Is Submission A Dirty Word?- Ephesians 5

Throughout the New Testament, believers are told to “submit”: to one another (Eph. 5:21), to governing authorities (1 Pet. 2:13), to spiritual leaders (Heb. 13:17), husbands (Eph. 5:24), masters (1 Pet. 2:18), etc. The Greek word “submit” is hupotasso, which literally means “to come into order under”, and is usually translated with the English word submit. In our modern western culture, the word submit has become kind of a dirty word, and is not something people are generally going to want to do. Submitting is something an inferior does to a superior, something one weaker does to one more powerful, something a lesser does to a greater. To submit makes the one submitting inherently less than the one submitted to, to submit to equals less than, the one who submits is intrinsically less than the one submitted to. The Bible, however, has a different understanding of submission, it is not seen as a negative thing but as a positive one. This is because the biblical understanding of submission is not grounded in humanistic philosophy (in which man is the measure of all things and this world is paramount) but in biblical theology (in which God is the measure of all things and the world to come is paramount), and the nature of God. According to the Bible, God is a trinity, 3 distinct persons in one nature or essence. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are three distinct persons and one God. Within the trinity itself, we find that the Son submits to the Father (Matthew 26:39) and the Spirit submits to the Son (John 16:7). This submission, however, does not make the Son less than the Father or the Spirit less than the Son. The Father, Son and Spirit are and remain equal in being, worth and value, but they willingly subordinate themselves to one-another in function. The three members of the trinity exist in a communion of holy love among three distinct persons, who function as one unit in order to accomplish a specific purpose, and this submission is necessary in order for the unit to accomplish this purpose. If the Son did not submit to the Father, the redemption of humanity could not have been accomplished. The good of the unit and the carrying out of its purpose supersede any “rights” of the individual, and individual rights are subsumed for the good of the whole, so the whole can fulfill its purpose and bring redemption to humanity. This is the viewpoint to which Scripture admonishes the believer, and it is in distinct opposition to the viewpoint of the world, in which the rights of the individual supersede the good of the unit. Believers are admonished to submit so that the unit (the body of Christ) can function to achieve its purpose (the redemption of humanity), just as within the trinity itself. “Submission” may be a dirty word in the world, but it is not to be so within the church. What is needed is a “paradigm shift”, a new way of seeing the idea of submission, not as something that makes one inherently less than another, but something done by one equal to another for the greater good, for the unit to function as God intends it to. May the church of Jesus Christ be freed from its captivity to “hollow and deceptive philosophies” (Colossians 2:8), and understand that submission is not a dirty word, not a thing to be avoided at all costs, not something which makes the one submitting inherently less than the one submitted to, but as the God-ordained means by which we can bring redemption to a lost and dying world.

No Comments Epistles  //  God the Father  //  Growing In Grace  //  Holy Spirit  //  Jesus Christ  //  Salvation and Redemption

Comments are closed.

Pure Spiritual Milk

SEO Copy... Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse nunc turpis, cursus et interdum sed, lobortis vitae nunc. Integer placerat tellus odio, non sodales arcu fermentum id. Mauris vitae eleifend leo, et rhoncus odio. Ut et arcu eu ex tempus ultricies eu vel lorem. Curabitur eu consectetur neque. Suspendisse volutpat nibh urna, sit amet aliquet augue imperdiet in. Etiam eget felis pellentesque, dapibus dolor ut, sodales justo. Mauris eu arcu lectus. Suspendisse odio ex, dignissim sit amet ornare eget, elementum at odio.