344. But Paul adds very important conditions beyond the mere birth of a Redeemer into the world, with which Christian women must comply before their social redemption will be wrought out, “If they continue in faith and love and sanctification with sobriety” (R. V.). Alas! women did not “continue.” It seems clear that within fifty years after Paul’s utterance, they had largely yielded their faith,¾that they were to be saved on precisely the same conditions as men sinners. They accepted the mischievous teaching that in addition to meeting the conditions laid down for men sinners, they must do penance for the sin of Eve (as though Christ’s atonement had not been sufficient for Eve’s transgression). Faith went; love and loyalty to Jesus Christ and His atonement waned; and finally they accepted a precisely opposite condition to the one laid down by Paul so impressively,¾“with sobriety.” They have now, through the weary generations since, too often bent themselves to the task of winning approval from God, by yielding all their nobler instincts towards pure living within the marriage relation to the sensual “desire” of their husbands, in mistaken obedience to the misinterpretation of Genesis 3:16. The meaning of the Greek word translated “sobriety,” we set forth as “self-restraint” (see par. 327). The word is sophrosune, and 4 Maccabees 1:31 tell us, “sophrosune is the mastery of the lusts.” Several sayings in the Greek classics tell us the same. Paul declares, and we are sure it is the truth of God, this self-control is an essential in woman’s social redemption. Woman can never be matured as a useful instrument in God’s hands, or an efficient servant of His Church, until she comes to understand that “she is not her own; she is bought with a price,” and it is neither her duty nor her privilege to give herself away to any human being,¾in marriage or in any other way. Her bodily appetites are subject to God’s control and cannot be indulged in violation of conscience; any other teaching is but teaching woman how to be a pleasing slave. There is no social redemption for woman until the chain that binds her to the lusts of her own, and of man’s flesh is broken, and she maintains the inviolability of free will, as her sustained attitude towards every human being, including her husband. There is no method of moral improvement remaining, after the loss of a free will. To attempt to accept any means or method of salvation from sin different from or beyond the simple act of accepting Christ’s atonement for sin,¾be that act “circumcision,” which Paul so strongly denounced, or woman’s service in the lusts of the flesh, is to accept a condition in which “Christ shall profit you nothing,” “Christ has become of no effect unto you” (Galatians 5:2-3).
345. …” Luther, who established for the Protestant Church the truism: “It is a great error to seek ourselves to satisfy God’s justice for our sins, for God ever pardons them freely by an inestimable grace,” never paused to think that as to women this is true also. To the present day, the women of the Protestant Church are taught by Bible commentators to keep to penance (seek to satisfy God’s justice) for Eve’s sin by silence in the Church and obedience to man.