I agree that some people don’t like the word “submission,” especially when it is combined with, “to her husband.”
Until I understood the meaning, I too used to get offended by all those Bible verse that call a wife to submit to her husband.
Well, truth sets us all free, doesn’t it! Praise God!
So, I want to share with you three points under the topic of wife’s submission that set me free forever.
Before I do that though, let me quote one passage of Scripture:
The Bible says, “ Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:22-24
Here are the three points:
- We have to see the word of God in its entirety:
As I’ve already said in many of my messages, I will say it again here: It is fatal for all of us to try to lead our lives based on one verse or passage of the Bible but by the whole counsel of the word of God.
Whether the verse says, “submit to your own husband,” or “love your wife as Jesus loved the church,” we have to see these verses and others through the lenses of the whole message of Scriptures.
So what does that mean?
Okay, so, the Bible says, “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:37
In effect, the word of God calls us to love God first before we love anyone because we can only truly love others if we love God first. It is only God who can teach us to love others in truth, in the way that won’t hurt us and others.
Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15
Loving God is the commandment that encompasses all the commandments of God (Romans 13:10). That means, we obey God’s words by loving Him. And we can’t just go around and say, “I love God.” We have to show our love in action by obeying the word of God. And we can obey the word of God only if we have faith in the word of God. And faith comes from hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17).
True faith shows its presence by its action for faith without work is dead (James 2:14-20). That leads me to my next point.
- The wife’s submission to her husband has a limit
And guess what that limit is? The love of God! Praise God!
In Ephesians 5:23, at the end, it says, “wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
Here it says, “in everything.”
If a wife thinks that she has to submit to her husband in “everything,” disregarding what the other passages of the Bible are saying, she lives outside the will of God, she lives outside the blessings of God.
Let me give you one simple example that may show you this point very clearly. (This is something I see often in marriage counseling.)
So, let’s say, the husband asks his wife to take part in watching porn in the bedroom or do something that disturbs her mind and spirit, for instance, to do anal sex. The wife, who thinks that she has to “submit to her husband in everything,” goes with the flow even if the Holy Spirit nudges her spirit, bringing into her memory verses such as Matthew 10:37 or John 14:15.
She says, “I have to submit to my husband in everything as the Bible says.”
It is very sad to see this often these days.
Friends, there is no “unlimited submission and unlimited love!”
The love of God is the limit for “submission” as well as “love.”
If, for example, a wife continuously goes to another man (committing adultery) and refuses to repent of her sin, her husband has to divorce her for the Bible that says, “love your wife,” also says, “anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality.” That means, he has to divorce his wife for “sexual immorality” (which fits the above scenario – not one mistake but continuous adultery without any remorse). He divorces her because the husband loves God more than he loves his wife.
Loving God first protects us from everything that can hurt us and separate us from God. And the last point is:
- The wife’s submission to God comes first
Not only the wife has to love God first but she also has to submit to God first before she submits to her husband. This is something we wives have to remind ourselves.
Because we CANNOT submit to our husbands unless we first submit to God, give ourselves to the will and word of God, strive to lead our lives by prayer and study of the word of God.
No wife can submit to her husband unless and otherwise she first submits to God because it is God who enables her and gives her strength to be the wife her husband wants her to be and the wife the word of God is calling her to be.
God has to be first in our lives. So, the key message in the above passage, Ephesians 5:22, is not “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands,” but the key message is,
“as you do to the Lord.”
That is KEY! ///