Lucia's Blog: 2020-05-03
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Thursday, May 7, 2020

SUBMISSION - GOD'S PLAN FOR EVE


"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening." 
I Peter 3:1-6



There is a real war going on, a war against the Bible home.  Those who despise the Bible tell us that it is a war for equality. As it turns out, we have learned that it is a war against gender roles as defined by the Bible. It is an attack against Bible femininity.  Modern “feminism” mocks God like Goliath mocked David.  It looks like most of Israel is hiding from Goliath again today.  We must be vocal here about these things and not just stick our heads in the sand. It is happening now!  So, I challenge you to dig into the Scriptures with me and find the definitions and what the Word of God has to say about submission for wives and Bible headship and leadership.  My goal is to clarify some of these errors with the hope of changing that perception.

The word "submission" is found in the Bible several times, but sadly many ignore it.  But if a woman is committed to honoring her Lord and living a righteous life to the glory of God, she must be humble enough to accept with a humble heart what God demands of her in life and marriage and about His plan for everything. You see, when we approach the Bible as God's ultimate authority, we will be humble enough to understand and apply it in our lives.  God's Word must not be interpreted based on our feelings but instead on what God has declared in His Word without twisting it to suit our needs and our emotions whatever they might be.  May we accept God's Truth on what He calls submission.  May we women of God search our hearts and open them to the riches of God's Truth to change the attitudes of our hearts.  May we be more open to applying God's principles of righteousness to show honor and respect to our husbands.  May we look within our own marriages and families and make the necessary changes in our relationship with our husbands and, most importantly, our God after this lesson is over.  And while every marriage is different in that some are built on a strong Biblical foundation and godly principles, there are other relationships where that is not the case.  Sadly, some husbands treat their wives poorly, abusing their responsibility, and the role that God has given them toward their wives both emotionally and physically.  


I.  WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT SUBMISSION?

In today's feminist culture, the word "submission" has a bad reputation.  When our rebellious society hears "wives submit to your husband," they immediately get annoyed.  They tell us that submission to a man is demeaning.  They say it is a weakness.  They are in rebellion.  But against whom are they rebelling?  Many women and even some of my sisters in Christ have headship upside down.  Just like the world, they seem to forget their obligation to submit to their husbands and respect their decisions.  Moreover, some husbands demand submission from their wives in obedience to the Lord but do not love their wives as God commands, nor do they model faithfulness or devotion to the Lord.  They demand sacrifice when they themselves will not sacrifice.  

I would like to start with the famous words of Ephesians 5:21-33.
"Subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.  22 Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, being himself the saviour of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it; 26 that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his own wife loveth himself: 29 for no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ also the church; 30 because we are members of his body. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great: but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church. 33 Nevertheless do ye also severally love each one his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she fear her husband."  

Our text emphasizes the "submission" of wives to their husbands and the "love" of husbands toward their wives.  The roles of men and women are evident in the Scriptures from the very beginning of Creation.  It is not a small thing that the apostle Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit reinforced the role and relationship of husbands with wives by portraying their submission as parallel to the relationship of Jesus with His church.  Can we really submit to God's authority and ignore His demands as found in His Word in the matter of our relationship as husband and wife?  Can we really ignore what the Word of God commands us to do about submission?  Is it possible that submission might bring peace to our home?  Wives must submit to their husbands as unto the Lord.  That is, we must submit to our husbands because God commands it!  God wants us to treat others the way He does, and that includes our husbands. He commands that we treat our husbands with honor, selflessness, support, and respect.  So we must do as God commands, stepping back and letting our husbands take the lead.  God demands that we serve Him in the roles in which He has placed us as wives and mothers, for that is His divine order.

  • Submission in The Fear of Christ (Reverence):
    • What Does it Mean to Subject (Submit) Ourselves to One Another in The Fear of Christ?  
In Paul's admonition, "Subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ " (verse 21), the verb (hypotassō)  means "to subject or subordinate."  Here Paul is focusing mostly on what one does to oneself:  one must submit oneself to others.  That is "submission in the sense of voluntary yielding in love" (The Bauer-Ardnt-Gingrich-Danker Greek English Lexicon).  This voluntary yielding is what characterizes the true children of God as they yield to Him (Philippians 2:3, 5).  Jesus said, 
"But whosoever would become great among you shall be your minister; 27 and whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant: 28 even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:26-28).

By the same token, both the apostles Peter and Paul urged us to submit to elders and all to submit to one another.  In I Peter 5:4-5, the apostle Peter urged the younger men to submit or be subject to (hupotagete) those who are older.
"Likewise, ye younger, be subject unto the elder. Yea, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another: for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble."   

Likewise, Paul urged masters,
"And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, and forbear threatening: knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no respect of persons with him"  (ta auta, Eph. 6:9).   

The slaves were to treat them "with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart" (verse 5).  It implies reciprocity between masters and slaves.  The exhortation given to Christians in Ephesians 5:21 is thus, an exhortation to mutual submission to "one another."

In the New Testament, the longest statement on the relationship between husbands and wives is found in  Ephesians 5:22-33, and it parallels Colossians 3:18-19, where Paul briefly states the main points of his teaching.  I will be analyzing Ephesians 5:22-33 as the basis for our study and relate to Colossians 3:18-19 to it.  Before we move, we must determine the flow of Paul's presentation.  Notice that Paul ties his previous discussion to the treatment of husband and wives saying,
"Subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ"  (Ephesians 5:21).

Then he addresses the wives (verses 22-24) and the husbands (verses 25-31).  He commands wives to submit to their husbands as their heads as the church submits to Christ as the head.  He commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church.  Paul compares the relationship of the husband and the wife to the relationship between Christ and the church.  Notice the comparatives "as" and "as unto" (verses 22, 23, 24, 25).  He not only compares marriage to the relationship between Christ and His church but also expands on his closing statements.  After Paul's instructions and comparisons, he quotes Genesis 2:24 in verse 31 of our text.  In verse 32, he makes a final reference to the relationship between Christ and His church.  He then concludes by summarizing his instructions in verse 33 with two fundamental commands.
"Nevertheless do ye also severally love each one his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she fear her husband."   

Thus, a husband must love his wife, and the wife must fear her husband. The word "fear" means respect, reverence.  Obviously, this passage abounds with instructions for the marriage relationship.  The key concept in Paul's argument is "submission" to one another in the fear of Christ (verse 21).  Submission of the wife towards her husband as her head, as the church submits to Christ its head (verses 22-24).  Love of the husband toward his wife, as Christ loves the church (verses 25-30).  Paul concludes his discussion by drawing attention to Genesis 2:24 (verse 31), stressing the husband's love and the wife's respect or fear (verse 33).

    • The Purpose of Our Submission to One Another:
The purpose of our submission to one another is because of "reverence (phobo) for Christ" (v. 21).  Reverence or fear (phobosis respectful reverence for Christ that recognizes who has commanded us to do so, for He will hold us accountable for our actions (2 Cor. 5:11; 7:1).   Thus the command given to Christians about submitting to one another (verse 21) sets the tone.  So the question at stake is, how is verse 21 related to verses 22-33?  There might be two answers to this question.

  1. First, this might be referred to the commands given to wives, children, and servants.  And it is true in a certain way, for Christians must submit to others.  Furthermore, this seems to parallel Peter's instructions when he urges Christians to "submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men... " (1 Peter 2:13).  He spells this out concerning the submission that servants (2:18ff), and wives are to give (3:11ff).  And even if this answer were adequate, it must be rejected so long as it does not exclude the more comprehensive understanding.  
  2. Second, we might answer that the relationship of verse 21 to verses 22-33 is that verse 21 states a general principle before Paul moves on to the specific roles of husbands and wives, parents and children, and masters and slaves so that the specific is considered in the light of the general.  In this view, Paul reminds and commands the church of their mutual submission in the Body of Christ before writing of the specific responsibilities each must have in each particular situation.  This seems to be more in line with our context of Paul and Peter's exhortations given in Philippians 2:3 and 1 Peter 5:5.  1 Peter 5:5 urges saying "all of you" must be humble toward one another (allelon) right after he urged the younger to be subject to their elders.  Thus Peter commands the elders among "all of you" to be humble toward younger men at the same time as he commands younger men to submit to them.  Just as Peter expressed both concepts in one verse (1 Peter 5:5), so also Paul commands the same mutual submission in verse 21 of Ephesians, followed by the specific commands of wives to husbands, verses 22ff.  Thus Paul commands all Christians, men, and women, to be submissive to one another before instructing wives in their particular responsibility toward their husbands in the marriage relationship.  This puts specific, unidirectional submission in the context of general, mutual submission, describing specific duties, roles, and responsibilities to the general God-ordained concept given to the church about mutual submission.

