Eph 5:21-6:9

The Christian life & family are polar opposites to how we see things according to the trends and culture of our present world system. Let me explain! Our relationships in general are completely different under the truth of the gospel with how we respond and treat one another. Our relationships in general are now different because of the gospel. (Eph 2:11-22) Our relationships with our spouses are different because of the gospel (Eph 5:22-33) Our relationships with our children are different because of the gospel. (Eph 6:1-4) Our relationship with this world is different because of the gospel. (Eph 6:10-24). Were going to look at this portion of Paul’s letter addressing the importance of the roles when it comes to marriage and the family. According to what we read in the Book of Genesis, marriage is designed by God and how it works the best.

“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Gen 2:15-25

Here is where we see the blessings and biblical foundation to marriage according to God, not man! But before we can understand the biblical roles in the marriage, we need to understand a nasty word that causes heart rates and blood pressures to rise, to church splits, to splitting hairs in social circles. It’s a word that many feminists have claimed and tried to say that the scriptures prove their point of male arrogance or chauvinistic thinking. Some women say “See the Bible can’t be trusted because it teaches that men are superior and women are inferior.” Where I would refute that and say with Peter “husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7. It’s not a male chauvinistic thing; this is how God designed the man and the woman to function and live in the parameters of God’s biblical foundation, all for His glory. It’s not that a woman is less equal and less important to God or men. We as men are to display to our wives by showing them honor as equal heirs saved by sovereign grace by a glorious King. So what’s the word that causes so much controversy?

And that word is “Submit” this means to “to arrange under” or “to rank oneself beneath another.” It’s used in the military to refer to the subordination of soldiers in an army to those of a superior rank. What that means is that a good soldier “surrenders control or “Relinquishes one rights.”. They turn loose of their selfish agendas and live in submission and for the good of others. This is the submissive order that God has prepared before the foundation of the world. Christians submit to one another, Wives to husbands, children to parents, slaves to masters. When Paul says submit to one another, and here with wives, it’s out of reverence for Christ Jesus. We submit to others because Christ is the ultimate authority over our lives. Paul said “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” Rom 6:17-18. Remember we belong to the King, who is the Head over the kingdom that is yet to come. It’s out of this reverence, we gladly submit, to the rule and serve others with compassion. It’s Paul who said “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant (slave) to all, that I might win more of them.” 1 Cor 9:19. Submission is not a word we are to get angry with or have it cause division amoung the family of God, or amoung our friends.

There is much misunderstanding in our world today about the roles of husband and wife within a marriage. Even when the biblical roles are properly understood, many choose to reject them in favor of a supposed “emancipation” of women, with the result that the family unit is torn apart. It’s no surprise that the world rejects God’s design, but God’s people should be joyfully celebrating that design. It’s for our good and this is God’s perfect order that governs our lives.

The bible says 
Submit one another. (Eph 5:21)
Submit to those who rule over you. (Rom 13:1-5)
Submit to human institutions (1 Peter 2:13)
Submit to faithful teachers/laborers of the gospel. (1 Cor 16:16)
Submit to your elders/leaders in the church (Heb 13:17)

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Heb 13:17

Why do we submit? Because Jesus said “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matt 6:10. Because it brings harmony and love amoung the family, the church, and displays to a darkened world the error of their ways. We need to understand as we continue that submission is not about the value of a personBut the order God designed it to be before the foundations of the world for His image bearers. Specifically here the marriage. It’s not a matter of value, or women are less important. I say that because this text doesn’t say “Men make your women to submit to you.” I’ve never or I would never force my wife to submit to me; especially if my life isn’t exemplifying Christ to her as precious woman that she is to me. Her value and worth means more to me than life itself. Because I know who she belongs too. The King! Submission is a word the culture likes or tries to paint as hate speech or evil and has no place anywhere in today’s progressive world. If that were true then what do we do about our Police force, Military and Justice system?
The world hates this word as it relates to God and especially as it relates to marriage. The argument is that we don’t live in a cave anymore and this is 2018. One writer named Susan Pease said “Marriage is a wonderful institution in many ways, but the conclusion that I draw is that it is incredibly outdated as it is.” What we consider to be the normal function for the home and marriage, the culture at large sees much differently. This is not simple a traditional biblical world view, versus a postmodern or progressive view, on marriage and family. This is not simply a cultural war, but a spiritual war, as Paul says at the end of this letter. John Stott said “Marriage is an exclusive heterosexual covenant between one man and one woman, ordained and sealed by God, proceeded by leaving of parents, consummated in sexual union, issuing in a permanent mutually supportive partnership and normally crowned with the gift of children.” This order is in line with the submissive order for the marriage and family. But we need to understand and this includes our single people present as wellMarriage is a covenant union between a man and a woman that is permanent, sacred, intimate, mutual, and exclusive. But it’s not about the marriage that makes it great! It’s all about ChristWhen we submit to Christ, the directions to how we live are set in place for the marriage, the family, single life and the church. As one writer said “We should realize that Christ, not marriage, is ultimate.”

