Biblical Submission Today! Seriously?
We live in a world where it would seem like a joke to even suggest that a wife must submit to her husband in anything or for any reason.
That’s just not how some women “roll” these days. They have been liberated and there is no man, not even their own husband, who is going to make them do anything that they don’t want to do!
In marriage they see themselves as an equal. They believe that they should carry just as much weight in the final say of any mutual decision.
“This is the 21st Century, so don’t talk to me about biblical submission” is their mantra.
Biblical Submission is So Misunderstood Today!
Biblical submission is probably one of the most misunderstood concepts in the church world today. We live in a world where some men have taken that part of the scripture, isolated it from the entirety of the scripture, and made it doctrine.
Many men have thrown the word around like a Frisbee and they’ve used it as a license to do and get whatever they want out of the marriage.
As a counselor I’ve heard more stories than I can remember where the husband has forced the wife to do something demeaning, or something that she had taken a strong stand against.
He would lord it over her and demand that she participate in what ever he demands. He feels validated in his demand because, after all, he has full clearance from almighty God, in the name of submission.
So, what is wrong with this picture? For starters, the picture is distorted.
The True Intent of Biblical Submission
Over the years, in our society and in the church world, so many have only been looking at one side of the picture. In reality the true biblical intent of the concept of biblical submission demands balance.
Ephesians 5:22 reads, “Wives submit to your husband as to the Lord. For the Husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself her Savior.”
There it is! The husband is head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the Church.
In my opinion, that is a lot of authority for one man to hold.
As we read on in chapter 5 of Ephesians, we find that along with all that authority comes a lot of responsibility.
It would be so clear if the scripture was read in it’s entirety. Many marital conflicts would be averted if the entire focus of the scripture didn’t land on, “Wives Submit to Your Husbands.”
Husbands Love Your Wives as Christ Loved the Church
When you read the next part of the passage it says, “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her with the washing of the water of the Word.”
With just a cursory look, it would seem right that the husband, as the head, holds the higher position in the home. But scripture balances the scales when it weighs Biblical Submission with Christ’s Love for the Church.
Sacrificial giving is implied with the command to love your wives as “Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.”
So how do you balance Biblical Submission with Biblical Love?
True Biblical Love
The definitive Word on Love is found in 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
We find nothing in 1 Corinthians 13 where love lords itself over the object that it loves and demands to get its way. Nor do we find anything that implies that self-gratification is the intent of that scripture.
Both Husband & Wife Must Submit to Christ
The truth is that both the man and the woman must submit to Christ first and then to each other.
When they enter into a marital bond before God, they covenant with God to love and honor each other. In a sense, they agree to a partnership based on love and mutual submission to God.
Nothing in the command of the Word of God to submit to your husband or love your wife as Christ loved the Church, is easy.
Marriage is not for the fainthearted. It is a process of death to self so that new life can come forth, and the two can blend into one in Christ.
I do not believe that this reality is ever truly accomplished while we live out our marital bond on earth.
It is something that we strive for day after day in our individual and corporate lives before Christ.
It is my opinion that the God designed perfection in marriage will always be a work in progress. Each partner must submit their lives to God each day.
When that is done, they corporately submit to God. Their submission is an agreement before God that His will be done in their marriage that day. This is a day by day, as an act of their wills, accomplishment.
God’s Grace is Sufficient
In reality, we all fall short of the glory of God to walk out the marital relationship. But when we are committed to Him and we work to do it His way, His grace is sufficient for both partners and his strength is made perfect in our weakness.
That is a promise that we can commit to and stand on~‘til death do us part!