 It has been argued that the command given to husbands to love their wives is but another way of commanding the husbands to mutual submission.  But even if that was the case, Paul still commands the husband to be "the head" of the wife and thus the one to whom she must submit in everything (verses 22-24).  Therefore, we infer that this text is not only teaching "mutual submission" rather than the specific submission of wives to husbands in the overall context of mutual submission, the mutual submission to which all Christians are called to accept.  So that rules out the specific and different roles and relationships to which husbands and wives are commanded or called to observe in those verses addressed to them.

  • Submission and Headship:
Ephesians 5:22-30 is mainly addressed to wives and husbands, along with the concluding summary verse 33.  In our context, Paul stresses 3 main concepts: 
    1. The role that each has (submission, headship).
    2. The attitude which each must have to fulfill his or her role (love, respect), and
    3. The analogy of marriage to the relationship of Christ and His church.  
    • The Roles of Wives and Husbands:
Ephesians 5:22, Titus 2:5 and 1 Peter 3:1, 5 exhort wives to be subject (submissive) to "your own" (idiois) husbands.  The operative verb "be subject to" or "submit to" (hupotasso) is also found in verse 24, where Paul urges the wives to submit "to their husbands in everything" "as the church submits to Christ."  This is the essence of Paul's admonition to wives, for in Colossians 3:18, it is the entirety of his command or charge.  "Wives, submit (hupotasso) to your husbands, as it is fitting in the Lord."  Furthermore, this command given to the wife to submit to her husband is the universal teaching of the New Testament.  Every Scripture that deals with the relationship of the wife to her husband commands her to "submit to" him, using this same verb (hupotassoEph. 5:22; Col. 3:18; 1 Pet. 3:1; Titus 2:4).  The meaning of hupotasso is used consistently to command wives as is the same charge as in verse 21, which is submission in the sense of voluntary yielding in love.  We must stress that Jesus never commands husbands to be subordinate to their wives, that is to submit to them.  Likewise, wives have been asked to be subject to their husbands without any suggestion of inferiority or superiority.  Peter makes this clear in 1 Peter 3:1ff when he commands that husbands must treat their wives with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with them of the grace of life that his prayers might not be hindered.

God commands the wife to submit, honor, and affirm her husband's leadership and help him carry it through according to her gifts.  The end result of this is joy.  When husband and wife follow God's design of marriage as described in Genesis 2:18-24; Prov. 5:15-19; 31:10-31; Mark 10:2-12; Ephesians 5:21-23; Colossians 3:18-19; and 1 Peter 3:1-7, both husband and wife are satisfied, and God is glorified.  Husbands must lead with godly headship, and the wife must follow him with godly submission.

    • The Nature of Wive's Submission:
A wife's submission, as commanded by God, has four key concepts:
    1. "To your own husbands." 
    2. "As unto the Lord" (both of these concepts are found in verse 22, cf. Col. 3:18).
    3. "For the husband is the head of the wife" (verse 23) and
    4. "as Christ also is the head of the church" (verse 24).
Paul is not commanding every woman to submit to every man, but instead, he is commanding wives to submit to their own (idious) husbands.  The term "your own" implies that the relationship of "leadership" and "submission" between a woman and her husband must be different than the submission that she might have with other men in general.  God has given husbands and wives responsibilities to each other in the marriage relationship that are different from other men and women.  Paul is not insisting that every relationship between a man and a woman is one of submission and headship, but that of leadership (headship) in the marriage where the wife must submit to the leadership or headship of the husband.  The responsibility of men toward women varies according to the kind of relationship they have.  Let me explain.

The husband and the wife have different responsibilities than say a preacher and a wife have, or an elder and a wife have.  Those responsibilities will accordingly be different from men's and women's differing responsibilities, for instance, in business, recreation, government, community, courtship, engagement, etc. Likewise, in 1 Tim. 2:11, 12, and 1 Cor. 14:34Paul commands that the women not take the role of leadership in the church but to submit to the leadership of the men.  But here in our text, Paul commands each wife to submit to the headship of her own husband.  A wife's submission to her husband is that disposition to yield to her husband's authority to follow his leadership.  I must stress that though the husband has been given the leadership by God, he must not abuse it.  The husband does not replace Christ as the woman's supreme authority.  A wife must never follow her husband's leadership into sin!  She must not steal, get drunk or savor pornography with him or follow him into other deceptive schemes.  But even if the wife may have to stand with Christ against her husband's sinful will, she can still have a spirit of submission, a disposition to yield.  She can show her godly attitude and behavior that she will not resist his will but that she desires for him to repent and lead in righteousness so that her disposition to honor him as the head will bring harmony in the marriage.

    • The Nature of the Husband's Headship:
    In Ephesians 5:23, Paul commands wives to submit to their husbands, saying, "For (because," hoti) the husband is the head  (kephale) of the wife."  So it is evident that the word head (kephale) implies authority But not everyone agrees!  Some say that it means "source."  Christ is the head of the church as the authority over it because the following verse speaks of the church as submitting to Him.  So the two concepts mutually explain one another.  That is, the church submits to Christ's authority, for He is the head or authority over it.  It follows two previous references to Him as the head where His authority is present.  In Ephesians 1:22, Paul declares that Christ is head over "everything" and that God has "placed all things under (hupotasso) His feet."  In Ephesians 4:15Christ has been appointed as the head of the church, His body, and it is His authority and power that causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.  So when one compares the headship of the husband over the wife to the headship of Christ over the church, Paul is using the term kephale for the husband as he does for Christ, that is, as one who has the authority and is the leader.  We see that headship established in 1 Cor. 11:1ff where Paul relates the headship of a man over a woman to that of Christ over every man and of God over Christ.  In this context, Paul quotes Genesis 2:21-24 to point out the order of creation of man and woman to stress that woman was created to help the man, not vice versa.  Paul emphasizes that God had established man as the head over the woman by this divine action and intent (1 Cor. 11:8-9).  Thus Paul affirms that male headship is a divine assignation.

      • The Extent of the Wife's Submission:
      Paul concludes the command to wives of submission in Eph. 5:22-24, instructing wives to submit to their husbands "in everything" (en panti).  It means that her submission must encompass all aspects of life.  It surely removes the misunderstanding that some have about Paul directly speaking about submission in their intimate relationship or some other narrow realm.  According to God's decree, marriage partners are "one flesh."  God wants the married couple to function together under one head, not as two autonomous individuals living together.  Since God is concerned about that unity, we must also be concerned about it.  God expects the wife to submit to her husband in all things with respect instead of stifling, demeaning, or stultifying the husband's headship or leadership.  Does that mean that the husbands can rule their wives insensitively?  Of course not!  Paul rules out the idea that he should lord it over those he leads (2 Cor. 1:24).  Likewise, Peter insists that the elders not lord it over those under them (1 Pet. 5:3).  

      With the words "submit to" and "head," Paul states the fundamental roles of wives and husbands, respectively.  God established those roles in Creation.  They have as their analog the roles of Christ and His church.  Paul always addressed those under authority before those in authority:  wives before husbands, children before parents, servants before masters (Eph 5:22-6:9; Col. 3:18-4:1).  Paul commands those in authority to exercise it with love and respect toward those who are under their authority.  Paul addresses husbands to love their wives... (Eph. 5:25; Col. 3:19).  It is the husband's duty toward his wife.  Paul does not say to husbands, "Be head over your wife!"  Instead, he commands them twice to love their wives (verses 25 and 28).
      "Husbands, love your wives," and "husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies."  

      He gives this command by using the analogy of Christ's love for the church (verses 25ff) and by the analogy of one who loves his own body (verse 28), that is, by nourishing and cherishing it (verse 29).  In Paul's comparison of Christ's love for the church, he stresses the self-giving character of that love (verse 25).  It must concern the benefit and welfare of the other so that their life together will be in harmony (verses 26-27).  Paul commands the husband to love his wife just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her... (verse 25).  This is how God commands that the husband exercise his leadership in everything as the head over his wife.  He must love her "just as" (kathos) Christ loved the church.  Just as the church, by submitting to Christ, is the model for the wife in submitting to her head (verses 23, 24).  So Christ is the model for the husband in loving his wife.  This character and description is seen in the words "and gave himself up for her" (verse 25).  Paul stresses Christ's giving up of Himself for the church, verses 26, 27 "to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."  The husband who loves his wife loves himself, verse 28bfor they are one flesh.  The husband must feed and care for his own flesh, verse 29.  He cherishes her and nourishes her in every situation of her life, for she is the beloved.  Paul commands the husband not to be harsh with her. "No one ever hated his own body" (Eph. 5:29).  The husband's headship over his wife must not be negative, harmful, oppressive, or reactionary.  Instead, it must be a headship of love in which the husband gives of himself for his wife's good, nourishing, and cherishing, his beloved one who, as his equal, voluntarily submits to his headship.

