The First Great Commission...

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The first things of Scripture will be the first things of godliness until the last things bring us Home. What are those first things?

Read the Bible's record of the beginning. In Genesis God lays out His command for the species He names "adam" (translated "man" in most English Bibles). He commands adam to be...

fruitful. Fruitfulness is the foundational principle of nature and He made adam the same. It wasn't just that God gave man sperm and woman eggs and milk. It was also that He commanded adam to obey how He made them. Again and again:

God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” (Genesis 1:22)

God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)

Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you, birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.  (Genesis 8:17)

And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth."  (Genesis 9:1)

As for you, be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it. (Genesis 9:7)

God also said to him, “I am God Almighty; Be fruitful and multiply; A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, And kings shall come forth from you." (Genesis 35:11)

Why harp on this? Aren't there already a bunch of exhortations to make love and babies, both together, here on Baylyblog?

Sure, but consider how often God commands it in Scripture. This is more telling because He could assume that, starting with adam and continuing down to modern pharmacology and technology, the race of adam would take spouses for themselves and make fruitful love. Why command something that over most of adam's history has been inevitable?

God is helping us understand that when we make fruitful love, when the unitive and procreative functions of marriage are welded together, we are obeying His command. We are submitting to Him. We are confessing our love and commitment as He has decreed. We are acknowledging the authority of the Creator over all His universe, starting with the intimacy and privacy of our marriage bed.

Sex is obedience or disobedience, submission or rebellion, faith or unbelief. Sex is not copulation. Ever. Sex is much more and much, much deeper.

Sex is living out the manhood or womanhood God made us in the womb. Sex is confessing our masculinity or femininity in obedience to the identity God gave us in the womb. Sex is joining with our spouse, our husband or wife, to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth.

Because God said so, that's why.

Again and again and again. And it's not a suggestion. It's a command requiring obedience. You will either obey the world and rebel against God's command, or you will turn away from the world and submit to God's command. There's no halfway spot between the world's rebellion and submission to God where you and your wife can stand. You can't serve both God and carbon emissions, global warming, pristine wilderness, car seats, child protective services, inoculations, houses, cars, degrees, professions, and your rich Evangelical in-laws.

It's been a recurring thought with Clearnote for some years, now, that the Godly congregation will be fruitful and that fruitfulness will be somewhat balanced in two directions. First, the souls of the church will work to fulfill the Second Great Commission by loving their neighbors and bearing witness among them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, and the Lord will add to their number daily those who are being saved. Second, the souls of the church will work to fulfill the First Great Commission by marrying and loving and bearing children, and the Lord will add to their number daily those who are being saved.

In many ways, the truth about Protestant and Reformed Christians in America today is that we are returning to the Roman Catholicism we repented of at the time of the Reformation. This is particularly true with regard to the Christian home. Prior to the Reformation, for centuries Rome had denigrated the calling of fatherhood and motherhood, claiming the ones who were truly religious were men and women who stayed single and became priests, nuns, and monks. If a man or woman wanted to live a really godly life, they would never lower themselves to marriage and childbearing. They would vow celibacy and pray all the time.

The Reformers said "No, the work of fatherhood and motherhood is godly and the highly vaunted celibacy of Rome is mere hypocrisy." And so Luther and Calvin married and worked at fruitfulness and multiplication as they also preached the Gospel for the salvation of mankind—both at the same time.

Do you want to honor God? Do you want to build His Church? Do you want to die happy? Do you want to demonstrate humility and meekness as you walk in the way of the Lord? Do you want to grow in the fruit of the Spirit?

Do what God made you and your wife for. Be fruitful, multiply greatly, fill the earth, and raise in the nurture and admonition of the Lord each orange, apple, and peach God presents you. Do it with great joy because forever and ever they are your obedience. Your faithfulness. Your fruitful love—both for your wife and for God.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!