In the prior two posts on the wearing of wedding rings, a question came up. Given the frequent declarations that we are no longer under the law, shouldn’t matters like modest dress, external adornment, headcovering, submission, etc. be considered matters of Christian liberty? Further, since many of the “restrictions” apply to one gender and not the other, doesn’t Galatians 3:28 mean that these gender distinctions are irrelevant under the New Covenant?
Here is my concern regarding the application of liberty to these passages. We are not under the law to be made right with God, that is clear from Scripture and there is no difference from a salvation standpoint whether one is a woman or a man, a Jew or a gentile, slave or free. Praise God for that! Yet the same apostle who wrote Galatians, i.e. Paul, wrote in many other places to command we do certain things and to restrict others. If Paul thought these things were irrelevant, why did he write about them so frequently and with such fervor? He seems to be wasting time and ink if he wrote these things but didn’t think it mattered one way or the other.
A woman is not saved by covering her head nor she is unsaved by not covering. A woman is not unsaved by teaching or holding authority over a man. A man is not saved by loving his wife as Christ loved the church. Yet all of these commands tell us how we who are saved should live. I read 1 Corinthians 11 and don’t see this as a salvation issue but I do see it as an obedience issue. As followers of Christ, it is our desire to live according to His commandments and the commands of Paul in the words of Holy Writ carry the force of commands from God. We need to carefully exegete the passages in question so that we don’t fall into the trap of wooden literalism or become focused on a legalistic demeanor that sees piety in external obedience, but we do need to treat these passages seriously and as a follower of Christ we should strive to live them out because in doing so we show our love for our Lord who has saved us.
Liberty is not license.