Here again is one of those passages that often is taken out of context. How could Paul be talking about slavery of women in the household? Well….he’s not. He’s talking about submission…
Submission??? Yes. And, in case you haven’t noticed lately, ‘Submission’ is one of our FPJ church values – the banner hangs on the south wall furthest toward the west. Submission – it has a very negative connotation in today’s culture doesn’t it. So, when you read “submit yourselves” don’t stop there…get to the important part of the passage…”as you do to the Lord”. Equal and loving submission.
Paul is talking about relationships in the home…often referred to as the “Household Code”. First Peter also contains a “Household Code” (1 Peter 2:13-3:9) and it also contains ‘submission’. Often in marriage ceremonies, rings are exchanged between man and woman…rings, round in nature to symbolize the unending covenant being made between the two…in a Christian wedding, between the 3…man, woman and Jesus.
Christ’s death was “to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word” – this is not baptismal regeneration because as you know by now that is not Paul’s purpose in this book. The “Word” is the preached word for all to hear. Paul just got finished yesterday encouraging his readers to be wise in the Holy Spirit – today he is applying this to specific life relationships. It is relatively easy to “live” a Spirit-filled life on Sunday morning – a couple of hours at most…but it really takes the work of the Holy Spirit in everyday relationships – in today’s passage shown to us as husbands and wives. Bo and Craig will handle the upcoming examples. In each of the examples the first partner is to be submissive as is the second partner. Both partners are to act toward one another as a being in service to Christ Jesus. The “submit-love” relationship then is the harmonious partnership, in today’s passage, in marriage.
Submission??? Absolutely…in our relationships together…as individuals…the church, etc., “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”.