There is tremendous confusion in the modern body of Christ over the subject of submission. Let us do our part to clear the air and point to the Word of God, Christ’s example, and the good sense God endows us in the Holy Spirit as His beloved.
One of my favorite commentaries, The Complete Biblical Library, rightly puts in this way: 1) submit to God in everything, 2) submit to governing authorities in everything, 3) submit to husbands in everything, 4) submit to one another when it doesn’t interfere with the above.
Personally, I will change the order of importance in that after submission to God, then the wife is to submit to her husband in everything.
Submission is being subject to (i.e. accepting or yielding) a superior force, and/or will and/or authority of another person or thing. In our examples here, it is God, a husband, the government, then other believers. When we see this in action, we are “subjects” to the entity. We are the loyal “subjects’ of God, the government, etc.
Now, if the governing authorities ask or demand we submit to something against the commands and heart of God (killing enemies, swearing allegiance to the state, abusing God’s creation, etc.), we refuse. If not that, we submit in everything.
If a husband asks or demands a Christian wife submit to something illegal (murder, theft, false tax return, etc.) or immoral (pornography, group or anal sex, physical abuse, neglect, or rebellion, etc.), she may refuse. If not that, she submits in everything without abusing, neglecting, or rebelling against him and his wishes of submission. And, this needs to be done by the wife with a quiet and gentle spirit which is precious in the sight of God (1 Peter 3).
This is so very foreign to many wives in the modern church who stonewall, sass, ignore, and even revile and attack a Godly husband. After stonewalling, this is the second largest sin in the western church at large in our opinion: the rebellious disrespect, dishonor, abuse, and abandonment of the Christian husband.
We must remember that husbands are indeed to love wives as Christ loved the church body and gave Himself up for it. But, in effect and in the long run, Jesus does not put up with the repeated and rebellious sin of any church member, and treats them accordingly. We are commanded to walk like Him in all ways (1 John 2), and reprove and rebuke the sin. This includes the sin of the errant wife, Christian or not.
If we keep on sinning willfully after having the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for our sins. We insult the Spirit of grace and trample underfoot the blood of Christ (Heb. 10.26-31).
But What If My Husband Is Harsh?
Probably only 1%, certainly never more than 5%, of husbands cannot be won without a word by the quiet and gentle spirit of a chaste and respectful wife.
Even in 1 Peter 2, Paul commands the saint, including slaves wives, under an unreasonable and harsh master, perhaps including their own husband, to submit assuming they cannot refuse or escape. If they can leave or escape, they may do so. The abused saint is not to revile and attack back. This much is true and holy.
1 Peter 2:18-24 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed…
1 Peter 3:1-6 In the same way (as in 1 Peter 2 with the unreasonable and harsh master), you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.
Paul finished his Ephesians 5 treatise on marriage by speaking to the wife first, and accentuating her respect for her husband in the beginning and end of the passage, like book ends.
If some church member asks or demands someone’s wife submit to them against her husband’s stated wishes for her, she refuses and always defers to her husband. Always. If not that, we can prayerfully consider our brethren’s wishes for us to submit to them. But we never, ever undermine the husband’s rightful place and the respect he is due from his wife and the church to observe this order in Christ.
Jesus Christ Always Submitted to The Father
Christ is our Master, our Leader, our Model. He always submits to the Father. Always. The Father never submits to Christ. This is vital for the western church to understand since it has been invaded and hijacked by the New World Order hyper-feminists who use the destruction of marriages to effectively advance their antichrist and eventual world rule.
All submission and subjection, or obedience, that a believer practices is directly to God the Father, and for His glory. He dispenses glory then to Christ, and to us now as He sees fit through Christ.
Some of our obedience in submission involves us as individuals directly with Him, i.e. worshiping Him alone. And some involves others, i.e. being subject to one another in the fear (Greek word phobos: fear, put to flight) of Christ. The whole cosmos and the cloud of witnesses are watching our lives.
If one happens to live in the west and in a democratic society that votes for two pre-arranged candidates, we’re at a huge disadvantage. One can just supposedly vote out the person, not there’s any real difference in the remaining candidate who cannot obey the gospel in a public office.
In a real kingdom with a real king, this is never done. You’re a “subject” of the crown, and in subjection to their wishes and whims at all times. If you refuse, you’re in rebellion and subject to the crown’s discipline…and even death.
Of course, we’re not advocating politics in the least, or any involvement in any way, since we’re kingdom citizens. God will place His leaders in every civil government so we are free to love our enemies, and obey His chosen ones there who bear the sword for civil respect and order (Romans 12-13).
