Gentle Jesus

Attend most any church in America today and you will be presented with a Jesus who is all warm and fuzzy. He wants to give meaning to your life, to fulfill your deepest longings, and to deliver you from all your troubles. This is the gentle Jesus of the contemporary evangelical culture. Seldom will you hear about the Jesus who is altogether holy, who cannot countenance sin and who demands total obedience.

Anathema to this mindset is the notion of submission, particularly as it relates to the relationship between husband and wife. People try to discount the biblical teaching on submission in a variety of ways. Some say husbands and wives are to submit to one another, so one is not more accountable than the other (Eph 5:21, 1 Pe 5:5). Others raise the objection of the abusive or unbelieving husband who would force his will on his wife. The latest objection I have heard is that all references to the word ‘submit’ in the New Testament have a reflexive or reciprocal sense that implies voluntary submission. In this view, there is no hierarchy and therefore no requirement to yield to a higher authority.

Of course this interpretation flies in the face of a common sense understanding of the word ‘submit.’ If there is no hierarchy and therefore no obligation to obey, the word is emptied of all meaning. It actually implies a role reversal, placing the submitter in the role of authority, since it is she who decides whether and when to obey. This is an example of the modern trend toward deconstructionism. It is not borne of a desire to understand the meaning of the word in its native context. It is what you do when you don’t like a word and want to make it more palatable.

Strong’s Concordance defines the Greek word for ‘submit’ as follows:

“Root: ὑποτάσσω
1) to arrange under, to subordinate 2) to subject, put in subjection 3) to subject one’s self, obey 4) to submit to one’s control 5) to yield to one’s admonition or advice 6) to obey, be subject ….. A Greek military term meaning “to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader.” In non-military use, it was “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden”.

The argument against the plain meaning of the word ‘submit’ in this definition goes that all biblical references to ‘submit’ are non-military, and therefore voluntary acts without respect to a higher command.  Jesus is a gentleman and would not force himself on anyone.  Of course the rest of the definition becomes moot at that point.

But then how do we deal with the verses that tell us to submit to Christ as the head of the church and the one under whom God the Father has put all authority on heaven and earth (Eph 5:24, 2:9-11)? Or Jesus’ own words when he said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord’ and not do what I say,” (Lk 6:46) and again, Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21)?

If there is no hierarchy, then how do we understand such verses as Rm 13:1 which tells us to be subject to the governing authorities which have been appointed by God? Or Jesus words in John 14:28 when He says, “I am going to the Father because the Father is greater than I?” Or Cor 15:27 which talks about God the Father putting all other authority under subjection to Christ? Or Eph 1:22 which says that God gave Christ to the church as head over all things? Or that the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church (Eph 5:23)? Or that slaves are to be subject to their own masters (Tit 2:9), a fact that Paul recognized by returning the runaway slave Onesimus to Philemon, his master? In every case scripture calls for submission to the one who has the higher authority.

In the case of our relationship to Jesus Christ, obedience is not just obligatory – it is the sign of genuine conversion. While it is true that Christ doesn’t force himself on anyone, he expects complete, unreserved obedience once a person unites with him. Paul says Christ purchased us as his slaves (1 Cor 6:20, 7:23). The Bible uses the Greek word ‘δοῦλος‘ or ‘slave’ to describe the relationship between Christ and the believer some 150 times in the New Testament (unfortunately, many translations use the term ‘bond servant’ to make it less objectionable). A slave has no option but to obey his master. Jesus says obedience is a sign of the true believer’s love for him (Joh 14:21, 1 Joh 2:3-6).

If submission were a strictly voluntary act, then why did the demons submit themselves to the disciples (Lk 10:17)? They certainly didn’t want to obey, but could not refuse because of the authority of the name of Jesus which they invoked. For the same reason, the legion of demons was compelled to leave the Gadarene Demoniac and could only enter the heard of pigs with Jesus’ permission. Romans 8:28 says creation was made subject to the curse not willingly but because God subjected it in the hope of redeeming it in the future. It had no choice in the matter.

