17/10/2018: Aspects of Submission | Timothy Rist

Bible Study: 17 October 2018: “Aspects of Submission”: Rev. Tim Rist
 Submission: “The action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to
the will or authority of another person.” [Google Dictionary]
 Submission as a concept, invokes a variety of responses within people. For some
it is fearful notion especially when violence is used to enforce submission in
relationships; for others it is regarded as evil especially when a system or
government uses violence and force to gain power. Submission is at times
misunderstood when it comes to interpreting Scripture, Biblical texts taken out of
context have been used to deliberately manipulate and mislead worshippers,
which has caused pain and fractures within the body of Christ.
 Submission is part of the fabric of life [Laws of Nature; Laws of the land; Traffic
rules and regulations …]
 There are many examples in Scripture of submission. Submit to…:
– The power and authority of God [10 Commandments – Gen 20:1-17].
– To God’s Will [Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane – Matthew 26:39 and
Luke 22:42]
– To obedience to the Gospel calling to live a Christ Following life [Phil.2:3-
– To the government and authorities [Romans 13:1-7].
– To God’s Law [Romans 8:5-9].
– To ensure victory over the devil [James 4:7].
– To God’s plan and purpose for our life [Eph. 2:10].
 Human beings while created in the image of God are rebellious and disobedient
in their nature [Gen. 3 – Adam and Eve]. Actions always have consequences,
and this is true for disobedient actions too. In this story disobedience led to the
disconnect in the relationship between God and humankind.
 Sin is the refusal to submit to the authority of God. Learning to embrace
submission entails learning to confront and deal with sin. The ultimate example of
this process is Jesus [John 1:14 and John 15:12-13 and John 3:17]; Jesus lived
his life in perfect submission to the Father’s Will and Purpose and through his life,
and death on the Cross, because of his submission, people are able to reconnect
with the Father and are saved [John 3:16]. Jesus could have exercised his own
will in the garden and so avoided the personal agonising consequences of
submission; instead he refused to avoid the agony of the Cross and embraced
his calling [Hebrews 5:7-8]; for our benefit.
 Submission and salvation go hand in hand.
 Ephesians 5 is probably the most often used, and abused, passage referred to
when dealing with the topic of submission; however, it should rather become the
primary source of inspiration for us. This chapter must be dealt with prayerfully,
compassionately and in its context too.
 Context of the book: Ephesians is primarily a book written to encourage unity
within a diverse group of Hellenistic converts, drawn from all walks and stations in
life. Ephesians is a powerful book of encouragement and useful to ensure a
successful strategy for living out the Christian faith. We must keep Ch.5 in that
Bible Study: 17 October 2018: “Aspects of Submission”: Rev. Tim Rist
context and extrapolate from it the calling to us in our 21st century context
[Ch.6:1-9 must be approached with compassion and wisdom!].
 Key verses to guide our discussion in Ch. 5 -:
1-2: Imitate God, live in love as Christ loved us.
3-14: Lifestyle choices!
21: This is of primary importance to the whole chapter; everything connects to
22-32: Paul then uses the metaphor of marriage to explain his point – the key
for both the husband and the wife – is the deliberate placing of themselves in
submission to the Father, as Jesus did! This is not about subservience, it is
not about a human power struggle; look at the text – the man and the woman
are equal, and all are in this together [Ch 4:1-7].
25: Is often avoided – it is a biblical imperative. The word “obey” does not
appear in any text!
30: The equality of this act of submission – we are in unity in submission in
the body of Christ.
 Biblical submission then fosters the right relationship with God, with each other
and between spouses [the “great mystery” v.32].
 Denise Larson Cooper puts it well:
“Christian submission is not an act of human will. It is divine work. We can
submit to God’s authorities and His will only through the power of the Holy
Spirit. Christ offers his righteousness to believers, so the work of submission
is faith. Through faith in Christ we receive his righteousness as our own and
keep his commandments through the power the Holy Spirit. Furthermore,
Christ eternally intercedes on our behalf before the Father. Christ empowers
us to follow Him in submission.
How should Christians submit? “Out of our love for Christ and our gratitude for
his work of salvation Christians choose to submit their way, wills, affections,
thoughts, desires and understanding to God. In all matters of submission our
conscience guides us to obey” (Spurgeon).
We trust ourselves to Christ knowing that He submitted himself to God for our
sake. He laid down his life for us, so through the power of the Holy Spirit we
can lay down our life for Christ for the sake of the Gospel.” (www.crosswalk.com)

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