      Since the headship of the husband is established by God, the husband must fulfill that role as a servant of God.  The leadership given to him in that role expresses God's authority in the marriage.  Hence, the wife is commanded to submit to her husband "as to the Lord"  (Eph. 5:22).  "As" (hos)  indicates the manner of her submission.  "As unto or to the Lord" expresses the godly submission that Christians render to the Lord.  In 1 Peter  3:6, Peter commends Sarah for calling Abraham "lord." As evidence of her submission to her husband, Sarah "obeyed Abraham."  The last exhortation given to wives is found in Ephesians 5:33, "... and let the wife see that she fear (respect) her husband."  The wife is commanded to respect her husband.  She must treat her husband's leadership with dutiful regard and deference.  She is to render her submission in a way that is similar to that of the submission of the church to Christ.  That is, a genuinely respectful submission, for it must be rendered voluntarily from her heart.  When a wife respects her husband and his leadership, it implies that her submission involves not only what she does but also her attitude in doing it.  She respects her husband and his leadership as she accepts from a humble and grateful heart the role that God has assigned to her to fulfill the particular role with the grace God has given her.

      • What Submission Does Not Mean:
      "In like manner, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, even if any obey not the word, they may without the word be gained by the behavior of their wives; 2 beholding your chaste behavior coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel; 4 but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner aforetime the holy women also, who hoped in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands: 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose children ye now are, if ye do well, and are not put in fear by any terror.  7 Ye husbands, in like manner, dwell with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor unto the woman, as unto the weaker vessel, as being also joint-heirs of the grace of life; to the end that your prayers be not hindered"  (1 Peter 3:1-7)

      1 Peter 3:1-7 is an excellent Scripture for understanding God's divine plan for the marriage.  In our text, Peter describes the complementary responsibilities of husbands and wives to protect the marital relationship against common abuses.

      Since there is so much misunderstanding today about what the Bible implies about submission and the command for wives to "be submissive" to their husbands, 1 Peter 3:1-7 is a crucial passage to help us correct wrong understandings and practices.  Our text not only commands wives to "be submissive" to their husbands but also gives us several indications of what such submission does not mean.
        • Submission does not mean putting a husband in Christ's Place:
      We must stress that Christ takes priority overall, that is all human allegiance.  1 Peter 2:13 begins saying, "Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority."  We Christians are urged to look to Christ, follow His example, walking in His steps (1 Peter 2:21).
        • Submission does not mean giving up independent thought:
      In 1 Peter 3:1-7, Peter is speaking directly to wives, not to the husbands.  The wife is expected to hear, ponder, understand, and respond to God's Word.  Our text also speaks to those Christian wives who are married to non-believing husbands.  The wives are commanded to "be in subjection to your own husbands; that, even if any obey not the word, they may without the word be gained by the behavior of their wives; 2 beholding your chaste behavior coupled with fear."  A godfearing Christian wife chooses to honor Christ when she subjects herself to her husband even when he is not a Christian. Her respectful behavior and fear of God are of supreme importance in her life.
        •  Submission does not mean a wife must give up her efforts to influence and guide her husband:
      A godly Christian wife must try to influence her husband to become a Christian, a follower of Christ.  The Word of God encourages us to do this.
        • Submission does not mean a wife must give in to every demand her husband makes:
      If a husband should say to his wife to stop being a Christian and be like him, she will humbly have to say no, for she must follow and answer to a much higher authority, that is, God.  If he should ask her to steal, lie or do anything contrary to the will of God and the principles of righteousness, she must refuse and must follow the command given to her to keep her behavior excellent among the Gentiles, that is non-believers (1 Peter 2:12). Furthermore, the word "hagnos," which is "chaste" means pure, free from moral defilement.  It is a reminder of God's command to her that she must never go so far as to disobey God's will and His principles of righteousness.  And though she must be submissive to her husband, that does not mean that she is going to disobey God to please her husband, for this would be sin.  She must still do God's will for the Lord's sake (2:13). 
        • Submission is not based on lesser intelligence or competence:
      The truth is that a God-fearing child of God who is married to a non-believer, not a Christian, has more spiritual insight than he does.  She knows the Truth and follows it, something that her non-believing husband does not understand.  That makes a big difference!
        • Submission does not mean to be fearful or timid:
      Peter instructs wives to "not fear anything that is frightening"  (verse 6).  When the Lord says that she is "the weaker vessel" (verse 7) does not mean that she lacks inner strength or courage in the face of danger or threat.
        • Submission is not inconsistent with equality in Christ:
      Submission in regard to authority is always consistent with equality in importance, dignity, and honor.  Jesus demonstrated this when He subjected himself to His parents and to God the Father.  Christians are commanded to be subject to unbelieving government authorities and masters, even though they are highly honored in God's sight.  Thus God's command to wives to be subject to their husbands must never be taken to suggest that she is inferior spiritually as a person or of lesser importance.  In fact, Peter affirms that wives are "heirs with you of the grace of life"  (verse 7).  It is crucial to heed the relationship between this passage and Galatians 3:28-29.
      "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise."

      This Scripture is often misused as if it were against submission, to rule out any commands of submission within marriage.  Some abuse the term "there is no male and female" (verse 28).  But in 1 Peter 3:1-7, we see that the apostolic pattern does not contradict the command given to wives to submit to their husbands (verse 1).  We also notice the explicit declaration that husbands and wives are joint heirs of the grace of life (verse 7), for we are all one in Christ Jesus.  And though we are all one in Christ, it is not inconsistent with female submission and male headship in marriage.  Submission in role and equality in dignity and importance stand side-by-side as God's designed pattern.  In fact, there is a harmonious parallel between Galatians 3:28-29 and 1 Peter 3:1-7 about being "Abraham's seed, heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:29) compared to being daughters of Sarah in 1 Peter 3:6.  Thus a wife's submission to her husband is more like the submission of Christ to God the Father (1 Cor. 15:28).  The kind of submission to one another who is equal in importance and essence.
        • Submission is not accepting physical abuse, but rather it is submission to the husband as unto the Lord Jesus:
      In Ephesians 5:21-33, God commands us to submit to one another, that is to yield or to set ourselves under instead of demanding our own way Love must be what rules our homes, that we might prefer one another.  Submission does not mean that the wife is inferior.  Submission is not degrading.  It is not a sign of weakness, nor is it demeaning.  As a matter of fact, submission is a sign of strength.  Submission requires a great deal of strength and character.  Submission is that spirit of meekness and respect a wife has toward her husband.  Moreover, it is an attitude of the heart that is willing to help each other to live a more satisfying, fruitful, content, and peaceful life together.  Problems and disagreements between husband and wife are inevitable, but that does not imply that a wife has permission to sin and take matters into her own hands.  Let us take heed here!  When a wife has the right attitude of heart, a submissive heart, a heart of respect for her husband, any problem or conflict in the marriage is more likely to be resolved harmoniously.  Such a heart leaves no room for unpleasant quarreling, bitterness, and resentment.

      • What Submission Does Mean: 
      True submission is the inner quality of gentleness that affirms the leadership of the husband.  The expression "Be submissive to your husbands" means that a wife will willingly submit to her husband's authority and leadership in the marriage relationship.  Submission chooses to affirm one's husband as leader within the limits of obedience to Christ.  In involves a demeanor that wants to honor him as the leader even when the wife disagrees.  It is an attitude that goes much deeper than mere obedience, for it is a wife's willingness to obey her husband's authority (verses 5-6) as commanded.  The apostle Peter illustrates a wife being submissive to her own husband by using the example of Sarah, "who obeyed Abraham."  Thus he shows that obedience (hypakouo) is the reason why Sarah was submissive (hupotasso, the same word used in verse 1).  This kind of submission is a respectful affirmation, for Sarah obeyed Abraham "and called him lord" (master, verse 6).  Submission is the beauty that accompanies it.  It is the beauty of "a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight" (verse 4).  The adjective gentle (praus) only occurs three other times in the New Testament, twice referring to Christ (Matt. 11:29; 21:5; 5:5).  Its related noun is translated "gentleness" or "meekness," and is used more frequently (Gal. 5:23; 6:1; James  3:13, etc.).  

