In our society submission is not a popular belief to hold. It is ridiculed as ancient and not holding to our contemporary standards. In the age of political correctness, we are labeled as hate mongers when we teach and preach submission, but what does submission really mean and should it be practiced today.
Biblically speaking, submission is willingly placing yourself under the will or authority of another person. It’s clear that in our society today this word carries with it a certain stigma of inequality or inferiority. This is mostly due to the rise of feminist ideology in our western culture. It is viewed as weakness or failing to live up to our potential.
Many are opposed to the idea of submission because it goes hand in hand with humility. We are a prideful people so anything requiring humility will naturally go against the natural (selfish) desires of the heart.
However, it is absolutely unbiblical to view submission in this way. Biblical submission is making less of ourselves to do what is best for the Kingdom of God. It has absolutely nothing to do with inequality or inferiority. This is most clearly seen in the life of Jesus:
Jesus said in John 6:38, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.”
Nobody, with a right view of Jesus, would accuse Him of being inferior to God the Father. Nobody, with a right view of Jesus, would accuse Him of being unequal with God the Father.
Philippians 2:5-7- “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men”
This text not only shows us that the willful submission of Christ to God the Father, in no way, made Him lesser in any sense of the word. Furthermore, it specifically tells us to have the same mindset of Christ.
The fact is, we all have someone we are to submit to:
To each other- Ephesians 5:21
To our spouse- Ephesians 5:22-31
To our parents- Ephesians 6:1-3
To our employers- Ephesians 6:5-8
To our government- Romans 13:1-7
To God- James 4:7
Submission is good, right, and biblical. It is not a sentence of a lesser life- it is following in the footsteps of Jesus to walk in His example.
Faith alone is an important way to describe the act of salvation. Ephesians 2 makes it abundantly clear that faith is what’s required. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
There’s a system of belief referred to “easy believism”- essentially the gospel, and salvation, are totally free of any works of mankind. When it comes to salvation, I fully affirm that truth; not only is it given freely as a gift, but I can’t work for it.
However, they take their system a little further to say that, even post conversion, to expect a Christian to act a certain way as proof of salvation is a works-based salvation. So, the question then becomes- are their certain things that we must do after salvation? Or, maybe to put it another way, does salvation produce anything in our lives?
There is overwhelming textual evidence that salvation comes to a person where they are, but it doesn’t leave them there:
Ephesians 2:10- “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
2 Peter 1:5-9- “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."
Titus 2:14- “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
James 2:17-18- “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”
I could give more but this should suffice. Needless to say, it is absolutely biblical to expect Christians to live a certain way after their conversion. The Gospel is incredibly easy to believe- God couldn’t have made it easier. However, to suggest that it is able to be lived easily, or at least that it is acceptable to do so, is simply not found in the Word of God.
May we heed the instructions of 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” Faith alone accomplishes salvation- salvation accomplishes faith and works.