The grammatical argument for a strictly voluntary, non-hierarchical submission is that the word translated ‘submit’ in our English Bibles is in the middle voice in the Greek, making it reflexive or reciprocal, i.e. ‘submit yourself.’ In this line of reasoning, the act is offered freely without compulsion. But this interpretation betrays a lack of understanding of Greek grammar. In all but one instance (Rm 8:28), the Greek word ὑποτάσσ takes no object, therefore it is an intransitive verb according to Greek-language.com.  So it can only be understood in an active sense:

“A passive meaning can be assigned only to transitive verbs, so when the middle/passive form is used with an intransitive verb, the meaning cannot be passive. In fact, the meaning for many English speaking readers will often seem to imply active voice, even though the Greek form is middle.”

For example, if I say, “Submit the application to the authorities,” that would be a transitive verb with an object. I am giving a document to someone else. But if I say, “Submit to one another,” I am not asking you to perform an action on or with anything. The same is true if I were to say, “Go to the store,” or “Take a walk.” These verbs do not take objects. They are intransitive.

Submission is a very distasteful notion to sinners. It is the main thing that keeps us from Christ in the first place. We don’t want to yield our wills to anyone. We want to be masters of our own fate. Submission becomes even more repulsive when Christ tells us to be subject to earthly authorities who might mistreat or abuse us because of their sinful natures. Yet Christ himself was obedient to his own parents even though he was the embodiment of righteousness and they were natural born sinners (Lk 2:51). He also submitted to the authority of the scribes and Pharisees and Pilate when they put Him to death. He did so for the same reason He expects you and me to submit to authority – because God the Father granted that authority. He said to Pilate, “You would have no authority if it had not been granted to you by my Father in heaven.”(Jn 19:11)

In the Bible obedience is not conditioned on the righteousness of the authority. Slaves are told to obey their masters “in every respect” (Col 3:22). Children are told to obey their parents “in everything” (Col 3:20). Wives are told to be subject to their husbands so that they will be won to the Lord “without a word,” (1 Pet 3:1). Jesus established these earthly authorities and commands us to obey them. Our willingness to submit to them even when it goes against our natural inclinations is ultimately an indication of our devotion to Christ. The only legitimate grounds for disobeying is when that authority issues a direct command to disobey God, as when the religious leaders told Peter and the apostles to stop preaching in Jesus’ name.

My favorite preacher, John MacArthur, says that we are no more like Christ than when we forgive. I would suggest that we are most like Christ when we show perseverance under pressure.  In 1 Peter 2:20 it says, ” For what credit is it if you sin and are mistreated and endure it? But if you do good and suffer and so endure, this finds favor with God.” It is through patient and faithful suffering of indignities and reproach that we exhibit the character of Jesus Christ. There are few things more painful than bearing mistreatment by one who holds all the leverage, like a boss or a policeman or judge or parent or even a spouse. There has been more than one time I wanted to set the record straight when accused of something I didn’t do but had to bite my tongue for fear of antagonizing an authority. It is especially hard to swallow when the one bringing the accusation is no exemplar of righteousness.

Jesus himself is not always gentle with us. Nor was his Father always gentle with him. His Father asked him to lay his life upon the altar for our sins. Jesus responded by setting his face like a flint to go to Jerusalem to be executed. His flesh screamed “No, No!!” Nevertheless, he prayed, “Let this cup pass from me. Yet not my will  but Thine be done!” In the same way, Jesus asks us to take up our cross and follow him, to deny ourselves, to lose our lives and to give up everything else for his sake. Because the world hated him, it will hate and mistreat us. Jesus expects us to respond like Job who said, “Shall I receive only good from the hand of the Lord and not evil?” (Job 2:10). When we suffer at the hands of authorities for righteousness sake we are sharing in the very sufferings of Jesus Christ. As the apostle Paul said, “ Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my physical body – for the sake of his body, the church what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.

