Herald Journal Columns
March 24, 2003
Pastor's Column

Live in submission, as the church submits to Christ

By Rev. Daniel Runke, Albion Evangelical Free Church, Cokato

Submission is one of those nasty words in our culture.

Some men like to throw it at their wives. They quote Ephesians 5: 22 "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord."

But, does Paul really mean wives must submit to their husbands? What about cultures where both husband and wife work? What does the rest of the Bible say about submission? What does submission really mean?

Let's start with the last question. The word submission actually comes from two words: one meaning "under," the other meaning "appoint."

When the Bible uses submit, it uses what is called the 'middle voice.' That simply means the action is done by oneself and not forced upon by another.

Submission then is a "voluntary act of appointing oneself under another."

The Bible's first reference to submission is concerning Christ submitting to God.

Jesus said in John 6:38 "I have come down from heaven not to do My will but to do the will of God who sent Me." Jesus submitted to God's future plan before God even created the world.

Second reference to submission is given to man in general and is in James 4:7, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

This time there is a promise that when I submit to God, I can resist the devil and he'll run away. If the devil is getting his way, God has given us a way to find relief by placing ourselves under His authority.

Third reference to submission is in Romans 13:1, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established."

For society's well being we are called to put ourselves under our government.

Fourth reference to submission is in Ephesians 5:21, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." We are called to submit to one another out of a love and respect for Christ's authority in our own lives.

All of us as believers in Christ, in all of our relationships in the home and outside, are to voluntarily appoint ourselves under each other. That leads to harmony.

Last, we come to submission within the home. Ephesians 5: 22, "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord," and later Paul addresses the child parent relationship.

Submission, the Bible says, is the order for all of us and begins towards God.

It's not good for husbands to demand wives submit if we are not in submission. If you're demanding someone to submit to you, check to see whom you are in submission to.

If you're not in submission, why not work on that? You might find that when you are the other person will be in submission also.

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