Submission is a pathway to upliftment.
HYMN: WHEN WE WALK WITH THE LORD
TEXT: 1 Peter 2:11- 3:8
Human life in an ordered society requires some levels of authority. God intends that some people exercise power and authority over others for the collective good of all. A serious problem occurs, however, when someone who has such God-given authority and power does not know how to use them.
Peter advised younger people to submit themselves to the elders 1 Peter 5:5. He also reminded all believers irrespective of their positions in life to be submissive to one another and to be clothed with humility. He went on to say that God “gives grace to the humble” and that God would exalt such a person “in due time” 1 Peter 5:6.
Submission was the true nature of our Savior when He was here one earth physically. The will of the Father was invariably His will. John 4:34. Matt 25:39. God does not expect anything less than that from His children. We are to submit our lives, possessions, and will to Him at all times. In addition, God has set up authorities in homes, churches, offices, and societies to regulate relationships. Submission to such authorities is submission to God who set them up.
A good way to please our God is by submitting ourselves to one another in interpersonal relationships as well as humbling our individual and collective will under the mighty hand of God. This promotes harmony and attracts God’s favor.
The objectives of this study are:
- To know what submission means
- To know that spiritual implication of submission
- To know what submission is at all levels of human relationships
- WHAT IS SUBMISSION?
To submit is to voluntarily place oneself under the power, authority, control, care, protection, and guidance of another, usually a superior. God teaches clearly from scripture that He expects us to respect and submit to leaders both spiritual and secular as those He has placed over us for our own good. Rom. 13:1, 1 Thess. 5:12-13. A person who is unwilling to follow is unprepared to lead.
Submission goes beyond mere profession. Everyone is expected to show by his actions that he is actually consecrated and submitted first to the Lord, then to our superiors and to one another. God expects us irrespective of our social status, age, experience, and achievement in life to be humble and submissive to leadership and to one another. We are to sink our egos, personal opinions and differences and accept unreservedly and whole heartedly to the leadership and authority that God has placed over us. This makes for a disciplined and wholesome society as well as fellowship.
A submissive person always sees himself as a servant to all, thinks soberly, and is wholly submitted to God and human authorities. He gives due regard and respect to the person and opinion of others. He does not oppress others. He is most willing to be defrauded if only that could engender peace and prevent approach from coming to the church. 1 Cor. 6:7.
- DISCUSS THE LORD’S SUBMISSION TO GOD AND TO MAN.
Matt. 26:39, Phil. 2:5-8, John 4:34, Matt 17:24-27
Jesus submitted to the authority of God the Father in full obedience and in serving others while here on earth physically. Yet, He stands out in history as being much more than just the greatest leader of men which the world has ever known, for He is the Lord. His birth, ministry, death on the cross and indeed everything about His mission on earth was a demonstration of submission to God the Father. Though God, He did not lay claim to his authority but humbled Himself and died on the cross (Phil. 2:8).
Jesus, though God, submitted to human authority. He paid tax to the then Roman Government (Matt. 17:24-27) and declared, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matt. 22:21). What an example for today’s believer.
Our Lord Jesus submitted to the authority of His earthly parents (Luke 2:51-52). He washed his disciples’ feet, an act which was the duty of slaves (John 13:12-17) and He said “For even the son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
The Bible says of the Lord Jesus Christ, that He made all things and that without Him was anything made that was made, man inclusive (John 1:3). Interestingly when it came to the time to fulfill the ultimate of His earthly ministry, He submitted Himself to man that He created who reviled Him, tortured and eventually killed Him. The Lord had by His own example taught that submission does not hinder a man from attaining his goal in life, rather, it is a means to quick realization of such goals.
3. DISCUSS OUR SUBMISSION IN PRACTICAL TERMS IN RELATION TO THE FOLLOWING:
Rom. 6:12-13, James 4:7
Scripture enjoins us to submit to the sovereign and perfect will of God because He is our maker and knows what is best for His children. In Jeremiah 18:1-11, we see the picture of a potter who was working without supervision, using his discretion, hands and clay to remold a marred pot he had earlier made. God our Creator will similarly make good in us whatever sin had spoiled in our lives. But we must submit ourselves to Him and all to Him to make us as it seems good to Him. The clay cannot tell the potter what it wants to be. It is only when we seek and submit to God’s will that we can live a fulfilled life as well as please God. We are to submit our bodies, money, will, time, talents, and all that we have and will ever have to Him (Rom. 12:1-8), because He is the Lord. However, the Lord doesn’t expect from us any more than we have, but He does want us to be faithful and to provide quality service that comes from doing our very best. Many voices are calling for our attention, but to God should our love and devotion be.
B. Church Authority:
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church and He in turn delegates His authority to spiritually qualified leaders in His church. God expects us to obey and be submissive to such leaders Heb. 13:17, 1 Tim. 5:17, Matt. 18:15-17.
This does not in any way mean that the Christian has no choice, idea, will, or personal say in the church. Rather, such submission implies a respect for and acknowledgment of the leader’s place before God. Church member therefore have a duty to listen to and act upon the leader’s guidance because such a leader is expected to hear, recognize, and submit to the word of God. Rebellion to church constituted authority is ungodly and will receive a just recompense from God (Rom. 13:2). We are therefore not to be rebellious nor possessive. Church leaders on the other hand must understand that they exercise such authority in trust and should therefore work in the church as servants, leading by example and not lording it over the flock. 1 Pet. 5:1-3. Such authority must be Bible based. Christians have to be careful not to entrust their spiritual direction to those who does not accept the clear teachings of God’s word. Life is too dangerous, eternity too long and our spiritual destiny too important to take chances with the leaders we follow.