We are never like the American colonists who fomented a “rebellion” against King George for their “independence.” What tripe. The loyal colonial citizens to the king who were Christians were persecuted and even tarred and feathered. Some were even shot and killed for their obedience to Jesus in obeying the governing authorities that God Himself had placed over them. All the while these obedient folks were called ‘traitors’ by the rebellious faction that wanted to rid themselves of the current governing authority.
So, we are to obey all the laws of the land…unless they conflict with the commands of Christ! We always obey the Father.
This is exactly the way it is in God’s kingdom. If we refuse His loving and gracious sovereignty even in the face of painful and consistent suffering, we get the admonition of Christ to the churches in Revelation 2-3: repent, or perish eternally in the lake of fire.
Let’s take a closer look at what this submission means and how people obeyed this command of our Lord. As we have seen in our works from Walk Worthy, any Greek word can have varied uses and meanings depending on the use, or the context.
The Greek word hupotasso, is from the prefix hupo – under, and tasso – to arrange, to draw up in order; definition: to place or rank under, to be or make subject, put in subjection, to submit oneself, to obey.
A brief discovery reveals a list of English words and number of times used: put in subjection (5), subject (16), subjected (7), subjecting (1), subjection (4), submissive (3), submit (2).
In looking at the word usage, we shall see that it can mean to submit (obey) to a law of the land and to God directly out of fear and respect, or to defer in love willingly and voluntarily in submitting to a husband or another believer with joy, as unto Christ Himself.
Isn’t Deferring to Another Different Than Obeying?
All proper submission for a Christian is to obey a command from Jesus Christ. No exceptions.
Many believers seem to think they only have to defer to another, and if they don’t, it’s no big deal to God. They wrongly reason that to defer is not obeying the other person. But that is the letter of Christ’s law, and not His heart. If that person is commanded to defer, and won’t, then they disobey Christ any way they slice it. In other words, to refuse to defer if reasonable is to disobey God, pure and simple.
Obviously, this submission is an extremely important doctrine to God, and thus to us too who claim His Name and Kingdom. We do best to fully understand and obey.
But first, we make a statement here.
It’s amazing to me that believers who appear earnest say they will follow and obey Jesus Christ. Yet they make little or no attempt to know what He says and how He acted as a human being in the flesh.
Some even deny in fact His human character in that they insist He was God, and therefore, never could possibly sin in the first place. This is just plain error.
We all know the key passage of mutual submission to one another.
But that is a “general” command that is clearly overridden by a more “specific” command just after this with the next verse. This is a key point in bible interpretation, or hermeneutics: first, the specific-clear-concise-consistent, and then the general-isolated-sporadic.
Many of you have been taught, and hear constantly these days, and are thinking that the Ephesians 5:21 passage shown above of mutual subjection is more important that the following verses where the wife is subject to her own husband in everything.
If that were so, then we could easily and rightly re-render this famous passage and change out the husband for wife:
Ephesians 5:22-24 Husbands, be subject (hupotasso) to your own wives, as to the Lord. For the wife is the head of the husband, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject (hupotasso) to Christ, so also the husbands ought to be to their wives in everything.
What’s going on here? This assaults our heart as the Spirit brings conviction regarding this gross and heinous error. In rewriting this incorrect re-render we’re breaking a biblical interpretation (hermeneutic) rule of using the “general” instead of the “specific.”
Specific Then General When Interpreting The Word
The rule is look at the “specific” first, then the “general.” Jesus Christ Himself taught we’re to live simply, and sell all excess possessions and give the money to the poor in order to be His disciples. For He empathically stated we cannot serve God the Father and wealth.
Luke 14:33 “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions…”
Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth…”
Yet, I hear frequently so-called believes state it’s perfectly acceptable to Christ to strive and attain wealth! One of their out-of-content and “general” verses is this below.
3 John 1:2-3 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth.
Although the word there “prospers” can mean money, it doesn’t mean wealth. It means having food and covering and with these we shall be content (1 Timothy 6:8). The apostle Paul taught economic equality in Corinthians.
Let’s take a simple example, then, of a wife correctly submitting (being subject) to her own husband (specific) and not another husband (general). If I’m in a home church meeting and I request (or require, or demand) my wife to do something, she must do it as unto Jesus Christ Himself. This is the “specific” of the Ephesians command to defer and willingly subject herself.
If another husband in the assembly, then, contradicts my request (or requirement, or demand) she must refuse him and be subject to me alone, her own husband. He would be the “general,” a ‘one another,’ and my wife is not subject to the other husband in this case, but to me alone, the “specific.” Remember too the exceptions stated earlier.