      A gentle and quiet spirit does not insist on one's own rights.  It is not pushy and selfishly assertive.  It is not demanding of one's own way.  Such a gentle and quiet spirit is beautiful before others to see, even unbelieving husbands (verses 1-2).  It is of great worth in God's sight.  Why?  Because such a spirit is the product of quiet and continual trust in God to supply one's needs.  God delights when we trust Him (cf. 1 Peter 1:5, 7-9, 21; 2:6-7. 23: 5:7).  Submission is accompanied by the inward attitudes of the heart.  A woman's source of beauty must be the inner self, her heart (verse 4).  It is her inward personality.  Though it is not visible in itself, it is made known by her words and actions that reveal her inner attitudes, her heart.  The word "unfading" is the Greek adjective "aphartos" that the New Testament always uses to speak of heavenly things, truths which are not subject to aging or decay.  It is those things that will not fade away with the passing of this present world.  A gentle and quiet spirit is beauty that lasts for eternity, in contrast to the fleeting beauty of jewelry or clothing, the external beauty!  
        • Submission Involves Obedience Like Sarah's:
      Living in a world where feminism rules, many have attempted to disregard the instruction given to wives to imitate Sarah's obedience to Abraham, which Peter uses as an example of the "holy women of the past who put their hope in God" (verse 5).  Peter uses Sarah as a positive example to show what women must do, that is, to behave like Sarah, who "obeyed Abraham" (verse 6).  

        • Submission Acknowledges an Authority That is Not Totally Mutual:
      Although Peter is explicitly speaking to wives in our text, many today object to any kind of submission that is required of wives and not of husbands.  To avoid the force of God's command that requires wives to be submissive to their husband's authority, the so-called "evangelical feminists" frequently talk about "mutual submission" within the marriage relationship.  It is sad, but I have heard many brethren speak this way!  The phrase in itself can be a little bit ambiguous, for it can mean several different things.   However, it can merely mean that husbands and wives must be thoughtful and considerate toward one another and put each other's interests and preferences before their own. The concept of mutual consideration and deference is fully compatible with the New Testament's teachings about the husband's unique leadership role and the wife's unique responsibility to submit to her husband's authority or leadership.  And though the word "submission" is quite unusual in our feminist world today and is also belittled, it will be easier to assume that it is speaking of "mutual submission" in some way in the marriage relationship.  I do not deny that there might be a possibility of "mutual submission" in some senses in marriage but not in all regards.  Why?  Because the wife still must submit to her husband's authority and leadership in a way that the husband does not have to submit to his wife.  And he must not submit to his wife's authority or leadership!  Period!  God has given him a unique leadership in the family that he must not abdicate!

      Today the evangelical feminists claim that "mutual submission" in the marriage relationship means something far different.  They apply their favorite slippery phrase to all the Scriptures that instruct wives to submit to their husbands and deny or reject any submission to authority at all.  This is how they avoid the force of Peter's command, "Wives... be submissive to your husbands" (verse 1).  They shout that mutual submission in marriage means that wives must submit to husbands and that husbands must submit to their wives in exactly the same way.  How about that!  According to this view, the husband has no authority or leadership responsibility in the marriage at all.  They abuse and misuse Ephesians 5:21"Submit to one another out of reverence (fear) for Christ" to support their fallacious claim. Of course, to make this ridiculous argument, evangelical feminists take two steps in their false interpretation of the Scriptures that are simply incorrect and contrary to the will of God.  

      1. First, they ignore and willfully reject the command given to wives in the New Testament to submit to their husbands. This command is never reversed.  Why?  Simply because the Word of God never commanded husbands to submit to their wives.  Period!  The command that a husband must submit to his wife would have been quite unusual in that male-dominated culture.  And if, in fact, The New Testament writers had thought that a Christian marriage demanded husbands to submit to their wives, they surely would have to specify it and make it clear in their writings inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Otherwise, no early Christians would have known it was required of them.  It is startling and amazing that these evangelical feminists can find this requirement in the New Testament when it has never been stated, except for Ephesians 5:21, which they abuse to their liking and apply apart from its context.  There is no beating around the bush about Ephesians 5:21 since Paul explicitly explained what it meant: that wives were to be subject to the authority of their husbands (verses 22-24), children to parents (6:1-3), and servants to masters (6:4-8).  Evidently, in each of these cases, Paul instructs those in authority how they were to behave, in love and thoughtfulness and, of course, fairness (Ephesians 5:25-33; 6:4, 9).  Paul never told the husbands to submit to their wives, children, or servants, respectively.  Period!
      2. The evangelical feminists take a second illegitimate position in Bible interpretation when they change the meaning of the word "hupotasso" ("submit to," "be subject to"). They twist and torture the word to make it mean what they want it to say.  Of course, it is a false meaning or interpretation that is not required or commanded anywhere in the Scriptures.  A twisted definition like "be thoughtful and considerate; act in love" (toward one another), without any sense of obedience to an authority."  What a shameful way to distort the authority of the Scriptures!  Husbands are not commanded to be subject to their wives, nor government to citizens, masters to servants, etc.  The definition of the word "hupotasso" (passive) is "be obedient."

      So what does the word "likewise" in verse one mean?  Some, of course, have objected to Peter's teaching, claiming that he is viewing wives in the same category as servants, saying that wives must behave toward their husbands as servants act toward their masters.  But this is a misinterpretation of Peter's words.  Why?  Because the word "likewise" (homoios) usually means "in a similar way."  But the degree of similarity can vary greatly (cf. Luke 10:32, 37, 16:25; 1 Cor. 7:22; James 2:25).  The word "likewise" here might mean (1)  similar to the example of Christ (2:21-25), or (2)  similar to how servants are to be submissive (2:18).  A third possibility might be (c)  that homoios simply means "also,"  introducing a new subject in the same discussion of the relationships to authority, without implying similarity of behavior or conduct.  Our second position is the best.  The word "likewise" modifies "be submissive," and we must make the connection with 2:18 when Peter used the verb "be submissive" (hupotasso).  "Slaves, submit yourselves... similarly, wives be submissive" (2:18; 3:1).  This form of expression is exactly the same in the Greek text, with some unusual use of a participle to express a command in both cases.


      II.  THE OLD TESTAMENT EXAMPLES OF SUBMISSION:

      The apostle Peter used the examples of the lives of holy women who hoped in God to illustrate the concept of submission.  Although he specifically mentioned Sarah in verse 6 of 1 Peter 3, the plural "women" refers to godfearing, godly women generally in the Old Testament.  Holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves "in this way," or "so" (houtos, "thus," referring to adorning with a gentle and quiet spirit).  The word "adorn" (kosmeo) is the verb related to the noun "adorning" in verse 3.  Its perfect tense indicates continuing or repeated action over time in the past, "they were repeatedly or continually adorning themselves" in this way.  "They were submissive to their husbands" or "By submitting to their husbands" (ESV) (verse 5) brings us back to the theme of verses 1-2 to indicate the relationship between such submission and the inward beauty of verses 3-4.  A woman's quiet confidence in God produces the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.  It also enables her to submit to her husband's authority without fear that it will be harmful to her well-being or her personhood.

      Peter uses Sarah's submission to her husband, Abraham, as an example of such submissiveness to a husband.  Wives are commanded to be submissive to their husbands (verse 5) as Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, calling him her master or "lord."  Sarah's example of obedience was, and still is our motivator to follow, for Sarah became the mother of all God's children in the Old Testament (Isaiah 51:2; cf. Galatians 4:22-26), even though there were times in which her following Abraham meant trusting God in uncertain, unpleasant and even dangerous situations (Genesis 12:1, 5, 10:15; 13:1; 20:2-6 [c.f. verse 12]; 22:3).  Yet, Peter commends Sarah saying that all believing Christian women are now her children or "daughters," the true members of her spiritual family.  To be Sarah's daughter is to be a joint heir of the promises and the honor given to both her and Abraham.  We are Sarah's daughters if we do what is right and do not give way to fear (verse 6).  Again both verbs are present participles to indicate a pattern of life continued over time.  Peter's insistence on doing what is right is an admonition to Christian wives to not follow or imitate any acts of disobedience in Sarah's life (cf. Gen. 16:2; 6; 18:15; perhaps 20:5).  It is Sarah's submission to her husband and her trust in God that God through Peter commands.  The condition "if you... do not fear anything that is frightening" (ESV) is another way of expressing our faith.  A woman with a gentle and quiet spirit continues hoping in God and is not terrified or frightened by circumstances or by an unbelieving or disobedient husband (cf. Genesis 20:6).  Consider the following story of Abraham and Sarah.
      • Abraham and Sarah:
      There is a married couple that the Bible speaks of more than any other, Abraham and Sarah.   They were descendants of Noah's son, Shem.  They were highly favored in the eyes of God. God spoke to them regularly.  Consider what God said about them:
       "And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:2-3).

