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Submitting to Submission

1 Peter 3.1-6
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

I realize that submission often has unpleasant implications for modern Christians, perhaps because this principle has been abused in the past and has been used to justify overbearing and self-serving behavior. But Jesus was willing to submit to the will of His Father and to the agonies of the cross. “Submission” is not a bad word. How do you respond to the idea of submitting to others? Are you willing to place the interests and desires of others ahead of your own in Jesus’ name?

In our Scripture today, Peter tells us what a wife should do if her husband is an unbeliever or very difficult to live with. Peter says she should accept the authority of her husband. To accept authority means to cooperate voluntarily with someone else out of love and respect for God and for that person. For Christian couples, submission must be mutual. Paul wrote, Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5.21 NIV). When only one partner believes, submission can be an effective Christian strategy to win unbelievers. Jesus Christ submitted to God’s will and died so that we could be saved. A Christian wife may sometimes have to submit in unpleasant circumstances so that her husband will see that Christ is her Lord and come to believe. However, Christian submission never requires us to disobey God, submit to abuse, or participate in what our Holy Spirit–directed conscience forbids. One-sided submission requires tremendous strength. Ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to help you obey Christ in your marriage. And let us, wives and husbands, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ to the glory of our Heavenly Father.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Pastor Jeff
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