There is a sense in which we participate in the very sufferings of Christ when we endure mistreatment for bearing his name. We are part of the body of Christ, and the main target for Satan’s attacks now that Jesus has been seated at the right hand of God the Father out of Satan’s reach. When we suffer for his sake, we are drawn into more intimate fellowship with him because we share a common experience that unbelievers can never know. The disciples counted it all joy to suffer shame for Christ’s sake. Can we do any less?

About craigolson001

Follower of Jesus Christ. Avid student of the Bible. Father of two, Step Father of two, Grandfather of two. Former missionary to northern Japan for eight years (Sapporo and Aomori City). Retired. Pickleball enthusiast. Biker, golfer, ESL teacher and devoted husband. Member of Chinese Christian Alliance Church.
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2 Responses to Gentle Jesus

  1. Gentle Jesus

    My name is Margo, and I am the one that was referenced in this blog. I find I want to respond to a great many things in this post. So I surrounded your information with three asterisks (***) to distinguish it from my comments.

    ***Attend most any church in America today and you will be presented with a Jesus who is all warm and fuzzy. He wants to give meaning to your life, to fulfill your deepest longings, and to deliver you from ail your troubles. This is the gentle Jesus of the contemporary evangelical culture. Seldom will you hear about the Jesus who is altogether holy, who cannot countenance sin and who demands total obedience. *** The lack of definitive teaching on the Lordship of Jesus both at the time of conversion and as one develops as a disciple is a travesty and has done much to weaken the church of today. Sadly I believe the failure to address Lordship is responsible for many who would seek a relationship with Jesus to miss out as they only see Him as savior, and not as Lord. According to Romans 10:9-10 both are required for one to be saved.

    For the rest of my comments to make sense, it will be helpful if I explain four elements of my underlying understanding of Biblical submission. 1) There is a difference in how one becomes a “slave” and how one behaves as a “slave”. A case in point is the present day military. All recruits chose to join as we have an all volunteer military. However, that choice includes agreeing to abide by the rules of an authoritarian hierarchy which includes giving up the freedom of choice. 2) Though Jesus has bought us as His slaves, He gives us the freedom not only to chose to accept the relationship (Ephesians 2:9-10) but He also allows us to chose to accept the conditions of being a slave to His Lordship (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23 and James 4:10). 3) According to the definition given below, Thayer’s lexicon and Webster there are different kinds of situations which one may submit to. Not all are hierarchical, some are coerced or required, some represent giving deference, others giving respect, assuming responsibility or cooperating, 4) Biblical submission is unique in that it is always something one does to oneself, it is not imposed from without.

    One way to win an argument is to rephrase the opponents position and then argue against your version. To some extent that has happened here. Since Craig got my position second hand I give him a pass, but I want to set the record straight in the following comments.

    ***Anathema to this mindset is the notion of submission, particularly as it relates to the relationship between husband and wife.*** While I agree that in general we reject the notion of submission, I am not sure what the relationship between husband and wife, one of many human relations that can involve submission has to do with my submission to the Lordship of Christ. Perhaps it is used here as an example of rejecting submission. ***People try to discount the biblical teaching on submission in a variety of ways. Some say husbands and wives are to submit to one another, so one is not more accountable than the other (Eph 5:21, 1 Pe 5:5). Others raise the objection of the abusive or unbelieving husband who would force his will on his wife. The latest objection I have heard is that all references to the word ‘submit’ in the New Testament are in the middle voice and have a reflexive or reciprocal sense that implies voluntary submission. In this view, there is no hierarchy and therefore no requirement to yield to a higher authority.*** I agree that there are many attempts to discount the teaching on submission found in the Bible. It was one reason I began my in-depth study of this topic some years ago. However, your characterization of my position is incorrect. While it is true that my study has shown that when the New Testament used hupotasso as it relates to a Christian’s behavior it is in the middle voice or its equivalent. (The relevant verses are listed at the end.) This is not some notion I have come up with. I am not a Greek scholar. It is what various Greek scholars have documented. However, this goes to points one and two above. It says nothing about whether the submission is to a hierarchy or not. In Biblical submission there are a number of differing situations to which we are called to submit. They include, but are not limited to, the Lordship of Christ which is to authority in a hierarchical situation, the coerced submission from outside the religious realm of the citizen to government, the deference of one believer to another and the submission of respect of a wife for her husband.