      This particular couple was happily married for many years.  God blessed them and gave them great prosperity.  He promised to bless all their descendants greatly.  Notice how strongly God describes Sarah in Scripture in the New Testament as the model wife for us to follow:
      "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening"  (I Peter 3:1-6).

      This text must be of great importance to wives when it comes to submission.  It instructs wives to submit willingly to their husbands.  Ironically, this is an unpopular and controversial command in our culture today.  Notice that although he writes, "holy women who hoped in God" (in verse 5), Sarah is the only one named.  We are called Sarah's daughters if we do well (what is right or good in other translations).  The "right" thing that she was praised for was submitting to Abraham her husband, treating him with respect and honor without being intimidated and afraid to do so.  Sarah called her husband, "lord."  Not that long ago in our culture, godly women called their husbands "mister."  Mister and Mistress were titles akin to lord and lady.  They were titles of nobility that reflected the noble attitudes that our forefathers understood. They were a recognition of the order of authority, and they were taught by Abraham and Sarah’s example. The fact that we have lost that custom should alarm us!

        • Let us Take a Moment and Consider this Holy Woman's Great Story:  
      She is first introduced to us as "Sarai" in Genesis 12.  She was Abram's wife and half-sister. Although they had the same father, they had different mothers.  It was common in those days to marry those who were closely related.  It was not forbidden during the Patriarchal Age.  Later on in the Law of Moses, God did forbid it.  This couple left their home in Haran and went to live in Canaan, this being the land that God had promised to give them.  Soon after they arrived in Canaan, a famine struck the land, and God directed them to go to Egypt.  Although Sarah was 65 years old, she was still beautiful enough to attract a man's attention.  Notice what the Bible tells us:
      "When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, 'I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, This is his wife.' Then they will kill me, but they will let you live.  Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.' When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful  And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house"' (Genesis 12:11-15).

      The Egyptian people were under the control of a totalitarian system in which the Pharaoh was acknowledged as the superior lord of the land.  What this means is that he had absolute and complete control over everyone and everything in his realm.  His word was literally the law of the land.  Pharaoh had all right and power, under their written system of law, to kill anyone he wished for whatever reason or none at all.  It was not uncommon for men with such power to take any beautiful woman they wished and have her husband killed.  This is awful!  So it was not unreasonable for Abram to expect that his wife, Sarai, would be taken into Pharaoh's house.  The only way to avoid the danger was to avoid Egypt, but God ordered him to go there.
      "And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.  But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife. So Pharaoh called Abram and said, 'What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, 'She is my sister,' so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go.'  And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had"'  (Genesis 12:16-20).

      Later, in Genesis 20, we notice that Abram was instructing Sarai again to lie to Abimelech king of Gerar, saying that she was Abram's sister.  Isn't it amazing that Sarai does as Abram says?  It was wrong for him to ask Sarai, his wife, to lie, telling a half-truth.  But we can be sure that Sarai would never have wanted to be in such a challenging and dangerous situation.  But still, it is remarkable that she obeyed Abram, and God protected her!

      Sometimes it's hard to trust the Lord.  It is undeniable that if Abram had resisted Pharaoh, the king might have tried to kill him.  Just imagine if Abraham had been killed because he was Sarah's husband.  Don't you think that her situation would have been worse? Remember what he said to her in Genesis 12:13
      "Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake."

      Although God did not tell us what He thought of Abraham's stratagem, it is evident that He preserved this godly couple and continued to bless them.  And because of Sarah's righteous obedience to her husband, Abraham, she was praised and presented as a godly role model to all Christian women throughout all generations.

      Women in our culture indeed disagree about the real meaning of submission.  There is nothing that makes feminists angrier than the idea of a woman willingly submitting to her husband; that is being under the authority of a man.  It is infuriating to feminist women!  Even for many Christian women, the idea of wives submitting to their husbands is not very welcome or acceptable.

      Some Evangelical feminists dare to say that what Ephesians 5 commands women is not to try to rule over husbands but rather to share equal status with them, telling men to do the same.  But the good news is that this is not what Ephesians 5 is commanding us to do. Paul is teaching these Ephesian women to correct their sinful practices and impulses in their relationship with their husbands.  At no time is the apostle Paul saying to stop recognizing gender distinctions or to share the role of leadership equally in the home and the church.  Rather, Paul is saying,
      "Wives submit to your husbands" and "husbands love your wives."

      From the beginning, God's intention was for women to submit to male leadership in the home as well as in the church.  But God also intended for men to lead their wives with love, honor, and respect, putting her needs above his own since she is the weaker vessel.  Submission and the fear of God go hand in hand.  The fear of God is central to submission and is its most important principle.  Submission will yield voluntarily in love.  When we place Genesis 1-3 beside Ephesians 5, we see that God's Word is not teaching that gender roles are the result of the fall but rather His design from the beginning.  Christ did not come to eliminate gender distinctions but rather to repair and restore them so that they might work in such a way as to reveal His glory.  Therefore, wives must submit to their husbands, not by force, but willingly instead of taking all matters into their own hands both in the home and in the church.  Then, of course, husbands are to love their wives, leading with Grace.  Marriage is about two relationships and two people, our relationship with God and our relationship with our husband.  As we grow closer to God, our desire must be to grow closer to our husband as well, loving him more and treating him more kindly, showing him more honor, being supportive and helpful, and willing to be selfless.

      Our generation habitually makes all kinds of excuses.  We have forced ourselves to invent all sorts of exceptions when it comes to submissionWe simply don't like it!  Submission is against our modern and godless culture.  For a woman, to do what her husband thinks is best, or to do what she doesn't want to do, is not very appealing.  Indeed, many don't like anyone telling them what to.  It is a real and ugly fact!  Many women want to be their own boss and do whatever they think is best. Unfortunately, that is their nature, but it ought not to be.  We must please God, doing His will and not our own! I wonder if the reason why our women spend so much time resisting their husbands' lead is because they want to hold on to a whitewashed feminism!  Let us take heed!

      Frankly, submission is hard because we all have been brainwashed by a "feminist worldview" one way or another, but we must work hard at it if we want to be saved.  We must remember that it is not our opinion that matters.  It is God's opinion that matters and nothing else!  The Bible is crystal clear about wives submitting to their husbands!  God commands wives to do it!  Let us consider other Scriptures besides I Peter 3 and Ephesians 5:22-24 that exhorts us to submit to our husbands and, in some ways, to all male authority.
      "Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord"  (Colossians 3:18).
      "Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet"  (I Timothy 2:11-12).

      Let us keep in mind that a woman's submission to God is the first step in her submission to her husband.  She must not resist God's will, His commands, or direction! 


      III.   THE PARADOX OF SUBMISSION: 
        Every woman I know struggles with submission.  It is a fact that we all are feminists at heart going back to Eve.  We want to be independent.  That is the way we are, but it is not the way God made us.

        The Bible is full of paradoxes:  the last shall be first.  The greatest of all is the servant of all.  If you lose your life, you will find your life. Submission is another one of these paradoxes.

        Many think that submission implies weakness, being a doormat.  In fact, it is just the opposite. Why?  Because it demands great strength and character.  It is difficult!  It is not the weak women who submit respectfully but rather the strong women.  Do not get me wrong here!  In submission, we will have strength because when we obey God, we find favor with Him.  Notice what the Bible has to say.
        "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength"  (Isaiah 30:15).
        "Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love"  (Psalm 33:18).

        One of the reasons why submission is so hard for women is because they want to be the ones in control.  So they believe that when they submit, they are renouncing their power, making them feel as if they are losing their influence.  In fact, submission gives us great influence (because it is a legitimate influence), elevating us in the eyes of our husbands, bringing contentment and satisfaction to both. One great example of this great and good influence of wives over their husbands is found in I Peter 3:1-2.
        "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct."  

        Our hope must be that of winning our husbands when they are in any kind of error.  Our primary motive must never be that of manipulating but rather of submitting to our husbands as unto the Lord.  This is simply obeying GodWhy?  Because submission is simply an act of obedience toward God and His rule.  This is how we show our obedience and hope in Him.  Nothing else, but submission to His will allows Him to make all things work for our own good.  Our hope is not in our husbands because they will make mistakes even when they are mature and godly.  Our hope must be in God because He is our Supreme Ruler.  He never makes mistakes.  He never fails us.

