Over these last two weeks of preaching through 1 Timothy, we’ve been afforded a unique text-driven opportunity to address the men of Seven Mile Road. Last week, we heard Paul say, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man…For Adam was formed first, then Eve…(1 Tim. 2:12-13).” We did our best to teach through this difficult passage highlighting the beautiful wisdom and design of God in gender. God made us male and female. He made us equal but different. Different does not mean unequal. Different just means different. That’s important. A man is not (even slightly) better than a woman or vice versa. But a man is different than a woman and vice versa.
Part of this difference is the “first-ness” of men. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. In God’s design, the one made first is completely equal with the one made second. But being made first is different than being made second. The man is first among the equals (the way the Father is first among the equals in the Trinity). Scripturally, with that firstness comes authority. But with that firstness also comes responsibility. The man bears primary responsibility.
That’s why Eve eats the fruit first, and yet God’s conversation starts with Adam. He bears primary responsibility. That’s why when the Bible speaks of the fallenness of the human race, Adam (and not Eve) is named as the one responsible (Rom. 5:12-21).
John Piper, offers an excellent illustration of how this plays out in a Christian home. He says,
Fathers have a leading responsibility in raising children. Not a sole responsibility, but a leading one. The way I like to say it is that if there is a problem with the children at the Piper household, and if Jesus knocks on the door, and Noel comes to the door, he is going to say, “Hello, Noel, is the man of the house home? We need to talk.” Not that Noel bears no responsibility. But I bear the leading responsibility in seeing that the children are brought up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Seven Mile Road brothers, we ought to be humbled to the dust when we think of the role that God has given us. It comes with authority. It also comes with responsibility. So then one of my hopes for us is that we would look less and less like the first Adam and more and more like the Second. The first Adam abdicated his role and passively stood by while Satan destroyed his bride. And then when everything went bad, he finally opened his mouth – only it was to blame her for the mess.
The second Adam was different. Jesus lovingly led those entrusted to His care. He didn’t use His authority to crush them, but to sacrificially serve them. See Him on his knees washing the feet of the ones He was entrusted to lead. See Him carrying a cross for sins that weren’t His fault. Sinful, imperfect, and flawed as she was, see Him faithful to His bride even unto death. Brothers, that’s our call. Die daily to yourself so that your wife and children can live. Sacrifice so they can flourish. Put them first and put yourself last. Be faithful. That’s what Jesus did for His family. That’s what we should do for ours. We can’t do any of this in our own power, and so let’s desperately seek the help of the Holy Spirit to give us the necessary grace and strength.