Verses 22-24 of Ephesians 5 explain the doctrine of submission. Now this is a bad word to many women, because it has been defined so badly or used inappropriately to oppress or subjugate women. Most women hear the word submission and think, Oh, no, not that. The dreaded "s" word. But submission is a biblical concept. Jesus submitted Himself to the will of the Father, so we know right off that submission has nothing to do with inferiority. Jesus is equal to God the Father (see Phil. 2:6); He is "very God of very God," as the theologians say. So submission doesn't have to do with the wife being less than the husband. Submission has to do with accomplishing a divine agenda. Jesus submitted to the Father in order to accomplish the divine plan in our salvation. Husbands and wives are equal heirs of God's grace (see 1 Pet. 3:7). A wife is of the same value as her husband. Submission doesn't mean she has to be a doormat or any such thing. Any woman is equal to any man in value before God and man. But when it comes to His kingdom agenda a wife's submission is absolutely necessary. It means that she recognizes his position as head of the home to accomplish God's agenda in the world. Thus marriage, like the trinity, is a hierarchical partnership. While all parties are equal in value, essence, and significance, there is a distinction in function (hierarchy) in order to fulfill God's kingdom in history. This issue of submission hits right at the heart of what it means to be a Christian. Therefore, a wife who does not submit to her husband is not submitted to God. She can do all the spiritual stuff, but if she is not reverencing her husband as her head, she is living in carnality. I realize this may not be a popular message today, but God did not call me to be popular. I want to encourage and affirm Christian couples as they seek to carry out God's agenda. But before we can get this thing right, we need to be honest about the problems we face. What I'm about is helping you and me face ourselves honestly in the light of God's Word.
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