December 29, 2017 Matthew

Inequalities are Real

As a follow up of my review of Honor: A History, here is a small excerpt from my upcoming book for women, Gentle:

The Bible teaches about a unique dualism where we are, on the one hand male and female,[i] and on the other, neither male nor female.[ii] This dialectic tells us that all are not the same but in Christ all are one. All who repent are equally justified, redeemed, forgiven, favored, loved, blessed, adopted, and made immortal for eternity. All are not equally subdued and transformed by God. Paul was radically changed in a way none of us will ever get to experience. Peter was given a new name by Jesus.[iii] The rest of the disciples weren’t. The Holy Spirit did wonders through the Apostles that he doesn’t do through us. There are many gifts of the Holy Spirit but not everyone gets them equally.[iv] The Holy Spirit “apportions to each one as he determines.” The very inequitableness and inequality of our abilities, gifts, strengths, and weaknesses are precisely what makes us the body of Christ in the first place and forces us to depend on one another. While God’s heavenly benefits are equally available to all not everyone will have the same rewards in heaven.[v] Your rewards in heaven must be earned.[vi] We see in the Great Commission that over the last two thousand years not every nation has been used equally for its advancement by God. Not every people group got be called the ‘apple of God’s eye’.[vii] Not everyone gets to be a part of the 144,000 who, incidentally, are exclusively men who have not slept with women.[viii] Women did not get included among the Twelve in Jesus’ personal discipleship program.

Finally, not everyone receives the same honor—the archenemy of the egalitarian. The twelve apostles will receive more honor from God than any of us ever will by having their names permanently carved  into the twelve foundation stones of the New Jerusalem.[ix] Honor is one of the most supreme aspects of God’s value system. All honor and glory be to the only God forever and ever.[x]Honor your father and mother.[xi] Since honor was removed from our vocabulary before most of us were born, it’s no wonder we have no clue of what God is talking about. As the Spirit moved radically in the new church at Jerusalem and individuals were selling off property and land and bringing the proceeds to the feet of the Apostles, donors were being honored for their sacrifice, generosity, and love. Such honor led Ananias and his wife Sapphira to try to steal some of it by lying. Stealing godly honor through lying was such a great offense to God that, as the story goes, the Holy Spirit struck the two down dead.[xii] A justice, by the way, equally apportioned to a male and female offender. Unlike our system, when it comes to justice God is not a respecter of persons. The big take away fact here is that true biblical equity and equality are laid out in terms of justice but not honor.

[i] Genesis 1:27; Mark 10:6

[ii] Galatians 3:28

[iii] Cf. John 1:42

[iv] Cf. 1 Cor. 12:6-11

[v] Cf. Luke 6:23,35; Matt. 5:12, 6:1; Rev. 22:12

[vi] Cf. Matt. 6:19-20; Rom. 2:6

[vii] Zech. 2:8

[viii] Rev. 14:4

[ix] Rev. 21:14

[x] 1 Tim. 1:17

[xi] Matt. 19:19

[xii] Acts 5:1-9

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Gentle: How Women Can Save the World

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