Submission in Christ

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Submission, particularly within marriage, is not a popular idea in our culture. And why would it be? Submission runs counter to the cultural idol of individual autonomy. When we idolize individual autonomy, we are unlikely to submit in any circumstance, even if the authority to which we should submit is benevolent. But God doesn’t call His people to individual autonomy. He calls us to take up our cross and follow Him; in other words, come and die. Submission requires us to put to death our selfish will and listen to other authorities. It starts with God who, as Creator, is rightly Lord and Sovereign of all that is. But it descends from there into our relationships here on earth. It is on this basis that Paul connects the control of the Holy Spirit to our submission to one another in the fear of Christ (Eph 5:21). This exhortation forms the basis of all of our relationships, but Paul begins with the relationship of a husband and wife. Submission in marriage is not degrading to the wife; it is her glory. Jesus Christ submitted Himself to God the Father and to His earthly parents, and based on Philippians 2:5-11 we could probably say that He submitted Himself to everyone by taking on the form of a servant and becoming obedient to the point of death. The result of that submission is Christ’s glorification: every knee bowing, every tongue confessing Christ as Lord. Although Proverbs 31 doesn’t provide clear teaching on submission, it does set the example of a virtuous woman. What happens to this woman? Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also praises her. “A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Pr 31:30). Submission isn’t easy, no sacrifice is, but it’s praiseworthy, and it’s the design of God for marriage. Beyond that, it’s God’s design for the church too. We all submit, not only to each other, but also to Christ, who is our head. Indeed, the promise of glorification applies to the church as well, that Christ might be glorified in us and we in Him (2 Thess 1:12). So submit; wives to your husbands, and all of us to God and Christ, for His glory and ours! – Pastor Rory

Sunday at Liberty

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