Search this blog

Violence against women is a sin of an extreme nature.  It is the opposite of Christ, who loved His bride and sacrificed Himself for her, to dignify her with eternal glory (Ephesians 5:25-27).  Therefore, anyone who loves the Christian gospel must oppose violence against women as a sin against our Lord Himself.

But violence against women is wrong for another reason, a very personal reason that goes to the core of what a man is.  This reason will mean nothing to some people, but in fact it is the deepest root of this sin and points to the only true remedy.

Violence against women is the rage of the flesh, utterly contrary to the Holy Spirit.  According to the New Testament, the flesh – that is, our natural moral psychology, marked by selfish demandingness and excuses and superiority and swagger – proves itself in obvious ways: “. . . enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger” (Galatians 5:19-21).  The rage of the flesh is, in fact, hostility toward God Himself (Romans 8:7).

Sir, if you abuse your wife or daughter or girlfriend, physically or verbally, you are more than a bully.  You are the enemy of God.   You are usurping his place as Judge.  You tell yourself she needs a little roughing up.  You tell yourself you are doing her a favor.  But you are not a good man.  You are an evil man and unqualified to judge.  You are under God’s judgment.

Here is the choice you face.  Go on justifying yourself, go on blaming her, in which case you will go to hell forever.  Or own up to your evil and fall at the feet of Christ, the only Savior of violent bullies.  He will amaze you with His forgiveness.  He will turn you around, so that you become a Spirit-filled advocate for women, starting with the one you have mistreated.

Your problem is not her.  Your problem is the deepest you that you are.  And Christ is your only escape from you.  Run to Him.  He will not abuse you.

View Comments


14 thoughts on “Violence against women: the rage of the flesh”

  1. Michael Mills says:

    I volunteer as a Victim Advocate with my local police department. Sadly, we get more calls regarding domestic violence than any other.

    The “bottom line” is correct. It is hostility toward God. But, I would point out the same could be said of all sin. Sin is acting out in thought and/or deed our desire to be god.

    Something I’ve noticed in the past few years as an advocate is that people generally try to simplify the reason(s) for DV. It’s complex with a host of reasons.

    Interestingly–and we’re not sure why–a BJS study has found that intimate partner violence has dropped 64 percent from 1993 to 2010.

    Here’s a link to their website for those desiring more info:

    1. Ray Ortlund says:

      Thanks, Michael. That study is great news.

  2. Jane-o says:

    This is a short but covers every base for any Christian man or unsaved man who has used these tactics to ‘control’ any woman in his life. I am so glad that you brought out the truth that verbal abuse is also sin. Thank you.

  3. Naomi says:

    I hope it is okay to admit all my abusive “relationships” started with my acceptance of and adherence to an un-Godly union with a man, which included fornication, cohabitation, low self-esteem, and an unwillingness to turn my life over to God. Much like Eve who listened to and followed the advice of the enemy in the Garden. If we don’t know or live by the Word, we (women) become useless to the Kingdom and to men.

    1. Ray Ortlund says:

      Thank you, Naomi. Yes, it is okay to admit that. This is a Christian blog, a gospel blog, a safe place. And now my blog is better and stronger because of your contribution. I honor you.

  4. Annoymous says:

    “Sir, if you abuse your wife or daughter or girlfriend, physically or verbally, you are more than a bully.”

    Would it be right to include sexual abuse as well? Especially perpetrated on young girls, teenage girls, and women.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What about neglect? As in, the husband doesn’t love her, treats her like a maid, and doesn’t want to hear about her troubles?

    And why do some churches cover it all up?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Would you consider adultery abuse? How should I, as a Christian woman handle the repeated acts of unfaithfulness in my marriage, (divorce is not an option)

    1. Karen says:

      I have come out of an abusive relationship myself and I have learned that there are five ways in which a woman can be abused; Mentally, Emotionally, Physically, Spiritually and Sexually. I do believe that there are biblical grounds for divorce in a relationship. Both Matthew 5:32, and Matthew 19:9 state that sexual immorality is grounds for divorce. I think that “repeated” adultery shows a lack of repentance and turning from sin by your husband. Jesus said that divorce is not permissible except for unfaithfulness. The word translated “unfaithful” implies a sexually immoral lifestyle, not a confessed and repented act of adultery. You are a valued and treasured daughter of the Lord. Don’t let him pull you and your family down this dark path. God wants you to walk in the light and truth of who you are in Him. He desires freedom for you, not to stay with someone who is not willing to turn from his wicked ways. Please talk to someone who you can trust and who can give you Godly, biblical counsel. It is awful to feel like you don’t have options or hope! You do!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Search this blog


Ray Ortlund photo

Ray Ortlund

Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

Ray Ortlund's Books