Biblical Submission: Bondage or Blessing?

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” (Eph. 5:22–24).

You probably assumed that a Christian devotional book titled The Extraordinary Wife would sooner or later come to that dreaded s-word. You know, the part about wives submitting to their husbands. Many wives cringe at the mention of submission because they view it as oppressive bondage, and they fail to understand the blessing that accompanies biblical submission.

Simply put, to submit means to obey. Christian women are instructed to obey their husbands, as unto the Lord, in everything. I have been told by more than one well-meaning lady that she doesn’t mind submitting to her husband as long as she agrees with him. But, that’s not submission. That’s mutual agreement. Submission comes into play when a decision must be made and you don’t agree. At that point, someone must have the final say. Can you imagine the chaos there would be in a country where no one was in authority? Or the waste of time and productivity there would be in a company with no one to decide how things are to be done? Or the havoc that would be unavoidable in a church with no leaders? The same holds true in the family. Conflict, insecurity, and confusion are inevitable in a home where there is no decisive leader.

Does that mean the wife is of less value and importance than her husband? Absolutely not! Men and women are totally equal in value, as both are image-bearers of our Creator. Scripture teaches that the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ (1 Cor. 11:3). Jesus Christ, in whom “dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” willingly submitted Himself to the will of the Father. Being no less deity, He obeyed every desire of His Father, even to the point of laying down His life on a Roman cross. Christ is certainly of no less importance than God the Father, and neither are women of any less value than men. Just as Christ fills a different role in the Trinity, so husbands and wives have different roles in marriage. One is not better than the other. They are just different.

Nor does biblical submission mean a woman should be a doormat for a tyrannical despot. It is never acceptable or scriptural for a woman to suffer any type of abuse because she is married to an abuser. The Lord instituted the submission of Christian wives for their protection, not their harm.

But instead of simply considering the directive for wives to submit to their husbands, I would like for us to contemplate an amazing blessing that accompanies the biblical submission of a Christian wife to her husband. While I could list numerous blessings, I believe the greatest is found in Titus 2:5. We are told here that it is vitally important for the older women to teach the younger women to obey their own husbands (among other things), so that “the word of God be not blasphemed.” In other words, Christian wives are to submit to the leadership of their husbands in order to make the Bible believable to a watching world. If we say that we believe the Scripture is true, but we fail to walk in obedience to what it says, then we blaspheme and dishonor God’s word. Marriages where the husband lovingly leads his wife and the wife joyfully submits to her husband are very rare. Because of this, those types of marriages are stunning tributes to the transforming power of the Gospel.

As you choose to submit to your husband, you will find greater fulfillment in the role for which you were created, and your husband will find more freedom to lead, as he was designed to do. More importantly, God’s Word will be honored, and He will be glorified. And that’s not bondage. That, dear friend, is a glorious blessing!

Action Points:

  • Take a moment to ponder how Christ submitted Himself to His Father as a model for your own submission to your husband.
  • Contemplate all of the blessings promised to wives who submit to their husbands.

This chapter was written by Cindy Currin

This chapter is taken from “The Extraordinary Wife”. CLICK HERE to order a copy of the book.

 

1 Comment

  1. Heidi MorrisJuly 27, 2020

    As a survivor of a marriage that was marked by physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual abuse, I read articles like this with fear that they will insist that wives are to submit regardless of circumstance. How I longed to have a Godly husband who would lead me – and our family – in the shadow of the cross. Well-meaning friends suggested time and again that if I would just “submit more” (etc., etc.) then God would honor that. And you know what? He did! He opened my eyes to just what was happening in our marriage – that Jesus loved ME more than he loved the institution of marriage – especially my marriage that was a lie and made a mockery of what God’s design for marriage is. Submitting didn’t mean giving my husband a free ride to multiple affairs, plunging us into bankruptcy over and over again, or honoring his porn addiction. By honoring our husbands, we are in obedience to God. But honoring and blindly submitting to “dis-“honorable husbands is perpetuating (among other things) the lie of works. Thank you for including the bit about abuse in marriages. So many publications ignore it or discredit it. It is RAMPANT in the church…especially covert abuse in the name of Biblical submission. There is a difference. It is not about “agreement,” but about honor and obedience…obedience to the LORD. Please don’t forget the women (and occasionally men) who are suffering in the congregations because their churches won’t practice church discipline or call out abuse for the evil that it is.

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Harold Vaughan

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Evangelist Harold Vaughan is the founder of Christ Life Ministries, Inc. To date, his ministry has led him to preach in forty-eight states and many foreign countries. Click on "ABOUT" in the menu bar to learn more about Harold.
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