The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: S

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"Saved in childbearing"

"Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing" (1Ti 2:15).
A correct understanding of one little word opens up the depth of this phrase. The word "in" is the Greek "DIA" -- which means more precisely "through". This phrase is then very similar to that of 1Co 3:15, where it is said that we are to be saved by ("dia" = "through") fire (which symbolizes trials -- 1Pe 1:7). Also, we read in Acts 14:22: "We must through (DIA) much tribulation enter the kingdom of God." So we see from these two quotations (and many others) that trials and hardships are the path over which we must all travel; this is the refining vat through which we must each pass, so that our faith may be purified. God does not enjoy seeing us suffer; but by His chastening, He is helping and teaching us to walk in the right ways, and He is molding our characters.

Thus we see childbearing for what it is -- a necessary trial for God's daughters. It was first a punishment placed upon the woman for her part in the first sin: The woman was to have sorrow in childbirth, and her husband was to rule over her (Gen 3:16). But it is by God's mercy and foresight that the very suffering which serves to remind women of the part Eve played in the original transgression, may be one of the trials through which they may enter the kingdom.

"THE childbearing"

Let us now view this phrase in a slightly different way: In another sense, God made possible the reward of eternal life through that role of woman which was a punishment. In this verse the word "childbearing" is preceded by the definite Greek article: Paul seems to be speaking about a single, very special birth: "THE childbearing". At the same time that Eve was receiving the punishment for her sin, she also received the promise of a special man to be born, called "the seed of the woman", through whom the serpent or sin-power would be fatally wounded (Gen 3:15).

This same promise is mentioned by Isaiah -- that a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, who will be called "God with us" (Isa 7:14). And also in Jer 31:22 -- that a new thing shall happen: a woman shall compass the man. These promises were all fulfilled in the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, who was conceived not by the will of man, but by the Spirit of the Most High overshadowing Mary (Mat 1:21-25). This same Jesus, throughout his life, resisted the impulses of sin in all ways, and died a sacrificial death so that the way to life might be opened to all men and women. Thus the sisters can take courage to serve God in quietness and self-restraint now (1Ti 2:9-12), comforted with the hope offered by the "seed of the woman".

The bearing of spiritual fruit

We may view this phrase in yet another aspect -- that of a spiritual, rather than a natural, "bearing". Through this we are all saved. In Rom 7:4 Paul likens the ecclesia to a woman -- as he so commonly does. Her former husband has died -- which is a way of saying that we have become dead Co the present world and its lusts, and that we are no longer the servants of sin (Rom 6:17). With her first husband now dead, she is at liberty to be married to another, Christ who was raised from the dead. And this new alliance (which we now have with Christ) is for the purpose of bringing forth fruit unto God (Rom 7:4). With Christ's help, in our new relationship with him, we may produce "the FRUIT of the Spirit", love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Gal 5:22,23). We may then be saved through this bringing forth of fruit -- this new walk in the Truth, this new life in Christ, with new desires and new goals. The "child" which each saint bears is himself: "a new man in Christ Jesus". We must be "born again" (John 3:5) -- not only by water at baptism, but by the Spirit-word (1Pe 1:23) to "newness of life" (Rom 6:4). By doing this we shall be saved.
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