        This leads me to the following questions:
        1. Is submission a sign of strength or weakness?  
        2. In what areas as a wife do you need to become more submissive to your husbands?  Of course, you must first submit to God and His authority. 
        3. Is submission hard to practice and obey in your walk with Christ? 
        4. Does your submission show your faith in God? 
        "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands."  
        Although submission is hard for many, God in His everlasting Word commands wives to be submissive to their husbands God's will is for wives to submit to their husbands' will.  In a few words, we as wives must comply with our husband's plan of action, rather than resisting it and trying to execute yours alone.

        Suppose your husband tells you one day that he wants to start having a daily devotional Bible reading in the morning rather than in the evening.  Let's say you refuse to do this because you are not a morning person, and you resist change no matter what it is.  You simply like your routine.

        Now you have here two ways of action.
          • First Way of Action:
        One is not to care and do nothing about it, making your husband have to repeat the same request until he may become a little cross.  He may tell you, "I want you to get up now!"  This, of course, will provoke you into feeling sour and resentful.  When you refuse to submit willingly to him, you are in the position of having to obey.  Most of us, women, hate this! Why?  Simply because we don't much like to be told what to do.  So, what happens when we refuse to submit?  We find ourselves in the role of a child:  we are brought to the point of obeying orders which are against our will.

        However, it is vital that we not put ourselves in that position.  Why?  Because we refuse to submit or cooperate with our husbands.  Unfortunately, this kind of behavior forces our husbands to order us to do what we refused to do willingly earlier.  It becomes an unpleasant situation to be in!  This refusal to submit voluntarily must be avoided!  It is terrible for our marriages and our homes.

        This being said, regarding the first way of action, let us examine the second way of action.  It is the right and godly way of action:
          • The Second Way of Action:
        Let's start with the same scenario:  Your husband wants everyone to start early with a devotional Bible reading.  And although you don't want to change the family schedule the way that your husband is directing everyone, but in obedience to the will of God, knowing that you must submit, you right away start thinking about how to make his instruction happen.  Now take notice of the most critical part of this whole scenario:  she, the wife, starts thinking about how to follow her husband's instructions without hesitation and resistance.  Here, the wife is not in the position of doing her will against her husband's as in the first case.  Why?  Because she simply submitted to her husband's will.  She is now in the driver's seat with her husband.  She is cooperative instead of resisting.  And this is precisely the right thing wives are supposed to do!  The wife is trying to accomplish what her husband wants or needs. 

        We are beginning to see what Bible submission looks like.  It is a wife making a choice not to resist or argue with her husband's will.  Arguing with her husband is not only an ungodly behavior but a terrible example to her children!  Although a wife's opinion on any matter might differ, she can still express it in a respectful and honoring manner without belittling confrontations.  Such discretion brings harmony and peace to the marriage and her family.  For her to express her opinionsadvice, and suggestions will always be a valuable aspect of the help she gives her husband as long as she is doing it with a meek and quiet spirit.

        My questions are:
        1. Are you failing to submit to your husband, and in which areas?  
        2. What can you do to be on board with your husband's wishes?  
        3. Are you going to resist and rebel, or are you willing to do God's will by submitting to his headship?

        • How Can We Better Help Our Husbands Lead?
        Although some wives don't have any problem with submitting to the headship of the husband, they often wish that their husbands would awaken and show some manifestation or indication of it. Women complain that no matter how hard they try to help the husbands acknowledge this responsibility or obligation, they still don't get it.  In fact, I have been asked by some, "How can I make my husband lead the way God has intended him to do?  It is an unbiblical question.  Why?  Simply because you cannot force or make your husband lead.  But, you can help him be a leader by following him.  How can a wife help her husband be the leader?  By sincerely encouraging him to lead and then by following, respecting, and honoring his headship/leadership.  Even when they are not leading in the best way.

        My next question, what if the husband is not governing right?  What if he is not leading in the right and best direction?  This is really difficult for wives to decide or establish.  Frankly, I have met some women, sisters in Christ, who were sure they were wiser and godlier than their husbands.  They were very outspoken about this without any reservation whatsoever.  To be honest, I had my doubts even when I had never met their husbands.  Why?  Because to me, they seemed arrogant and self-righteous.  It is sinful!  And they need to repent of this.

        I am not going to deny that some women are more family-oriented than their husbands.  For example, a wife may take the time to instruct the children either in their education or Bible while the husband is at work all day.  She makes the best of her time for the sake of her children.  This is how she is helping him as a helper in the biblical sense of the word, not by taking the headship into her own hands but by merely helping him where there is a need.

        So, my next question is:  How do we help our husbands do God's will?  Here is where wives must behave in a manner that is godly and respectful, even when the husband is not obeying the Lord the way he should.  As a matter of fact, a wife is called to behave in a chaste and respectful way in every circumstance of her life. A wife can respectfully ask her husband's opinion on any matter as long as she is doing it in a godly and respectful way.  On the other hand, when a wife assumes or undertakes the husband's leadership or headship, she is indisputably hindering him in his leadership.  Eventually, it destroys his confidence in his ability to lead.  Without a doubt, this can turn into "tearing her house down with her own hands." 
        "The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands"  (Proverbs 14:1).

        You might be thinking, "Well, certainly, I'm the one taking the leadership!  My husband does not show any ability to lead!"  Frankly, that is not Biblical, nor is it true!  The endpoint is that the husband is the head of the wife.  There is no other way!   He is given by God the position of leadership.  Period!   Even when he appears not to be leading, he is still leading.  He is just leading poorly.  Here it gets dangerous for the strong, stubborn, and assertive wife as she tends to make things much worse for him.  It will be a disaster for the marriage and the family! Why?  Because when the wife takes control, her husband's leadership and headship are distorted and abused.  This is not within God's created order.  It is a violation of His Word!

        My next question is:
        1. What if the husband is not a believer or a Christian? 
        2. Is the wife commanded to submit to him?  
        3. Why not go to the source of all Truth and find the answer to this question?  
        Let us consider what I Peter 3 has to say concerning our manner of behavior toward the non-believer husbands.
        "In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior"  (I Peter 3:1-2).

        We can see clearly that a wife's chaste and respectful behavior toward her husband, who is not a believer, can win him without a word; this being the right and godly way of action, the right strategy. I believe this applies to all believing and unbelieving husbands.  Our chaste and respectful behavior is not only right and godly, but it is also the only way we are going to win his love, respect, and trust that may encourage him to be godly and holy.

        Believing women and believing men certainly know that God created the heavens and the earth by His spoken Word.  Moreover, He can raise the dead back to life.  God can transform and regenerate the heart of man.  And there is no doubt in my heart that God can change our husbands' hearts from glory to glory!  Do you doubt it?  

        So, do you find yourself manipulating your husband rather than encouraging him to lead, trusting God to refine and change his heart so that he may be godly?
        • Why Do Women Take Matters Into Their Own Hands?
        There is no room for doubt that one thing that is vital to the learning process of submission is to never take matters into our own hands.  Even Sarah, who has been given to us in I Peter 3 as an example of submission, failed in this area of submission.  She suffered the consequences of such failure.  Let us go back and read the story in Genesis 15.  God made a covenant with Abram in which He promised that his offspring would be as numberless as the stars in the heavens.  We are told that Abram believed God, "and He reckoned it to him as righteousness."  However, there was a problem with this promise.  Sarai was barren.  She had not been able to conceive even after many years of marriage to Abram.  And since she was barren, how was she going to have that many descendants?  

        Sarai's failure was in thinking that she could solve the problem herself by telling her husband Abram to marry her slave.  She thought she might obtain children through Hagar.  In the Middle East, this was a common practice.  By having Hagar, her slave, conceive for her, the child would legally belong to Sarai. Thinking that this was the solution to her problem, she gave her slave to Abram.  Hagar did conceive a child.  Needless to say, this solution to her problem generated nothing but more trouble for Sarai. Why?  Because Sarai began treating Hagar with contempt; she was scornful.  It was evident that there was tension and trouble between the two.  Then later, when Hagar gave birth to his son, Ishmael, Sarai became jealous and treated her and the child harshly.  She said to Abraham"Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac." And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son."'  (Genesis 21:8-14).  There was a strife between the two women and their sons.  A strife that has endured for thousands of years!

        Although Sarai knew God's plan and believed it, she had trouble believing and trusting in God's promise.  She deceived herself, thinking that God was going to keep His promise by Sarai herself, taking matters into her own hands.  Her urging Abram to carry out her plan is similar to what Eve did to Adam back in the Garden of Eden;
        "And to Adam he said, 'Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life"'  (Genesis 3:17).

