Our society is constantly debating the value of woman, both within the Church leadership and the culture at large. On the occasion of International Woman’s Day, while we honor our women, we meet the value systems that a professing Christian should embrace.
God is a God of equality:
In our current times, gender neutrality and feminism are the byword we live with. While the design of God was not intended to cause an imbalance, our definition of equality needs to be revisited. We need to align our reasoning with the beauty of wholeness that God established when He ‘created them male and female.’
For a Christian, this is of dire importance. Our world view does not originate from scientific formulas, nor modeled by super stars and talk shows, or established by culture pressure. The creator alone defines the purpose and ordained it in His revealed holy word.
Furthermore, advocating for equality is by all means a just and good cause. But we should not sideline the fact that righteousness is the very character and essence of God who is holy and just. Therefore, we can never outdo God’s character by any amount of desire and cravings for equality that we try to muster. God is righteous and just to all his creation.
Jesus came to uplift woman.
Jesus Christ has done considerably to elevate the status of women to the highest degree of honor and dignity. When the revealed word came in flesh, He shifted the paradigm of woman in the society. He made some stark contrasts against the prevalent norms that was deeply intertwined in the minds of people. Historically in Israel, the society was patriarchal that was God ordained. But it had implications on how society was shaped and defined. It primarily became a man driven society and women’s identity was found in relation to that of men alone. All actions and regulations gave priority and power to men. In all of the Greek, Roman, and Jewish cultures, there were also far too many cases of women being undermined by men both verbally and physically.
But God clearly instills the value of women, all through the pages of the Holy Scripture,
– Consider the promise that was proclaimed in the garden of Eden. When sin crept into the perfect world God created, God declared that it would be the seed of a woman that would crush the enemy and pave the way to restore it back. This is so profound, when we contemplate it to be a promise for redemption that was to be fulfilled few thousand years later. God chose to establish it through a woman.
– Once more, when the promise of the savior was due to enter into our broken world, ‘the blessed woman’ who believed was the carrier of our savior into this world. Moreover, the written genealogy of Jews never contained the name of woman, but Jesus made an exception to His genealogy by including few women in the list!
– At the new dawn of the promise of the ‘First Fruits of New Creation’ being fulfilled, the news of Jesus resurrection was embraced and spoken by woman. They witnessed it first and so became the initial carrier of the Good News too. This in addition is incomprehensible considering even the angels were not allowed to carry the good news to the disciples.
So, Jesus paved the example by restoring the value of women and treated them with honor and respect. The crucial moments in history were so centered on woman.
In the same spirit of love and integrity, the scriptures instruct men how to treat their mother, wife, sisters and women in general. It teaches that a godly man can never intimidate, malign or abuse a woman. It instructs husbands to be considerate to and treat their wives with respect as co-heirs of the gracious gift of life found in Jesus (1 Peter 3). It instructs children not to revile but to honor their mother (Mat 15). It teaches young men to regard sisters in full purity (1 Timothy 5). It teaches society to honor and take care of widows. That is the regard and consideration the Word has directed for woman.
God’s design for equality
It is therefore established from Scripture that both men and women share perfect equality of worth and importance before God. On the flip side of balance, the scripture also states the distinctions and roles between a man and women, that goes all the way back to the creation. These are not contrary, but rather complimentary roles in fulfilling God’s complete design. The feminist movement hinges in finding equality with men on duplication. But the design for each is different, where man also cannot strive to fulfill the role of a woman. The hands have to do its function in the body and cannot demand equality to be the leg. Both are valued and important in the perfect functioning of a body.
‘The Priority’ where man was created first and the woman was created second (1 Ti 2:13), ‘the derivation’ where woman was formed from the man, (1 Cor 11:8), ‘the Purpose’ where the woman was made to be “helper suitable for man” (Gen. 2:18), ‘the Glory’ where Christ is the head of man, and man the head of a woman (1 Cor 11:7), ‘the Physiological factor’ where the woman is “the weaker vessel” (1 Pet. 3:7), all points out to the perfect design element of the creator to fulfill His broader purpose. The role distinctions are not based solely on cultural conditions in Biblical times, nor is it essentially evil. It has various role applications to the individual, the Family and the Church.
Women represent the carrier of God’s eternal plan for mankind. Eve brought corruption to the world through disobedience. But the word clearly declares in 1 Timothy 2:15 that “woman will be saved through childbearing if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” Woman are thus given the privilege to reverse the corruption by being the carriers of mankind and given the honorable and mammoth task of bringing up godly children who will be heirs to eternity.
Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” – Luke 1:45
The one we call Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister, one day is not enough to celebrate you, but every day is! Happy Woman’s Day, every day!