    ***Of course this interpretation flies in the face of a common sense understanding of the word ‘submit.’ If there is no hierarchy and therefore no obligation to obey, the word is emptied of all meaning. It actually implies a role reversal, placing the submitter in the role of authority, since it is she who decides whether and when to obey.*** These three statements are negated by the definitions quoted below. The assumption that all submission requires obedience to a hierarchy is not supported by either the definitions of the term nor the Biblical narrative. The choice to submit has nothing to do with the roles once one is submitting.

    ***This is an example of the modern trend toward deconstructionism. It is not borne of a desire to understand the meaning of the word in its native context. It is what you do when you don’t like a word and want to make it more palatable.*** It is not deconstructionism to read the specific words in their Biblical context, determine how the Greek scholars identify the parts of speech and define the words, accept the varied translations that point to submitting oneself and seek to apply them in our world. Whether or not the word is more palatable or not is secondary to learning what the Bible actually says. However, we should not be surprised when people reject what proves to be unbiblical teaching about a subject as is often the case in this area of submission. The beauty of choosing to submit to the Lord or a fellow Christian is a uniquely Christian construct that is often lost in the Biblical Maleists tradition view of all relationships in a hierarchy and all relationships as a required or coerced submission. The first grants freedom and joy in the submission, the latter engenders resentment and avoidance.

    ***Strong’s Concordance defines the Greek word for ‘submit’ as follows

    “Root: υποτασσω
    1) to arrange under, to subordinate 2) to subject, put in subjection 3) to subject one’s self, obey 4) to submit to one’s control 5) to yield to one’s admonition or advice 6) to obey, be subject ….. A Greek military term meaning “to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader.” in non-military use, it was “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden”.***

    In this definition we can see the various types of situations where one can submit. It may be an authoritarian situation where obedience is required, it may be a voluntary attitude of yielding to another or assuming responsibility. It may be a yielding out of deep and abiding respect. It may even be submitting to social morays.

    ***The argument goes that all biblical references to ‘submit’ are non-military, and therefore voluntary acts without respect to a higher command. Jesus is a gentleman and would not force himself on anyone. Of course the rest of the definition becomes moot at that point.***

    No one that I know is arguing that all Biblical references are non-military. What I am arguing is the need to determine the type of situation where submission is called for based on the Biblical context where it is taught. Though we all do it, when we come to a passage with a preconceived definition of terms such as submission requiring hierarchy, we often miss the specific teaching built into the context of that passage.

    ***But then how do we deal with the verses that tell us to submit to Christ as the head of the church and the one under whom God the Father has put all authority on heaven and earth (Eph 5:24, 2:9¬11)?*** I will address this question later where Craig brings these passages up again.

    ***Or Jesus’ own words when he said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord’ and not do what I say,” (Lk 6:46) and again, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21)?*** The fact that people misunderstand the Lordship of Christ or choose to be counterfeit Christians (Matthew 13:24-30 and 37-43) does not change the fact it is a choice to accept His Lordship and to live under its demands.

