"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
Wives….SUBMIT to your husbands!
So if you have been keeping track of the comments under my “That’s it…I QUIT!” post, you would have noticed that a commenter has some questions regarding the submission of the woman to the man in the Bible. The contention of the commenter (among many others) is that the Bible teaches subjugation of the woman to the man, and requires her to be submissive, in an unequal setting. Rather than trying to re-create the wheel I am going to lean on a sermon given by John Piper specifically addressing Ephesians 5. This is a very good sermon that gets right to the heart of gender equality or the balance of relationships (as I like to call it). Below are some snippets of the sermon.
“So marriage is like a metaphor or an image or a picture or parable that stands for something more than a man and a woman becoming one flesh. It stands for the relationship between Christ and the church. That’s the deepest meaning of marriage. It’s meant to be a living drama of how Christ and the church relate to each other.”
“Notice how verses 28–30 describe the parallel between Christ and the church being one body and the husband and wife being one flesh. “Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it.” In other words, the one-flesh union between man and wife means that in a sense they are now one body so that the care a husband has for his wife he has for himself. They are one. What he does to her he does to himself. Then he compares this to Christ’s care for the church. Picking up near the end of verse 29, he says the husband nourishes and cherishes his own flesh, ” . . . as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.” In other words, just as the husband is one flesh with his wife, so the church is one body with Christ. When the husband cherishes and nourishes his wife, he cherishes and nourishes himself; and when Christ cherishes and nourishes the church, he cherishes and nourishes himself.”
“Think about this for a moment in relation to what we have seen so far in this series. I tried to show from Genesis 1–3 that the when sin entered the world, it ruined the harmony of marriage NOT because it brought headship and submission into existence, but because it twisted man’s humble, loving headship into hostile domination in some men and lazy indifference in others. And it twisted woman’s intelligent, willing submission into manipulative obsequiousness in some women and brazen insubordination in others. Sin didn’t create headship and submission; it ruined them and distorted them and made them ugly and destructive.”
“Therefore, headship is not a right to command and control. It’s a responsibility to love like Christ: to lay down your life for your wife in servant leadership. And submission is not slavish or coerced or cowering. That’s not the way Christ wants the church to respond to his leadership: he wants it to be free and willing and glad and refining and strengthening.”
“In other words what this passage of Scripture does is two things: it guards against the abuses of headship by telling husbands to love like Jesus; and it guards against the debasing of submission by telling wives to respond the way the church does to Christ.”
“Headship is the divine calling of a husband to take primary responsibility for Christ-like servant leadership, protection, and provision in the home.
Submission is the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts.”
“Submission does not mean putting the husband in the place of Christ. Verse 21 says you submit out of reverence for Christ. Submission does not mean that the husband’s word is absolute. Only Christ’s word is absolute. No wife should follow a husband into sin. You can’t do that in reverence to Christ. Submission does not mean surrendering thought. It does not mean no input on decisions or no influence on her husband. It does not come from ignorance or incompetence. It comes from what is fitting and appropriate (Colossians 3:18) in God’s created order.”
“The call in verse 25 for husbands to “love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her” revolutionizes the way he leads. This is where we ended last week in Luke 22:26 where Jesus says, “Let the leader become as one who serves.” In other words, husbands, don’t stop leading, but turn all your leading into serving. The responsibility of leadership is given not to puff yourself up, but to build your family up.”
This really is an awesome sermon, and has proven to be helpful to me as I continue to grow in Christ, and learn to be a true servant leader for my wife.