See, our primary loyalty must be to Jesus. And through a Spirit filled life enabled by the Holy Spirit, we are able to submit to one another as individuals, as the roles in the home and in the church. (v22) “wives submit to your own husband.” This word submit, is perfectly in line with the submissive order of the Christian, the church and the family. This word is properly being used by what has been previously said by the Apostle Paul. (v21) is the spring board or the umbrella for how we are to live by being Spirit filled through the Spirit who enables us to do such a thing. Paul says submit to one another which are not natural to become natural. How is that possible? It’s possible through the gospel confession through the work of the Holy Spirit who enables us to do what is not natural, which is love and submit to people. And in this is case its wives submitting to their “own” husbands.  Why are wives to submit? Answer is found in (v23-v24) “Husband is the head” (v23) This is a position of order and authority ordained by God. (Gen 2, 1 Tim 2).

What does headship in marriage call husbands to do or be? Answer! Servant leadership, its exercising his position as the head with a Savior style servant leadership. This leadership is not given to exercise oppression, or self-serving, but loving leadership. Think about this for a moment! Would a woman be afraid to submit herself to a man who loved her as much as Jesus loved the church? Would a woman fight and kick and scream against the leadership of a man who was willing to give his lifeblood to anything he could to save her life? The kind of authority the husband is to have over the wife is a model of sacrificial love as Christ loved the church. A wife is called to submit to her own husband who is willing to die for her.

How will I know to submit? When your husband is the first to apologize, to forgive and to serve you as Christ loved and served the church with His very life.

Submission is not!
Treating your wife as your own personal slave or subservient.
Treating your wife like a roommate where you’re not obligated to be transparent.
Treating your wife as if you’re Captain Kirk, commander and chief of the Starship Enterprise.
Treating your wife that she has to obey you at all times without question.
Treating your wife as a maid as you stretched out on the couch. By saying “bring me the pretzels, during a hockey game.”

Ladies, I want to share what John Piper had to say about wives submitting to your own husbands. 
Submission is not agreeing on everything.
Submission is not leaving your brain at the altar.
Submission does not mean you never try to influence your husband.
Submission is not putting the will of the husband before the will of Christ.
Submission does not mean getting all your spiritual strength through your husband.
Submission does not mean living or acting in fear.

It’s interesting that the scriptures say to wives to “submit” and the husbands to what? “love”. (v25)

Why not call the wives to love and omit the word submit? Submit is to give oneself up to somebodyLove is to give oneself up for somebodyBecause to submit is to put the will of others ahead of yourself and your will. To love is to put the needs of others ahead of your needs. This is an expression of service to love your wives as Christ loved the church. The exercise of biblical headship should enable wives to know the fullness of God’s grace in their lives and their marriage. This is done through their husbands demonstrating the qualities of Christ towards them through their devotion and the expression of service as the head of the home. If he is not doing this….. Then he is failing at his submissive role in the marriage. And he will have to answer to God for this lack of love that he is supposed to be demonstrating to His wife, (to you).

Ladies the best way I can explain your role under the submissive order is this way….. Look to the Trinity…the Godhead, Jesus the Son is subordinate to the Father. The Holy Spirit is subordinate to both the Father and the Son. Yet at the same time we insist that the Son of God and the Holy Spirit are co-eternal, co-essential, equal in unbounded power, as they are equal with the Father. The Son is not inferior to the Father, and the Spirit, is not inferior to the Son and the Father. You have different roles, but equal in the marriage, so do not look upon this word as something that is demeaning or makes you feel less of a human. You are a daughter of the King and He holds you with high honor as His precious daughters. This doesn’t mean you don’t display love and only submit; these two work hand in hand. Titus 2:4-5 we read “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” See the motivation of your submission and love is godliness unto the Lord as we read here in (v22) “as to the Lord” Everything you do in obedience to the Lord should also be done all for His glory. It’s your desire to please Him as we’ve seen in (v10) of this chapter. What is pleasing to God? Your godly submission to your own husband and God’s perfect order for the marriage and the family. Why is this so important of a role? (v24) is the answer because this is ultimately a beautiful picture of marriage. Wives are a picture of the church to the world lost in darkness. Wives are a picture of God’s grace through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The loving husband is like Christ! The submissive wife is like His glorious church.


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