    ***If there is no hierarchy, then how do we understand such verses as Rm 13:1 which tells us to be subject to the governing authorities which have been appointed by God? Or Cor 15:27 which talks about God the Father putting all authority under subjection to Christ? Or Eph 1:22 which says that God gave Christ to the church as head over all things? Or that the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church (Eph 5:23)? Or that slaves are to be subject to their own masters (Tit 2:9), a fact that Paul recognized by returning the runaway slave Onesimus to Philemon, his master? In every case scripture calls for submission to the one who has the higher authority.*** No one is saying there is no hierarchy. That is a misunderstanding based on a narrow definition of submission. Let’s look at the verses one by one. In Romans 13:1 we have the teaching that Christians are to accept and live under the secular hierarchies that are in place. It is of note the in 1 Peter 2 we are told that if we do so willingly, rather that just under compulsion things go better for us and those we are under. In 1 Corinthians 15:27 we have to consider the timeframe stated in the context. This is future when all things will be subject to Christ, some of us because we chose it and the rest by fiat. When we look at Ephesians 1:22-23 it helps to look at the total statement. There are two metaphors in these verses. One is of Christ the head over all things which speaks to His Lordship. The second is in His role as head of a body which speaks to reciprocal role between Christ and His church. Please note that the head of a body is neither hierarchical nor authoritarian. In this metaphor we have each part giving to the other and dependant on the other. And yes, we the church give something to Christ during this time in history as we are His hands and feet to reach the world. This understanding of the head-body relationship applies to Ephesians 5:23 as well.

    In Titus 2:9 we have a reality of the secular world which we as believers are to accept and follow. However according to Peter we are to do so willingly, not as the world does under coercion (1 Peter 2:18-20). The story of Onesimus is a beautiful picture of difference between an unbeliever’s and a believer’s response to secular structures. While an unbeliever, Onesimus resisted the constraints of coerced slavery and ran away. He became a believer and Paul encouraged him to voluntarily place himself back in the condition of slavery. Paul did not nor could he constrain Onesimus. Paul was himself a prisoner. However, Paul’s description of what the relationship could be like now he was a believer had to influence his willingness to return.

    ***In the case of our relationship to Jesus Christ, obedience is not just obligatory – it is the sign of genuine conversion.*** I contend that in our relationship with Jesus Christ obedience is NOT obligatory. That is what is so amazing about what Christ offers us. However, I agree that it is a sign of genuine conversion and an expression of our love for the one who bought us while we were still sinners. ***While it is true that Christ doesn’t force himself on anyone, he expects complete, unreserved obedience once a person unites with him. Paul says Christ purchased us as his slaves (1 Cor 6:20, 7:23). The Bible uses the Greek word δουλος or ‘slave’ to describe the relationship between Christ and the believer some 150 times in the New Testament (unfortunately, many translations use the term ‘bond servant’ to make it less objectionable). A slave has no option but to obey his master. Jesus says obedience is a sign of the true believer’s love for him (Joh 14:21, 1 Joh 2:3-6).*** All this is true except the comment about bond servant. To impugn negative motives to the translators demonstrates a lack of understanding of the New Testament teaching and of the example the early church had in Exodus 21:5-6 and Deuteronomy 15:16-17. Just as the English word love does not adequately translate the Biblical use of αγαπαω (agapaô) and the Biblical meaning has to be taught, so the English word slave does not give us an understanding of what a δουλος (doulos) in relationship to the Lordship of Christ means. The translators, seeking to point out the unique meaning in the Biblical use chose bond servant to point back to the passages in Exodus and Deuteronomy. Whether or not this is a good choice is open to debate, but don’t impugn their motives.

    ***If submission were a strictly voluntary act, then why did the demons submit themselves to the disciples (Lk 10:17)? They certainly didn’t want to obey, but could not refuse because of the authority of the name of Jesus which they invoked. For the same reason, the legion of demons was compelled to leave the Gadarene demoniac and could only enter the heard of pigs with Jesus’ permission. Romans 8:20 says creation was made subject to the curse not willingly but because Gad subjected it in the hope of redeeming it in the future. It had no choice in the matter. *** No one is saying all submission is voluntary. To equate Christ’s relationship to the devil and his angels (demons) with His relationship to the humans He died for is ludicrous. Christ is the final authority and neither the earth nor demons can resist Him. That He has chosen to give us humans the freedom of choice is an incredible concept, but it is the teaching of all of Scripture. Not all submission is done to oneself and the context of the above situations should make that clear.