In practicality, though, in most marriages in the west, the Christian wife is rarely subject to her husband in everything. Or anything, really, if she disagrees at all. In our experience, all it takes is for the wife to say ‘God told me’ or ‘It’s unbiblical’ for her to chafe at any small requirement from her husband. She just omits and refuses the subjection, or she may outright sass and demean. But in any case, her husband is subject to her in every way. And she blasphemes the Word of God (Titus 2).
And, to boot, she often doesn’t display a gentle and quiet spirit which is precious in the sight of God (1 Peter 3). We living in the west don’t understand the demands, or consequences, of a king. Especially the King of kings.
We turn to this cryptic and eerie passage in the OT where the prophet Samuel is calling us King Saul short for disobeying the clear command of the Lord:
1 Samuel 15:22-23 Samuel said, “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination (witchcraft), and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.”
As stated earlier, much of this is fueled by the New World Order elite helping destroy the family by successfully introducing militant feminism to society over the last 150+ years in ever increasing amounts. The church of Jesus Christ, in contrast to being the salt and light, has mostly succumbed to this worldwide tsunami. The advent of global electronics have made this evil that much easier. Godly gender roles, places, and sensitivities have been supplanted.
That’s just the way it is these days. We here at Walk Worthy are out to change this demonic flip-flop in any way we can with every ounce of our being. This is for Christ’s sake and honor. We don’t want to see another generation of children and grandchildren blaspheming (the acute misrepresentation of) the Word of God.
Now…we turn our attention to passages that describe subjection. We must view them all to get the full value of the enormity that faces us with holy submission.
- Jesus obeys His parents…He didn’t just defer.
Luke 2:51 And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
- The demons obeyed the disciples…they didn’t just defer.
Luke 10:17, 20 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name…Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”
- Sinful man can’t obey God.
Romans 8:7, 10.3 ..because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so…For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.
- God forced creation to “obey” futility.
Romans 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope…
- We must obey the law of the land…not just defer. If not, our conscience is defiled and we suffer the wrath of the authorities.
Romans 13:1,5 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God…Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.
Titus 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,
1 Peter 2:13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,
- In the simple body meetings, prophets defer to one another.
1 Corinthians 14:32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets;
- Women are subject here – but this is a problematic verse, and highly controversial.
1 Corinthians 14:34 The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says.
- God the Father commands, and forces, all things to be subject to His Son and viceroy, the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, except the Father Himself who always and eternally is preeminent in the Trinity as His role defines.
1 Corinthians 15:27-28 For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.
1 Corinthians 16:16 that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors.
Ephesians 1:22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church..
Philippians 3:21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
Hebrews 2:8 YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.” For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.
Hebrews 2:5 For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking.
1 Peter 3:22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.
- Believers defer to one another and obey Christ.
Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
1 Peter 5:5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.
- Christian wives must submit and be subject to their husbands in everything, whether we say defer or obey, so that the word of God is not blasphemed (acutely misrepresented) to others and shame the name of our God.
Ephesians 5:22-24 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
Colossians 3:18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Titus 2:5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
1 Peter 3:1-6 In the same way (as shown in the submissive example of slaves in the previous passage), you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.
- Slaves must obey their masters, not defer.
Titus 2:9 Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,
1 Peter 2:18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.
- We must obey God, not defer.
Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?
James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
This is quite a bit to muse over. But when we see it here all in one place, we clearly know that in many cases to defer means to obey the Lord Himself. Saints around the globe who have a Sovereign Ruler in their government are in a much better position to fully understand the importance of what God is teaching us in His Word.
Beware the person who demands you submit to each other over the preference to the governing authorities and especially the wife to her own husband. As a matter of fact, if you rebuke is rejected for their bad doctrine here, you might as well plan to find other quarters to meet. For if you are not ‘subject’ to their stonewalling, they will sooner rather than later turn and rend you like the pigs of Matthew’s gospels.
Again, we quote The Complete Biblical Library, as it rightly puts in this way: 1) submit to God in everything, 2) submit to governing authorities in everything, 3) submit to husbands in everything, 4) submit to one another when it doesn’t interfere with the above.
We say ‘Amen, and amen!’
Please comment on this post right below. Feel free to write and proclaim your leadings in the Spirit in an honorable fashion.
Your friend and brother in fighting the good fight,
Saints, we’re one day closer to Home, and Him! Love Him wholeheartedly!
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Please comment on this post right below. Feel free to write and proclaim your leadings in the Spirit in an honorable fashion.
Marc White, Director, Walk Worthy Ministries, www.WalkWorthy.org