Ephesians 5:21. “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

Exploring Ephesians: 5:21 Living | Redeemer Church

First, let me point out that this verse comes set in the matrix of being filled with the Holy Spirit.  Without that, we will not submit to one another’s needs.  Why?  Because we don’t want to!  We are born with a nature to put ourselves first. Infants learn very quickly that if they cry at a certain pitch, with a certain fervency, someone will come and care for them. In their first year of life, most babies are the center. We spend the next 17 or so years trying to teach them they are NOT the center. We are selfish at heart. The idea of submission to anyone else is naturally repugnant.  God is teaching us a different way here, and it starts with being filled up and controlled by the Holy Spirit of God.

Second, I want to point out that this verse is NOT discussing marriage. It is simply an admonition that we are to consider the needs of others before our own. Its application is universal, not limited to husbands and wives. Jesus has set the example. He  submitted to the will of the Father. He submitted to the need of mankind for a Savior Who would open the way to sonship with the Father. His submission is clearly defined in I Peter 2:21-25. The submission of Jesus was complete.

I will have more to say on submission as we get into the verses about marriage.  Submission is a beautiful thing. The world has tried to make it ugly, but when a marriage is set in the matrix of the filling of the Holy Spirit, there is just no comparison to marriage that is set in putting oneself first.

This entire passage, starting in verse eight, is a series of commands concerning how we are to live out our lives as believers. In the next several verses, Paul illustrates how it all works in  biblical marriage, always keeping in mind that the setting is the filling of the Spirit.


2 thoughts on “Submit!

  1. michaelkreger

    The context is critical. The attitudes and behaviors of the people who are submitting to each other are listed in the previous verses:

    “but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.”

    If THOSE things are not happening, we will not be submitting to one another, either. There is JOY in this passage, and God is the center of all of it. Without that joy, expressed by the music as a normal form of communication, indicated OVERWHELMING joy, then the rest of it falls apart.

    Problem is, too many men (and occasionally women) want to SUBJUGATE others, rather than allow the others to submit themselves. But very rarely will these men submit to ANYONE.

    Anyone who demands my submission is highly unlikely to get it. Because they are ignoring the first, and most important, command in the “submission” string of commands: EVERY SINGLE ONE of us is to voluntarily submit to EVERYONE else. None of us is to demand submission from the others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And you’ve written a good part of tomorrow’s post 🙂 Not really, but as you know, this is exactly what I believe God is teaching us in this passage. I loved Mark Minnich’s definition of submission in your wedding ceremony. Well, it wasn’t exactly his, but it was the first time I’d heard it. I’ll be using it tomorrow.


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