3:5-6).  She is to attain honor by her gracious spirit, adoring herself with the precious and imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit (cf. 1 Pet 3:5-6).  She is to seek to marry when possible, to have children, to work at home, to direct the affairs of the household under her husband’s authority, and help to care for other women who do not have husbands (cf. 1 Tim 3:14-16; 1 Tim 2:5).  She is to be content to labor at home, and to uphold rather than try to usurp her husband’s authority (cf. Prov 7:11; Gen 3:16).  She is to help train and raise her children to know and love the Lord, so gaining great esteem for herself (cf. 1 Tim 2:15).  Older women are to use their valuable experience and wisdom to help younger women learn how to do this well (cf. 1 Tim 2:4-5).  Women are not to try to be men, or to be like men, but to adorn themselves with the beauty of humility – which is to say, they are to act like women.  When godly women do so, joyful and comfortable homes are established, a culture’s men are greatly supported and strengthened as they lead and rule, and new generations are raised up to form godly households of their own, promoting the flourishing of all society, by which our God and Savior is magnified.  It is God’s good design for women.
All of this, as I’ve noted and as you undoubtedly are well aware, is anathema in our culture, which has for many generations crumbled due to the rot of unbiblical ideologies, beginning with the tearing down of the male-female distinction, which is nothing other than a striking at the foundation of all blessedness, which is the Word of God.  This means that aligning our thinking with the Lord’s thinking on such matters is a herculean effort – requiring us to strip away the fabric of false thoughts long woven into us, and the fashioning of new and beautiful patterns by the continual renewing of our minds.  It means painstakingly insisting on asking not, “What have I always assume or been told?” or, “What does everyone around me think about these issues?” but, “What has God said in Scripture?”  It requires a steadfast determination to believe that, in spite of all the frantic shouting and signaling to the contrary, God’s way is better by far, and that it if this is going to be made evident in the world then it is going to have to begin with some major, counter-cultural shifts in our own minds, hearts, and homes, which, when enough of us begin to really believe and live-out, will serve as leaven to transform and revive the world around us.  I am aware that this may seem like an uphill climb – or perhaps, more like a climb up the face of a slippery rock-faced life – given the current state of things, but the Lord is on our side.  Those who build their lives upon the unshifting rock of His Word are promised His help and blessing, that He might be shown wonderful as His wisdom and goodness is manifested in and through us.  Which means, not only is it desirable, but, God helping, it is possible.
Praise the Lord for godly men.  Praise the Lord for godly women.  Praise the Lord for His abundant kindness in plainly showing us how life works best.  Let us not be intimidated into silence about it, nor ashamed or reluctant to live it out with all gratitude and boldness.  May He grant that at Covenant Grace, and countless other congregations besides, men and women would flourish according to their natures and in their proper roles.  May He build strong families through them and, consequently, a culture that as much as shouts around by its uprightness, “The Rock, His work is perfect” (Deut 32:4a).
In Christ,
Pastor Eric
P.S.
Join us for the prayer meeting each Wednesday in the Fellowship Hall.  Dinner is served at 6:00pm, followed by a brief lesson and a time of prayer at 6:30.  Or, join us for prayer each Thursday at 10:30am in the adult Sunday School room.