    ***The grammatical argument for a strictly voluntary, non-hierarchical submission is that the word translated ‘submit’ in our English Bibles is in the middle voice in the Greek, making it reflexive or reciprocal, i.e. ‘submit yourself.’ In this line of reasoning, the act is offered freely without compulsion. But this interpretation betrays a lack of understanding of Greek grammar. In all but one instance (Rm 8:20), the Greek word υποτασσω takes no object, therefore it is an intransitive verb according to Greek-language.com. So it can only be understood in an active sense: “A passive meaning can be assigned only to transitive verbs, so when the middle/passive form is used with an intransitive verb, the meaning cannot be passive. In fact, the meaning for many English speaking readers will often seem to imply active voice, even though the Greek form is middle.” For example, if I say, “Submit the application to the authorities,” that would be a transitive verb with an object. I am giving a document to someone else. But if I say, “Submit to one another,” I am not asking you to perform an action on or with anything. The same is true if I were to say, “Go to the store,” or “Take a walk.” These verbs do not take objects. They are intransitive. ***

    The textbook understanding of Greek grammar gives us the rules and Craig has pointed out that there are exceptions to the rule. In my experience exceptions to the rules of grammar are legion. This paragraph also points out that the English which has many fewer verbal components is sometimes limited in expressing the richness of the Greek language.

    I am not a Greek scholar and have relied for my information on scholars and translators. In particular I began researching with the relevant passages in the Bible. See list at the end. Then I reviewed the work of scholars who have studied the words in their context and parsed verbs, giving one the details of the verb as it is used in context. They also provide definitions of all the various Greek grammatical features, especially those that do not have an English equivalent. One source is Zodhiates, Spiros, Th.D., Executive Editor, The Complete Word Study New Testament. Chattanooga, TN, AMG Publishers, 1991. Another is GNP: The Gramcord Greek New Testament Database, Copyright 1991, the Gramcord Institute.

    Then I reviewed various word-for-word translations such as the NASB and the ESV. They provided translations that support though don’t always specify the reflective action of the middle voice in the specific verses. Wuest, who was a professor of New Testament Greek provided an expanded translation of the New Testament with the express purpose of using as many English words as needed to flesh out the richness of the Greek syntax and grammar. In his translation of the 18 verses I refer to he used themselves, yourself, himself, etc. in 15 of the 18 translations.

    I will leave it to the reader to determine whether the grammatical rules or the words studied in the context best give one the true meaning of the scripture.

    ***Submission is a very distasteful notion to sinners. It is the main thing that keeps us from Christ in the first place. We don’t want to yield our wills to anyone. We want to be the masters of our own fate. The matter gets even more complicated when Christ tells us to be subject to earthly authorities who might mistreat or abuse us because of their sinful natures. Yet Christ himself was obedient to his own parents even though he was the embodiment of righteousness and they were born sinners (Lk 2 51). *** I agree with Craig about the resistance to the very notion of submission. I am a very strong proponent of Biblical submission if it is taught as the scripture teaches it. The Biblical version gives one reason to put aside one’s distaste and at least try what Christ offers. When it is inaccurately taught, as it often is in the narrow view of submission of the Biblical Maleists the distaste is often amplified. Christ does not call us to be under the vicious rule of a harsh task master. He calls us to loving service of the most benevolent ruler that has ever existed. We need to be sure we are teaching the real Biblical submission.

