Rejecting the Reins
In writing to Timothy Paul said that young widows should be refused because when they had begun to wax wanton against Christ, they would marry (1 Tim. 5:11). In discussing the derivation of the word translated "wax wanton," Adam Clarke says that it is
taken from two words which mean to remove the rein and that it is a "metaphor taken from a pampered horse, from whose mouth the rein has been removed, so that there is nothing to check or confine him" (Clarke's Commentary, Vol. VI, pg. 609). The folly as well as the danger of this is evident to all who have had any experience with horses, and yet we find this to be a fitting description of the course being advocated by many in our society.
There is some clamoring for the removal of all moral reins. Judging others by themselves, they have concluded that there is no such thing as virtue in either man or woman and that any claim made for such is sham and hypocrisy. They want us to believe that the solution for a guilt complex is the removal of the reins that check and confine man in the realm of morals and his being given the liberty to act as he chooses without censure. We might be duped into believing that these pampered horses have discovered the secret for a happy life ff it were not for the fact that history has recorded numerous examples of advocates of this philosophy, and the only contributions they have made to society have been heartache and sorrow. This is the inevitable end to which all come that refuses the reins of moral restraint that God has imposed.
There are others who seek the removal of reins in religion. They do not want to be checked or confined to what the Lord has said but wish to be left free to teach and practice what they will. To them, restraint in religion is equated with intolerance and bigotry and to ask for a "thus saith the Lord" equals practicing Bibliolatry. These loose constructionists view the inspired writings as just the best philosophical thought of a past age and insist that ff religion is to serve modern man; it must alter itself to keep pace with his progress. They do not wish to be restricted to the doctrine of Christ (2 Jno. 9) or confined to building "according to the pattern" (Heb. 8:5), but like pampered horses, want the reins removed so they can kick up their heels and run as they wish. Some of my own brethren have joined this herd!
Submission to the restraints of God is for the good and happiness of man. Let those who have named the name of Christ recognize this (Col. 3:17) and not be found with that number who seek to remove his reins.
TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV; 25, p. 12
April 30, 1970