Vol. IX — No. 21 May 26, 1968
1 Timothy 2:15
Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity (love) and holihess with sobriety
In Christ Jesus, who was born of the virgin Mary and who sanctified marriage with His presence at the wedding of Cana, Fellow Redeemed:
Today is the day of the year dedicated to mothers. It is a day, however, that suffers from too much commercialism and too much sentimentalism. During the past weeks husbands and children have been bombarded with commercials—as though one could buy mother’s affection or reward her labors with a gift on this day of the year. It is a day flooded with sentimentality—although many a mother would probably prefer to have the sentiments of the day spread and expressed more evenly over the entire year. He certainly hope that our children and fathers have made or will make a special effort to express their love to mother this day. We all too easily tend to forget this. But we do hope that the meaning and sentiment of this day will last beyond the passing of the day.
We would in this meditation and entire service shed some heavenly light upon motherhood. We have chosen for this purpose a single verse that brings to a conclusion a section that St. Paul dedicated to the instruction of women. He speaks of the personal appearance of women—that their appearance should reflect their godliness. Next he goes to a subject that occupied our attention intensely some months ago—the relationship of a woman to a man in the church: “I suffer, or permit, not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” The question may arise in the minds of God-fearing men and women whether the subordinate relationship of women to men in the church has any bearing upon the salvation of a woman. That question Paul answers emphatically in the verse that is our text: “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” The original text makes the word “saved” prominent by placing it first: “Saved, however, shall she be…” In Christ there is neither male nor female. God’s Son came into this world, lived a holy life, suffered and died, arose and ascended for the woman as well as the man. The Spirit of God works on the hearts of women as well as men. Women are saved the same way men are saved—through faith in Christ Jesus. There is no other way! Paul was writing of women who were saved in just at way, even as I am this morning speaking to women who carry about with them the full salvation of our Lord by faith in Him.
Paul emphasized the fact that these believing women were saved. But in so emphasizing this fact he also gave instruction to all women, and to all men, concerning the sphere of activity and the function of women. These are divine truths that society is violating to its own destruction. Let us sit at the Spirit’s feet and be instructed by that which concerns all, but especially our women:
“Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing” or more literally, “Saved, however, shall she be by way of childbearing.” The first thing that strikes one in these words is the question of whether Paul is making childbearing a means of grace. Is Paul saying that faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior is the way men are saved, but the Lord has instituted functioning biologically as a mother as the means for a woman to be saved? Asking the question in this way is already answering it, for if childbearing is a means of grace, then a woman could live her whole life as a slave of sin and still be saved by giving birth to a child. Then it would also mean that any and all women who never experience childbearing would be lost. The preposition that Paul uses frequently, but not invariably, denotes means. At times it denotes accompanying circumstances. So in this case. A woman is saved in her role as mother of the race—“if they continue in faith…” Childbearing is not a means of grace, but rather the chief function of a woman.”
Let us think on this for a moment. Childbearing is the chief, not the exclusive, function of a woman. God created woman as a help fit for man. He then blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply.” God established that the chief function of the woman was to serve as an instrument for His giving the blessing of children and so multiplying the human race. When we think of childbearing, we dare not limit our thinking to the physical experience of giving birth to a child, as dramatic as that may be. Childbearing includes also childrearing. So when Paul speaks of childbearing as the chief function of a woman, he is not limiting that to a number of individual experiences in the life of a woman, but is stating that the bearing, caring for and rearing of children is the chief function of a woman. Society generally recognizes this, but society is also influenced by forces which tend to relegate childbearing and childrearing to a secondary place in the life of a woman.
We live in the era of the emancipated woman. Educational opportunities and job opportunities are open for women today in a greater degree than ever before in the history of mankind. It can happen and it does happen that the career or the job becomes more important and more meaningful to a woman and her husband than childbearing and childrearing. It can be that childbearing is considered perhaps a necessary or an unfortunate interruption in the career or job of the woman, while childrearing is turned over to others. This situation has caused a break down in the home and worked untold havoc in society, as authorities in the field of mental health and juvenile delinquency can testify eloquently.
