But women will be saved through childbearing–if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. (1 Timothy 2:15)
Paul concludes his thoughts on women’s roles in the Ephesian church with one of his most controversial topics yet. Even if one were to view his words regarding women as cultural or specific to a problem in the Ephesian ministry, today’s passage creates a stir.
What in the world is Paul saying? Will women find salvation from their sins by having babies? And will they receive it only if they demonstrate faith, love, and holiness?
I believe we can rule out one possibility from the beginning. No one, including women, is saved from sin through a human act. We are all saved by grace, through faith. This is an undeniable fact of scripture.
If this is true, then what kind of salvation is Paul talking about? Some believe he is saying, “Women will be kept safe in childbearing.” Others have suggested Paul is referring to a redeeming quality as if to say, “Yes, it is true Eve committed the first sin, but women ever since then have more than made up for Eve’s act through the painful process of childbearing.”
This last thought may sound noble, but it sounds too much like paying society back for a wrong done. I just don’t think this is how God expects us to operate. After all, Adam sinned too. If women had to go through centuries of painful childbirth to make up for Eve’s disobedience, then what have men had to endure?
I am sure some creative minds out there will come up with an answer to this question. But seriously…I think we need to track away from the concept of works salvation and the notion that the trials we have in life somehow redeems us from our human circumstances. Such thinking sounds a little too much like the doctrine of reincarnation, and a few other non-biblical ideologies.
So what is it?
I don’t know for sure. Sorry. I just can’t figure this one out. But I am confident it does not mean women are saved from their sins through childbearing. And logic tells me childbearing doesn’t redeem them to society. This would mean women who don’t have children are unsaved in either case.
My inclination (but realize please…I am still working on it) is to lean in the direction of the fact God has not abandoned women who suffer greater pain in childbearing as a result of Eve’s sin (this greater pain is a part of the curse of sin as outlined in Genesis). Instead, He will give them the grace and spiritual strength they need to give birth, and raise their children in an atmosphere of faith. But this is only possible if they remain in the faith and practice love and holiness.
Far from being an indictment on women, or a sign that God is against them, I think this passage affirms that God is on their side. I am too. I have seen two babies born, and if that isn’t worthy of God’s favor, I don’t know what is.
Dear God, thank You for being with us through everything. In Jesus’ name, Amen.