The Church cannot be patterned after secular institutions. The world’s concept of leadership, obedience and commitment does not work for the church. It is said that a good leader knows the way, shows the way and goes all the way.
C. Political Leaders
(Government) 1 Pet. 2:13-17
The Christian should recognize and be submissive to all human government whether they are Christians or not. The godless and cruel Roman Emperor Nero was in power and yet Apostle Paul urged the church to pray for him and for all in authority that they may be saved and that there may be peace so that the gospel can be proclaimed without hindrance 1 Tim. 2:2. We are to be submissive to our President, Governors, Kings and all those in authority. All governments derive their authority and ability from God. They can only operate to the extent that God permits them. We therefore owe them submission unless where they ask us to do something that clearly conflicts with our faith. In that case, we obey God rather than man, Acts 4:19-20.
D. Husbands and Wives
Eph. 5:21-22, 6:4, 1 Pet. 3:1-5
Wives are to be submissive to their own husbands, whether their husbands are Christians or not. A married woman is not to disregard her husband on the ground that he is a drunkard, flirt, or dishonest and a bully etc. Submission in such condition can lead to the salvation of such husband 1 Pet. 3:1-2, 1 Cor. 7:12-16. A Christian woman married to a Christian man is to submit to her husband always. The husband is the head of the family and must be respected at all times even if he is economically, educationally, or physically disadvantaged.
The Christian man on the other hand must honor, respect, and love his wife 1 Pet. 3:7. In Gal. 3:28, Paul declared that oneness in Christ transcends all distinctions between men and women. Any demeaning attitude, comment, or action toward women by men has no basis in scripture. It is every woman’s right to be treated with respect, dignity, and honor. God expects that in our new relationships as Christians, we should be subject to one another. (Eph. 5:21) and have selfless love (Eph. 5:25). This offers us the opposite of what is commonly accepted in the world around us. Instead of submission, people prefer “self-assertion”. Christian couples are to be good witnesses by their submission to one another. We are to do this out of reverence for Christ. No one should therefore demand from the other what is ungodly.
E. Children to parents
Eph 6:1-3, Matt. 7:24
Obedience is the foundation rock of character. Obedience to parents is linked with God’s promises of long life as a reward for compliance Eph. 6:3. A disobedient child is likened to a person who built his house on sand. When a storm came it fell, while an obedient child is likened to a person who built his house on the rock. Such a house stands the test of time. We are in the last days which the Bible says will witness disobedient children 2 Tim. 3:1-5. But God commands that children should obey their parents in everything Col. 3:20. A stubborn child who remains disobedient to the parents is unwilling to change his or her ways even after many corrections stands to face God’s judgement.
F. Servants to Masters
Apostle Paul gives a principle for work which should apply to all Christians in any kind of employment- “rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to men”. A boss or master may be the harsh type, but we are to give him the respect due his position. In our discharge of duty as civil servants or in any other capacity, we are to work as serving God and not men. This will mean being honest and not indulging in malpractices which are common these days.
As servants or workers of whatever capacity, God expects us to work joyfully, heartily, honestly, loyally, as unto Himself. Eccl 9:10 says “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest”.
A Master on the other hand must realize that he is answerable to God who is “no respecter of any person.” He should not see himself as the god of others or seek only his pleasure and satisfaction.
4. WHAT ARE THE BLESSINGS OF TOTAL SUBMISSION?
Submission brings great blessing because those under authority find that they in turn receive authority (Matt. 8:9).
This will work to the advantage of the church because the church will be living in God’s order for each person’s life. God raised up all leadership in the first place (Romans 13:1-5). When we submit to those whom God has raised up in authority over us, we are in fact submitting to God Himself. Submission to God brings promotion. Submission earned our Lord Jesus a name above every name in heaven, on earth and beneath the earth (Phil. 2:9-10).
A church whose members are submissive to authority and to one another under God will experience great growth, success, and holiness. God places high premium on obedience and submission. There is a reward for honoring and co-operating with church leadership Matt. 10:41.
A husband and wife that submit to each other will experience a true Christian marriage which brings joy and happiness to each partner, as well as impact many lives that come in contact with them. It also brings glory to God. Loyalty and submission in the home will lead to loyalty and submission to God and to the nation.
DAILY LIVING APPLICATION
There can be no true joy experienced by the Christian, according to the song writer, until all on the altar we lay. Similarly, we may never enjoy the true joy of fellowship with fellow believers until we tow the part of submission. The radiance that is seen in Christians derives from their submission to God. The Lord Jesus takes away the burden and leaves us with His yoke which is easy and His burden which is light, in addition to His peace which passes all human understanding of His will in all things. There’ll be less friction among Christians when submission becomes our watch word in all interpersonal relationships.
When we are brought to a level in life at which submission, to us, becomes to lose our sense of bearing. We must remember we also have a Master in heaven and that there is no partiality with Him. Eph. 6:9.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”.
Monday: Jesus submitted to the will of the Father
Tuesday: Christians are to submit to one another in love
Wednesday: The younger to submit to the elders
1 Pet. 5:5
Thursday: Wives must submit to their own husbands
Eph. 5:22-24, Col. 3:8
Friday: Submit to church leadership
Saturday: We are to submit to human governments
Rom. 13:1-7, Titus 3:1-7