    ***In the Bible obedience is not conditioned on the righteousness of the authority. Slaves are told to obey their masters “in every respect” (Col 3:22). Children are told to obey their parents “in everything” (Col 3:20). Wives are told to be subject to their husbands so that they will be won to the Lord “without a word,” (1 Pet 3:1). The only legitimate grounds for disobeying authority is when that authority issues a direct command to disobey God, as when the religious leaders told Peter and the apostles to stop preaching in Jesus’ name. *** In general I agree with this, but I reject the notion that submission and obedience are interchangeable terms. While obedience is the mainstay of submission in hierarchies it plays no part in other forms of submission. At the same time scripture calls for obedience where it does not call for submission. Children are told to obey their parents, not submit to them. Wives are told to submit out of respect, not commanded to obey husbands. Again, to understand the Biblical teaching we must use the breadth of the definition and analyze each aspect of the teaching in context. When we study these passages through the lens of predetermined, unsupported definitions we can be mislead.

    ***My favorite preacher, John MacArthur, says that we are no more like Christ than when we forgive. I would add that we are more like Christ when we show perseverance under pressure. in I Peter 2:20 it says, ” For what credit is it if you sin and are mistreated and endure it? But if you do good and suffer and so endure, this finds favor with God.” It is through patient and faithful suffering of indignities and reproach that we exhibit the character of Jesus Christ.*** While this is a true concept I am not sure what it adds to the present discussion.

    ***Jesus himself is not always gentle with us. He asks us to take up our cross and follow him, to deny ourselves, to lose our lives and to give up everything else for his sake.*** This is absolutely true. Notice Jesus does not demand our compliance, He asks us to do it ourselves. The verses about denying oneself and humbling oneself are also in the middle voice. This is what is so amazing about the freedom Jesus gives us to reject Him either before salvation or even as we are growing as disciples. No other hierarchical situation offers such freedom. It is tragic when incorrect interpretation steals this concept from us.

    ***Because the world hated him, it will hate and mistreat us. Jesus expects us to respond like Job who said, “Shall 1 receive only good from the hand of the Lord and not evil?” (Job 2:10). When we suffer for righteousness sake we are sharing in the very sufferings of Jesus Christ. As the apostle Paul said, ” Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my physical body – for the sake of his body, the church – what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.”

    There is a sense in which we participate in the very sufferings of Christ when we endure mistreatment for doing what is right and good. We are part of the body of Christ, and the main target for Satan’s hostility now that Jesus has been removed from his sights. When we suffer for his sake, we are drawn into more intimate fellowship with him because we share a common experience that unbelievers can never know. The disciples counted it all joy to suffer shame for Christ’s sake. Can we do any less?***

    While the content of the previous two paragraphs are true, I fail to see how they advance a discussion of submission or the Lordship of Christ. For me the Lordship of Christ is paramount. Therefore, of necessity I am a strong supporter of teaching and practicing Biblical submission. In many ways all the other forms of submission taught in the New Testament are an outgrowth of our acknowledging Jesus’ Lordship. So whether it is supporting submission to social morays to ensure that church services are done decently and in order, or supporting submission to a husband out of respect to ensure his need for respect is met as God had planned, all these flow from accepting the Lordship of Jesus, which we saw at the beginning of this blog is to a large extent sadly ignored.

    1. Luke 2:51 And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth; and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
    2. Romans 13:1 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
    3. 1 Corinthians 14:34 Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the law also says.
    4. 1 Corinthians 16:15-16 Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints), that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors.
    5. Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
    6. Ephesians 5:22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
    7. Ephesians 5:24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
    8. Colossians 3:18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
    9. Titus 2:3-5 3Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored.
    10. Titus 2:9 Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,
    11. Titus 3:1-2 1Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 2to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.
    12. Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?
    13. James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
    14. 1 Peter 2:13-14 13Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.
    15. 1 Peter 2:18 Servants, submit to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.
    16. 1 Peter 3:1 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, 2as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
    17. 1 Peter 3:5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands.
    18. 1 Peter 5:5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

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