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Feminine Modesty, Covenantal Bounds, and Honouring Vows

Premarital Texts Index
Posted: APR-26-04

Doug Wilson - partial notes "Biblical Home, Hebrews 13:1-5" between 21:00 and 28:00 minutes.

Be responsible before God. Everything we do should be in the presence of God.

One of the most difficult things to do in a congregation this size is to exhort people to walk the balance between charity and lack of provocation in how you dress on one hand, and legalism and gnat straining on the other. There are people who think in terms of wooden rules. They think if some sister has a slit in the back of her dress that's 6 inches off the floor, then that's somehow an abomination because we all know this definition means there's sin involved. No. We need wisdom, we need humility, and we need to remember the principle my life for yours. We're not dressing in order to stumble one another, and we're not imposing regulations on one another in order to stumble either.

The first means is by honouring the vows of others. I've spoken of women not dressing provocatively and not being flirtatious. In the same way I want to speak to the men who are unmarried. Realize that God has not made the sexes the same way. Men respond to things that women do not respond to and vice versa. What we have to understand is that that which is enticing to a man is not the same thing that is enticing to a women. Consequently, brothers are just as capable of stumbling sisters as sisters are of stumbling brothers, but they use different means to do this. Many times guys drift into a relationship with a girl because they just want to be friends, and they want to provide some sort of closeness and they start to drift closer. And the girl is thinking I wonder if we're an item. I wonder if we're something. He never says. And so she decides, to have a talk. We need to have a talk about us. And he says, no, no, we're just friends. He continues to take what is not his, by drifting into this zone where she feels singled out and is singled out by him. What he has done is he has done is to establish a de-facto relationship which is not covenantally bounded. You can't have jealousy if there's no covenant bond. Jealousy is good in a covenant bond. If people have drifted into an undefined relationship you have no basis for jealousy. Yet all the emotional feelings of jealousy may be experienced when someone else comes into the picture.

If you're just friends then it's quite possible that you'll marry someone else, right? Will your relationship with this "friend" continue just the same after you're married? Will you say to your wife, honey I'm going our for a long chats and walk with so and so because we're just friends. I hope your wife is jealous in that case. She has every covenantal right to be jealous, to say "No, that kind of intimacy belongs to me." If it belongs to her after marriage, it belongs to her now. If she has a right to be jealous about that relationship later, then she has a right to be jealous about it now. You don't want retroactive jealousies to come into play later on after your marriage. Honour the vows of others. Honour the vows that are going to be made. This is not legalism, this is charity coupled with wisdom.

Cultivate a spirit of contentment with what God has given you now. It's not wrong to desire marriage if you don't have the gift of celibacy. But if you want to get married because you're discontent, then it's wrong to desire marriage. If you're not content now, you won't be content in marriage. Marriage is a blessing, and it helps, but it doesn't fix rebellion. It doesn't fix discontentment. Cultivate a spirit of contentment, then in marriage your contentment will be amplified. You can't fix contentment problems by rearranging the furniture. Young ladies, if you're considering a man, look at how he treats his mother. How he treats his mother is how he'll treat you. Nothing will be miraculously fixed by marriage. Only the blood of Jesus can fix sin.

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