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Submission, Not Again!

1 Peter 5.5a
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders.
The elders that Peter is referring to are the pastors, the spiritual leaders of the church.  The church members, especially the young people, are to give honor, deference, and respect to spiritual leadership. Submission is a fundamental attitude of spiritual maturity. Lack of submission to the elders not only makes the ministry difficult but also forfeits God’s grace. Matthew Henry, the great puritan Bible commentator, writes, “Humility preserves peace and order in all Christian churches and societies; pride disturbs them. Where God gives grace to be humble, he will give wisdom, faith, and holiness. To be humble, and subject to our reconciled God, will bring greater comfort to the soul than the gratification of pride and ambition.” He is right on the mark!

A little more on submission. Accepting authority and clothing ourselves with humility sounds like the dark ages to modern readers. If you want to appear “out of sync” with modern culture, talk about the virtue of submission to authority. Granted, submission has often been a convenient cover for perpetuating racism, physical abuse, or political injustice.

Biblical submission, however, assumes that authority is given by God to leaders in a church. These leaders, under God’s care, nurture the church by establishing priorities, maintaining order, judging moral dilemmas, resolving conflicts, and interpreting the Word of God for today. That’s a big responsibility, and it requires teamwork. True leaders—humble servants of God whose hearts are strong with faith—deserve our support and cooperation.

Submission or accepting authority has become distasteful to our society; instead, many have made gods out of autonomy and independence. But God has a prior claim to our lives that is more binding than the mores of any given culture. In His church, we are to show respect and accept authority. Do you despise authority? Maybe you should check to see who controls your life.

Pastor Jeff
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