        It is indisputable that both of these husbands, Adam and Abram, got into trouble by allowing their wives to carry out their own plans.  Their failure was in listening to their wives' voices instead of God's voice and instruction.  The surprising thing is that both these men were god-fearing!

        I am not saying that wives always lead their husbands astray, nor am I saying that this text is saying that.  Moreover, I am not saying that the wife should never make suggestions and give advice to her husband at all.  On the contrary, one of the ways a wife can be a helper to her husband is by offering wise counsel.  But wives must be respectful to their husbands and be careful not to cross the line!  Remember that our words carry a lot of value and importance to our husbands.  You may not realize it, but we can influence our husbands a great deal to do good or evil.  This is true in both good and bad marriages.  So let us be careful and not destroy our homes with our own hands because we will have to give an account for this to God.

        All this being said, let us be particularly careful about how we influence our husbands when he is making important decisions or choices.  Why?  Because this can change the future of our families drastically.  So, why not fervently pray that God will give our husband enough wisdom and discernment that he may lead well, pleasing God and doing His perfect will?  Instead of trying to persuade or entice him to accept our point of view.  Why not encourage our husband by telling him that we are praying for him that the Lord may help him to lead the family in the best direction and make the right choices?  I assure you as a godfearing wife that this will be good and wise!

        A wife must use discretion and wisdom when trying to give advice to her husband. She must keep in mind that it is God's will and not her will that she wants to be done.  We must remember that God has commanded that the husband be the head of the family.  There is no other way!

        Another example given in the Bible of a wife who also took matters into her own hands was Rebekah, the wife of Isaac, Sarah's son.
        "And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. The children struggled together within her, and she said, 'If it is thus, why is this happening to me?' So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her, 'Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger"'  (Genesis 25:21-23).

        God had made it clear to Rebekah that the younger twin, Jacob, would be his chosen, God's man. However, Jacob would need to be broken by God to fashion him into a great man, God's man.
        "When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob"  (Genesis 25:27-28).  

        Later in this chapter, we are told that Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of lentil soup to Jacob, his brother.  In the book of Hebrews, we are told what God thought of this act, and of Esau as well.
        "Lest there be any fornication, or profane person, as Esau, who for one mess of meat sold his own birthright"  (Hebrews 12:16).

        Another Scripture that mentions Esau is found in Malachi 1:2-3.
        "I have loved you,' says the Lord. But you say, 'How have you loved us?' 'Is not Esau Jacob's brother?' declares the Lord. 'Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert."'

        We are told in Genesis 25 that Rebekah loved Jacob and that Isaac loved Esau.  I am sure that Rebekah knew which of her two sons was going to be God's chosen man.  Later in Genesis 27, we are told that Isaac was getting old and that his eyes were dim and could not see.  When Isaac realized that his death was approaching, he called for Esau, his favorite son, and asked him to prepare to receive his blessing.  Rebekah knowing that this was not what was supposed to happen and that Jacob was the chosen one to receive the blessing, she devised a plan:  Jacob would disguise himself as Esau and deceive his father, Isaac, to obtain the blessing.  Jacob agreed to carry out the plan. And it worked!  Her plan succeeded, but at a terrible cost to her and all her family.

        When Esau found out what his brother had done, he resolved to kill him.
        "But the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son and said to him, 'Behold, your brother Esau comforts himself about you by planning to kill you. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Arise, flee to Laban, my brother in Haran and stay with him a while, until your brother's fury turns away— until your brother's anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will send and bring you from there. Why should I be bereft of you both in one day?"'  (Genesis 27:42-45).

        Jacob is now forced to flee for his life.  He wound up at the home of Laban, his mother's brother. While working for his uncle, Jacob fell in love with Rachael, his cousin.  He agreed to work for Rachael seven years instead of the usual three.  And since Jacob did not have the support of his father and other men from his household, he ended up completing all negotiations on his own.  This made it easier for his uncle, Laban, to take advantage and abuse him terribly. Laban deceived Jacob, giving him Leah, his older daughter, instead of Rachel on his wedding night. Poor Jacob ended up working another seven years to win the bride he wanted, the one he had been promised!

        Laban treated Jacob exceedingly unfairly.  I think that the reason Laban mistreated Jacob and took advantage of him was because he was penniless and needy when he arrived at Laban’s house.  Jacob brought these circumstances on himself because he had to flee for his life.  Now, just think for a moment what it meant for Rebekah when she realized her favorite son was gone not just for a few days as she had planned but rather for twenty years.  The last time we hear of Rebekah in the Bible was when she gave Jacob her farewell instructions.  She must have died before Jacob came home.  That means she never saw her beloved son again.  How sad!

        Imagine Rebekah having to live with Esau along with his pagan and annoying wives.  I am pretty sure this is something she did not plan for and may have tried to avoid.  All this because she took matters into her own hands and moved Jacob to deceive his father and receive the blessing and inherit his father's land!  The Bible never again makes mention of Rebekah, of her death or her burial. Perhaps, this is an indication of dishonor.  How could Rebekah thwart Isaac, who was trying to do the right thing, knowing that ultimately God had other plans?  She surely knew that legally Esau was the rightful heir to continue the godly line.  Evidently, she thought that God was not able to cause it to happen without her taking the issue into her own hands.

        None of us can deny that on some occasions we have tried (or have been tempted) to take matters into our own hands.  It should be very unsettling for us.  It is disturbing and even alarming!  Why?  Because instead of wives, taking matters into their own hands, they should be praying ferventlyhonoring their husbands, behaving in a chaste and respectful manner, waiting on God, and trusting Him to come to our rescue and save us from all of our trials.  Let us not forget that our God is able!  He is our Deliverer!  We, as wives, must wait patiently for God's deliverance instead of being presumptuous, taking all matters into our own hands.  We must believe this and take it to heart!

        "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold"  (Psalm 18:2).
        "Since I am afflicted and needy, Let the Lord be mindful of me.  You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God"  (Psalm 40:17).
        "My lovingkindness and my fortress, My stronghold and my deliverer, My shield and He in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me"  (Psalm 144:2).
        "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing"  (James 1:2-4).

        I want to finish with a few questions to meditate on.  Do you think it is better to trust God and wait for His deliverance instead of taking matters into our own hands?  What do you say is the opposite of submitting?  What is the opposite of head?  What is the opposite of subject?  What is the opposite of love?  And finally, what is the opposite of giving?


        CONCLUSION:

        The word submit, or submission signifies to submit to or put one's self under the authority or power of another person which is usually deemed as mandatory or obligatory.  We are commanded to submit to all forms of authority (the legal speed limit, all civil laws such as taxes, immigration, financial or business laws, and many other laws that we must follow here on earth).  We harm ourselves when we fail to live up to those laws or requirements.  Obedience is to submit or be submissive to authority or laws, being under that authority or the control of someone or something else.  The Bible concept of submission is much different from today’s idea of femininity.

        We live in an age where submission to authority is constantly denigrated and thought to be degrading and dehumanizing.  But God's words in 1 Peter 2 and 3 reminds us that submission to the rightful authority is beautiful, rewarding, and righteous in God's kingdom of righteousness.  It is "for the Lord's sake" (2:13) that Christians must be subject to God-ordained authorities, whether in civil government (2:13-17), in employment (2:18-20), in the family (3:1-6) or in the church (5:5).  In the marriage relationship, the beauty of a wife's submission to her husband is evident to unbelievers, who are drawn to Christ through it (verses 1-2). 

        God also expects this beauty to be evident to believing husbands and to other people in general, for such beauty is what God expects Christian women to be their "adorning," their source of beauty (verse 4).  This is the beauty that adorned the holy women of the Old Testament who put their hope in God and were submissive to their own husbands (verse 5).  This beauty must also be seen in a Christian wife, for it is not accompanied by fear (verse 6), but by reverence, purity (verse 2), moral uprightness, godliness, holiness (verse 6), quietness of spirit (verse 4), and hope or trust in God (verse 5).  The beauty of this submission is evident to God, for the gentle and quiet spirit that accompanies this submission is precious and of great worth in God's sight (verse 4).

        In 1 Peter 3:4-6, Peter speaks of submission as being godly.  He commands wives to yield, be subject to their husbands, for this is the will of God.  Our culture has often challenged and made it difficult for wives to obey the command to submit to their husbands.  Our society frames "headship" as "dictatorship."  The only right thing to do is that the wife must voluntarily yield to her husband, seeking out his best interest.  Her yielding is what God demands of her!  A godly and God-fearing wife wants her husband to lead her and the family without her attempting to do it for them.  Our society has failed us in reversing the roles! 

