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Mutual Submission

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I love submission! Submission is a godly characteristic that was exemplified by Jesus. Submission is fundamental to healthy Christian living and relationships that honour God, but it has been misunderstood and distorted by many people, including well-meaning, sincere Christians.

The Bible teaches:
Submit to one another out of reverence for the Lord. Ephesians 5:21

In humility consider others better than yourselves. Each should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3b-4

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. 1 Corinthians 10:24

What about submission between husband and wife?
In Ephesians 6 Paul writes to slaves to obey (hupakouete) their masters (Eph 6:5) and children to obey (hupakouete) their parents (Eph 6:1) but the word used in relation to wives in Ephesians 5:21 does not mean obey, it is to submit (hupotassesthe, from the word hupotasso.) The relationship between a wife and her husband is not one of blind obedience, but of submission. (Nowhere in the Greek New Testament does it use the word "obey" in regards to the marriage relationship.)

Further, it's not just the wives that should be submissive...

(Hopefully you can follow the next bit...read it slowly...)
In Peter's first letter he tells us to submit to every secular authority. (1 Peter 2:13)
Then he tells slaves to submit to their masters. (1 Peter 2:18)
Then he tells wives, in the same way, to be submissive to their husbands. (1 Peter 3:1)
THEN he says husbands IN THE SAME WAY live with your wives. (1 Peter 3:7)
The NIV adds the words "be considerate" in verse 7; but in the Greek those words are not there, it simply says "in the same way live with your wives", implying submission from them also.

Just in case you think that last argument was a bit of a stretch, Ephesians 5:21-22 is similar, in that the Greek word for submit is mentioned in verse 21: Submit to one another, but the word does not reappear in verse 22, (in the most reliable Greek manuscripts) it is merely implied just like in 1 Peter 3:7. (Check it out.)

For some, submission is seen as weakness, but it takes a generous, secure and mature person to willingly and graciously submit. Mutual submission is God's ideal, and intention in every relationship, including the marriage relationship.

John MacArthur, in The Masters Plan for the Church (1991:67) writes:
When people are filled with the Spirit of God, they submit to one another (Eph 5:21—6:9). In a family situation, that means that wives will submit to their husbands and husbands will submit to their wives by loving them with a nourishing, cherishing and purifying love...Submission flows from Spirit-filled lives. The church is to make sure that families are controlled by the Spirit of God so that they can experience blessedness from everyone's submission to one another.

On of the paradoxes of Christianity is that leaders are servants! Jesus Christ demonstrated this many times, especially when He washed His disciples feet as an act of profound humility and servitude despite being the Messiah, Lord and Saviour of the world. In fact almost every aspect of Jesus life was marked by humility, sacrifice and service!!!

Everyone, especially those with the responsibility of leadership, should intentionally try to follow Christ's example found in Philippians 2:3-8. (Compare it with Eph 5:25)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,
But in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests
But also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who being in the very nature God,
Did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped,
But made himself nothing,
Taking the very nature of a servant,
Being made in the likeness of man,
He humbled Himself and became obedient to death
- Even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:3-8.

Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25

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