Our mothers receive special gifts and special attention today. The daughters perhaps cook the meal today or mother is taken to dinner. The whole family makes it a point to be on its best behavior towards mother. This is fine. But we should add something that may be a bit disturbing, but surely is more important. You mothers, ask yourselves whether you consider childbearing and childrearing your chief function in life and whether you are living your life accordingly? Ask yourselves whether you have all the honor coming you this day or whether perhaps the role of mother and homemaker has become quite secondary in your life. Girls start playing wedding and talking about marriage from little on. Our high school and college girls should get their priorities well in mind. There are many young women, sophisticated young things, who get married well briefed on the details of the wedding and on methods to avoid motherhood, but poorly prepared for motherhood and for homemaking. Such attitudes hardly conform to the chief function of woman. We men do well to consider what we expect of our wives—just an extra pay check or do we expect our wives to function as the mothers of our children and the makers of our homes. Today is a good day to straighten out our thinking and to establish or re-establish a proper scale of values. That thinking can be further stimulated when you Christian women remember—
“Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness—or sanctification—with sobriety.” As a Christian woman functions as a mother, bearing and rearing her children, she is to be exercising her faith. Think for a moment of the avenues of opportunity that faith opens up to a Christian mother. Through faith in Christ Jesus her sin is removed. That means that at the same time she has gained access to the throne of grace. She has at all times and under all circumstances a direct open line by means of prayer to the throne of grace. What an advantage and what an opportunity this provides. Every mother can testify that there are problems in bearing a child and rearing and caring for a child that are not answered by the baby book and the pediatricians. Every mother is at times beset by fears and doubts. The believing mother can exercise her faith by taking her problems to her Lord in prayer. That can be done not only when the children are small, but especially when they grow older. There comes a time when the direct influence of a mother Upon her children wanes. It’s that difficult time when children become young men and women and must strike out for themselves. Then it is that a mother can do the most by turning to her Lord in prayer and committing the care of her child or children to Him.
A woman who so exercises her faith while functioning as mother will also speak of her faith to her children. There are so many mis-guided women who work themselves to the bone and to a frazzle attempting to give their children material things that they did not enjoy in their youth. So frequently these efforts do more harm than good. What benefits a child is the time a mother takes to read her child a Bible story, to teach her child the seriousness of sin and evil, to show her child God’s love in sending His Son also for that child, to supervise the study of the child’s Sunday School lessons, to listen to the child’s prayers, to sing hymns with the child, to take the child to Sunday School, instruction classes and worship services, to teach a child Christian ideals, to set an example that will work in the child a sense of first things first—first the soul, then the body, first the life to come, then this life, first the things of the Spirit, then material considerations. Blessed is the home, blessed are the children, blessed is the church and blessed is the nation that has mothers exercising their faith in their homes!
The hardest place to practice love is with those closest to us. We have a tendency to misuse those closest to us. Perhaps the most mis-used person in the family is the mother. She’s taken for granted. Her services are expected without frequently even calling forth a “thank you.” Many a mother has perhaps had a silent cry because of the ingratitude of her family. We who are husbands and fathers and children should repent this day of our frequently loveless treatment of our wives and mothers. But mothers carry on. Why? Because they know that their love is so necessary for the well being of the family. Because the faith of a Christian mother compells her to act and react in her home, towards her husband and children with love. Many a time it isn’t easy. Many a time a mother may feel like running away from it all. We thank God for the grace given mothers to show forth their love, and pray God for a fuller and greater measure of that most necessary love.
Our Christian mothers are to show forth and exercise their sanctification with sobriety in the sphere of their motherhood. To be sanctified means to be separated and dedicated unto the Lord and then to live a life according to His will. Each person has been given a sphere in which he is to exercise his sanctification—on the job, as husband and provider, in public life, in the church. The chief area for a Christian woman who is a mother is the sphere of her motherhood. What opportunities motherhood gives! It is comparatively easy for a mother to give her child money to go somewhere and do something or to buy something that may or may not be good for the child. It is more difficult for that mother to give of herself, especially of her time. One of the tragedies of homelife is the breakdown of communications between children and parents. Frequently the cause is that parents give everything but their own time to their children. Children also have problems. They need someone that will take time to listen. The mother is in a strategic position to function in this capacity. In so doing a Christian mother exercises her sanctification, for a woman can do no greater work than nurturing her children in the Lord.
This is to be done with sobriety. It’s tragic to see a woman mature in years, but remain so immature in attitudes and values. What is lacking is sobriety. When children have to be ashamed of mother, they receive scars that are slow to heal. Let each mother think upon the meaning of sobriety for herself. Let all of us meditate upon this short Word of the Lord concerning mothers so that there remain in this our land Christian families that will continue to function as a salt and a light. Amen
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the King James Version.