        We see passive husbands and domineering wives.  Men don't want to lead or provide for their families and are content to be lazy.  Thus, they lay the responsibility of leading their household on their wives.  Many even send their wives to work and are content to not provide for the needs of their family!  Husbands, God has made you responsible for your family, not your wife.  As the head, the buck stops with you!  How can you ask your wife to yield and then refuse the lead?  Step up and be the leader!  Wives, you are commanded by God to encourage your husband's leadership or headship.  Don't try to seize your husband's leadership just because you think he is not leading!  You still must continue to have a yielding spirit and encourage your husband's leadership.

        In Ephesians 5:22-23, the apostle Paul is urging wives to "submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior."  In Ephesians 4:1-3, the apostle urged the saints to walk worthy of their calling. Here in the next chapter, he explains how women do this in marriage by voluntarily submitting to their husbands.  In our twisted and feminist society, the word "submission" has become an unpleasant and ugly word.  It presents a picture of being dominated and oppressed.  They have completely corrupted the meaning of the word and the concept of what the Bible teaches. 

        Jesus has never asked us to do anything that He did not do Himself.  Jesus submitted to the will of His Father and yielded to His Father's interests.  He commands wives to voluntarily submit to the leadership of their husbands. Husbands, remember that the Lord does not want you to abuse your leadership by forcing your wife to submit, using punishments or other tactics.  If the wives refuse to yield, I believe there is nothing that you can do but be accountable to God and expect Him to judge the wives if they refuse to repent.  She must voluntarily submit to the husband's leadership without the husband forcing her to do it!  Wives who fear the Lord will submit to the headship of their husbands without enforcement.  Their primary desire must be that of submitting to God's will and to that of their husbands.

        We must stress the importance of wives behaving in a holy way outside and inside the home.  In 1 Peter 3:1-2, he illustrates a wife whose husband is not obedient to God's Word.  She is commanded to win her husband by her godly and holy conduct.  Wives, your godly, righteous lives speak more than words!  Peter holds out one reward that wives can expect when they submit to their husbands. The unbelieving husband may be won to Christ.  Those who do not believe the Word, reject the Gospel, and God's principles of righteousness are husbands who are unbelievers.  Some of these disobedient husbands are harsh and unkind to their Christian wives.  And though these Christian wives have such husbands, they can be won to Christ by their godly conduct without a word.  Wow!  That is powerful!  But if we behave like the world, we are not obeying God and submitting to His rule.  Period!  We must behave in a godly way regardless of how he acts toward us.  If he does not act like a godly and God-fearing man, the way he must, that gives no permission or right whatever for you to refuse to submit to him.  Period!

        Remember those holy women in the past placed their hope or trust in God and adorned themselves inwardly and outwardly.  They clothed themselves with a yielding or submissive heart toward God.  Sarah is the best godly and yielding example for all Christian wives, and we must learn from her example.  You see, Sarah showed a yielding, submissive spirit in the way she treated her husband, even her conversations with Abraham.  By following her godly and holy example, we are children of Sarah.  We cannot be heirs of the promise when we behave in an ungodly and unfaithful way.  A yielding wife trusts her husband and acts in his best interest.  She yields or submits to her husband because she fears God and wants to submit to Him, doing what is right.  She is godly and has a quiet and gentle spirit, for she obeys Christ.

        Sisters and friends, remember that we must not focus on the externals only.  Our beauty must not be how we look externally, but it must be a spiritual beauty as well.  Our beauty must reveal a gentle and quiet spirit.  Our hearts are precious to God, but especially when their character is gentle and quiet.  In Matthew 5:5, all Christians are commanded to be meek, i.e., gentle, just like Moses, who is praised for his gentleness or meekness of heart toward all (Num. 12:3).  Wives and sisters remember that our most excellent beauty comes from our godliness.

        We must first submit to God and His authority to be able to submit to our husbands.  As we submit to God, we are obeying His plan and authority for us in the home, and it is easier to honor our husband as the spiritual leader of our homes.  As we submit to God's authority, it is easier for us wives to step back and allow our husbands to lead.  It is a reminder of what it means to step back and allow God to lead us all.  As God-fearing wives, we must refuse to be in control but let go, for we must not lead and carry the flag, but follow our husband's leadWe must follow, offer, serve, help, share, observe, then we must "pour more soup into the pot than we ladle out." 

        We must see the blessings of submission in our marriage, step back, and make room for our husbands to step forward, for this is God's wisdom for us women.  Sadly, in today's culture, the relationship between husband and wife has been affected by feminism! The seeds of feminism lie within each of our hearts.  Feminism disregards the need for roles, for it equates roles with inherent worth.  But that is not what the Word of God declares!  In the Bible, it is easier to see the fundamental equality of men and women in Genesis 1:27.  Nowhere in the Bible do we read that men are more in God's image than women.  Men and women equally share the privilege of being made in God's image or likeness. We have the same honor.

        We, wives, must submit to the Lord first so that we may submit to our husbands.  Our Lord and Savior is declaring His glory in our submission, and He is also teaching wives what it means to submit to Him. We must seek to be delivered from the bankruptcy of the way the world sees marriage!  It is our duty as those who walk in Truth and Love to replace the world’s distorted vision of marriage with a heavenly one.  Let us not forget that marriage displays the glory of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Everything that pertains to marriage is resolved by applying the foundational principles taught in the Word of God. 

        Moreover, every married couple must be willing to humbly understand and accept God's will and purpose for marriage.  It is not about "my "needs" or "my rights."  The "her needs" kind of vision of marriage afflicts many.  If we indeed love the Truth, we must accept and follow God’s vision of marriage! So, it is time to awaken from our slumber and stand up and live out God's divine design for us.  Of course, that is, if we truly trust God and revere His Holy Word.  Let us be children of Light and not surrender to the pressure of our pagan culture, which forces us to reject everything godly and righteous!  And let us fix our eyes only on God and not our pagan culture.  With a sincere heart, let us fix our eyes on Him alone and not the giant, feminism, that rebels against God and all righteousness.  Remember, God's ways are perfect and best for us.  Let us let God and His Word work in us.

        So, ladies, if you do not desire to submit to and follow a man's leadership, then you must not marry, but you cannot escape your obligation to submit to male authority by remaining single.  To please God, you still must learn to submit your will to the divine will. Period!  Remember, submission does not mean you are inferior.  Do you suppose Christ was inferior when He submitted to the will of His Father?  I don't think so!!  Why?  Because submission or yielding shows strength and godly meekness.  Remember that when you submit to your husband, you are showing reverence and service to the Lord.  That is, you are serving Christ by yielding to your husband's will and not your own.  For your husband is your head!  

        There is only one head in the marital relationship.  God created both husband and wife as one flesh to function together under one head.  They are not to be autonomous but live together.  God has made the marriage relationship to be as beautiful as Christ is to the church.  Wives, submission is not doing what you always want to do, nor is it getting your own way!  Submission is choosing to submit or yield your will and desires to the will of your husband.  This is walking in godliness and love It is devotion to the Lord!  Submission honors and affirms the husband's leadership and encourages him to carry it on. 

        Submission is not begrudging him his role as head, and it does not undermine the leadership of her husband (1 Peter 3:1-2).  Wives, you are obeying Christ and submitting to His will when you submit to your husband's leadership or headship.  Remember, you will be rewarded for your yielding and loving service to your husband and the Lord.

        Until men and women start realizing what God wants and demands of them as husbands and wives, submitting to His headship and His rule, it is going to be difficult for our marriages to operate and be transformed the way God has intended from the beginning.    Sadly, God's vision of marriage has been severely damaged in our society, but it can be restored to God's original design through the Gospel of His Son.

        It is my fervent prayer that God, in some way, will help wives submit to their husbands as unto Him with a sincere and pure heart, the way He has purposed for them.  I know that it is not easy since Satan has tried so hard to pervert our hearts against God's will.  But deep in my heart, I know that it is possible if we start thinking and behaving like children of Light whose primary desire is to do the will of their Father in heaven.  Thanks be to God for the Gospel, which is His power unto salvation! 

        Therefore, let us reject the world's distorted vision of marriage and the home, and all the lies of feminism and determine to go back to the ancient pathways of God's righteous ways.   Thanks be to God for that beautiful vision of marriage He has set for us, which is so much better than our own vision, more beautiful, unusual and more life-giving. 

        May we submit to our husbands as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as also our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is the head of His church and the Savior of the body.  May it be as the Lord our God has spoken.  May we, from a sincere and contrite heart, change the course of our marriages.  May we give God much more than we are currently giving Him.  May we stand up like David and fight the giant, feminism, embracing God-defined femininity.  And may we allow His eternal Word to transform, regenerate, refine, and change us for His glory.


        Luci