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Sunday, November 25, 2012
The Man who Would take my Hand and Lead me to the Gallows
The Man who would take my Hand and Lead me to the Gallows (Excerpt from chapter 7 of "The Gospel and the Core of Purity")
This section is about the man whom I would follow willingly. We know that regardless of the extent to which the God-given authorities in our lives fall short of God’s standard, we are called to obey and honor them in the Lord. So what I will elaborate on here does not convey that I would be free to unrighteously dishonor or disobey a God-given authority. Rather I include what follows to reveal to you an example of what you ought to value and consider as priceless in worth within a man whom you seek to marry. Each Christian woman may have a slightly varying perspective on the “perfect man of God” based on her understanding of Scriptures and knowledge of Christ, and here I will share mine with you. What is described here is a very meager description of a mighty vision I had of the perfect man of God.
Before I begin, I must present the other question of whether I deserve such a man as I will describe. We know that we deserve nothing, but we have been raised up with Christ and are granted every Spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms (Eph 1:3). So there is no telling what God could bless us with. Another aspect is that as suitable helpers, it is very possible that God will use us to increase our husband’s Godliness, and thus we are his aid in achieving the state of holy perfection. As Solomon said, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (Prov 18:22)
1. He must be Regenerated by the Word and Spirit of God and elected for eternal life.
In a sense, this is my only requirement. The reason why this requirement surpasses my greatest dreams is because God makes glorious promises to all of His elected saints. He promises to do more than all that they ask or think according to His power that works in them, He promises to conform them into the Image of Christ, He promises to remain faithful to them and to enable them to stand firm in faith until the end, He promises to give them greater and greater revelations of His Word, His glory, and His love, He promises that nothing shall separate them from the love of Christ….thus any man who falls into the category of the regenerate would more than exceed my dreams. Why? Because Christ infinitely exceeds my dreams and He dwells and works in each of His regenerated people! Just as God’s plan for me is sovereign and loving, so it is for any regenerate man.
2. He must not fear men, neither their ridicule nor their admiration, but rather He must live for the honor of His heavenly Father.
One of the most undesirable traits in a man is his fear of the opinions/regard of other people such that his obedience and boldness for Christ is subdued because of it. And yet there is an exceeding glory that I see in a man who speaks according to the Word of God, who does not flinch with the prospect of his earthly reputation or financial status falling in his obedience to Christ. He must be baptized with the purpose of God and driven by a relentless zeal for God’s honor above his own. This world is not his home and he dwells here as an alien, stranger, and soldier intent on pleasing his commanding Officer (2 Tim 2:4). He administers justice in all situations: the mercy, grace, and Truth of Christ to all. He does not pervert God’s righteousness to seek the favor of rulers. His upright way may be abominable to the wicked, but because he trusts in the Lord, he will be exalted. (Prov 29:25-27)
18 He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. John 7
3. He must love God and others in a way that causes him to crucify his flesh and lay down his life.
His love comes from the love of his Father poured into his heart by the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5). His love is unfailing, forgiving, gracious, selfless, strong, and is manifested in ardent labor on behalf of the people of God and the spread of the Gospel among the lost. He must be willing to open up our home to the needy, the orphans, and the widows. He must not cling to money, but extend a generous hand to all. He must love children and love to teach them the Word of God. He must see the souls of others and let the manifestations of his love penetrate deep into the spiritual needs of the people of God. He must be like me in that he cannot walk through a street of lost people without feeling deep sorrow over the lost and asking God for love and boldness to proclaim the Gospel. His love must not be superficial or worldly, but it must be founded upon Truth. His love may lead to open rebuke and hidden prayer on behalf of those whom he loves.
12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15
4. He must love the Truth above all else.
His knowledge of the Truth has set him free and thus he loves the Truth of God’s Word. His love for the Truth, written on his heart, is so strong that he fiercely opposes every pretext that opposes it. His wise discernment and understanding of the core doctrines causes him to identify and gently rebuke sources of error and heresy. He must understand moral depravity, atonement, justification, regeneration, progressive sanctification, and predestination (I do believe that some true believers do not yet understand predestination, but my husband should. He must also understand how God’s grace and kindness leads us to repent [he should have personally experienced this]. He must understand the absolute necessity to pursue love above all else. His desire for the Truth must prevail over his desire to “be right” or to be contained in the comfort of the flesh. When I am wrong and when the Truth would make me go through sorrow, he must still lead me in it. He must command me to take up my cross and follow Christ. He will proclaim God’s Word to me to wash me from a guilty conscience. He will remind me of my eternal inheritance through the throne of grace.
5. He must pray.
He must pray extensively, passionately, and secretly, with me, with our family, and corporately and have a deep personal relationship with Christ. He must understand the cross. He needs to have experienced something of the depth of his own sin and the Father’s grace shown through Christ at the cross.
"He who prays much, studies much, loves much, forgives much and works much, does much for God and humanity."-E.M. Bounds
6. His power, strength, wisdom, and message are of a Spiritual rather than earthly nature.
He does not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom in his proclamation of the testimony of God. He determines to know nothing except Christ and Him crucified. He is with the people of God in weakness, fear, and much trembling [before God, not man]. His message and preaching are not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that the faith inspired in his listeners will not rest on man’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Cor 2:1-5) He knows that he is what he is by the grace of God. God’s grace to him does not prove vain, but he labors even more than all of them, yet not him, but the grace of God with him (1 Cor 15). He has no qualms about my intellect, but seeks to lead me with Spiritual wisdom, love, and Truth. He is willing to discuss Scripture and doctrine with me for long periods of time.
4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 1 Peter 5
7. His physical attractiveness comes from his wisdom and humility.
As I have been progressively sanctified, no longer did I regard those physical attributes which the world considers to be handsome. Rather, the mark of humility and wisdom in the countenance, body language, frame, and gait of a man became the signals of physical attractiveness.
Who is like the wise man and who knows the interpretation of a matter? A man’s wisdom illumines him and causes his stern face to beam. Ecc 8
8. He must be like a father to me in his Godly commands and loving leading, and yet he will also be like a son to me, receiving motherly tenderness, comfort, and love.
I have desired fatherly characteristics in my husband and yet, I have longed to be like a mother to him showing him tender affection and comfort. He must instruct me and snatch me out of the flames (Jude 1:23) when I go astray as a father would. He should be compassionate and loving when I am filled with gloom over the sad state of the church (my common reason for gloom). Yet, he must be willing to receive motherly affection, gentleness, endearment, and tender care from me (1 Thess 2:7-8).
33 Answering them, He *said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?”34 Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He *said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3
9. He must desire to redeem his remaining days with wisdom and the Spirit’s filling.
15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit Eph 5
10. He must not fear persecution and death, but he must be willing and expectant for the persecution which awaits us.
He must be the man who is so confident in the grace of His Redeemer who saved him on the merit of His own blood that he is not afraid to die. Furthermore, he is willing and eager to be counted worthy to suffer for the sake of Christ. He will exhort me unto this end. He will command me to carry my cross and follow Christ. He would stand between the fire and our family and yet he will take my hand and lead me to the gallows if Christ would so choose for us to die for His sake.
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Tim 3:12
With or without such a man, I will follow Christ, my truest Lover, Lord, Savior, and King.