NT Tuesday: Submit to One Another
In other words, we are supposed to live according to these verses, not just memorize them. And, if we hear a truth and abide by it, live accordingly, then we are following New Testament principles.
In today’s post, let’s look at Ephesians 5:19-21, “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in fear of Christ.” Here we see that we are supposed to be “subject to one another.” I can almost imagine the chills that this gives some people!
First, let’s be perfectly clear. Submission or subjection of one person to another is NOT about superiority and inferiority. It is not about qualifications. Submission and subjection is about order and, ultimately about God’s glory.
There are specific relationships that involve subjection as an inherent component of these relationships. Within the God-head, there is order. God is named the Head of Christ (1 Cor. 11:3). This is the template for how relationships are supposed to work. The Bible makes it clear that Jesus Christ is God, the fullness of God. If you have any doubt, read Hebrews 1.
As believers, we are to submit to Christ as the Head over all things, including the church. In our personal lives and in our corporate lives, we are to submit to Christ. Seems easy enough, right? He has our best interests at heart, but a Christian acting in the flesh does not want to submit to Christ, he wants to be self-centered. The minute we add our own thoughts or reason, we have begun the process of no longer subjecting ourselves to Christ, but rebelling against Him. We are to submit to our governments.
We are to submit to elders in our local assembly. Yes, yes, we know that they are not to rule like dictators or popes, but, regardless of how they rule, we are to submit! Wives are supposed to submit to their husbands, children to their parents, and employees to their supervisors. All of these relationships are specifically addressed in scripture. We can either chose to follow and obey these verses (in other words be New Testament Christians) or we can chose to reason these verses away.
However, in addition to all these specific relationships, we are still supposed to submit to each other. There is a mutual submission that Christians owe to each one another, condescending to bear one another’s burdens; not advancing ourselves above others, nor domineering over one another. We ought to have a yielding spirit, ready to fulfill all that is required of brotherly love.
Does this mean that a husband needs to submit to his wife? In a sense, yes, because as Christians we submit to each other attitudinally – where we demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit, we demonstrate Christian love, we bear one another’s burdens, etc. This works, when we are all submitted to Christ!
Submission often has unpleasant implications for many Christians, perhaps because the principle has been abused in the past and has been used to justify overbearing and self-serving behavior. Keep this in mind, Jesus Christ submitted to His Father – He learned obedience. Ask yourself this question: “Are you willing to live according to biblical principles or do you want to live according to your own reason and flesh?”
Until next week, fulfill your ministry.