Submission, is it really as dirty a word as we think it is? Or is there more to it? I’m Joel Fieri. This is, What You’ve Been Searching For. Stay tuned. In looking further at the divide, the major divide in Christianity these days as highlighted by our podcast a few weeks ago on the documentary American Gospel: Christ Crucified, which featured the heavy hitters of the progressive side of Christianity and also of the more conservative traditional side. I wanted to continue and piggyback off last week’s podcast where I looked at the Bible’s definitions or the Bible’s prescriptions for the qualifications of elders and pastors and deacons in the church. And if you caught that podcast you know that I talked about how Paul lays out the characteristics and the character qualities of men who aspire to be elders and deacons and pastors. And that word aspire was key, if you caught that podcast. We’ll put a link down below for you if you didn’t.
I talked about how if those who aspire to be leaders have those qualities then the men who follow them will also aspire to have those qualities. That’s how men are wired. We need to aspire to something better than ourselves and if we can see it in other men we’ll follow them, especially if they turn around and disciple those qualities into us. If they pour their life into us, we’ll follow that and we’ll aspire to have those qualities as well. And if we do that, it’s not at the expense of women in leadership at our church, but it will also elevate the women in our church and the church will be a mighty force in society. Well, I wanted to piggyback off of that and talk about the family as well, because as most people know, the Bible has some things to say about male and female roles within the family, marriage in particular, but also within the family. And there’s no place more significant in talking about that then Ephesians 5:22 to 33 where Paul lays down to the Ephesian Church this is what a husband and wife relationship should look like.
And I’m going to take the same tact that I took last week, because we typically look at these verses as how this relates to women and their roles, and a lot of women don’t like it. They tend to think this is keeping women down. But again, I want to do what I did last week and instead of doing that focus on why it’s there in terms of how it relates to men, what is it telling men? So I want to read starting in verse 22. It says, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body of which he is the savior. Now, as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Now, that’s usually where we stop and a lot of women take offense to that or don’t like that or wish it wasn’t there. Whenever that happens in a conversation, I always tell them, “Keep reading,” and I’m going to keep reading starting in verse 25.
“Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. To make her holy, cleansing her by washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but they feed and care for their body just as Christ does the church, for we are members of his body. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery, but I’m talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you must also love his wife as he loves himself and the wife must respect her husband.” Now, ladies, if you thought God was asking a lot of you or even Paul was asking a lot of you in those first verses, look at what God and Paul is explaining is expected of husbands.
Just like we talked about, again, as I said last week, if the church had male leaders that had these qualities, what if marriages and families had husbands who had this love, self-sacrificial love, for their wives? What if they really did take this to heart and love their wives the way Christ loved the church, giving himself up for her? This is pretty radical stuff. This is a pretty big responsibility. Paul is asking a lot of the men and husbands in this passage. So I think we overlook that because we either have a societal reaction or an emotional reaction to the first verses. But if you read on, I would just ask any women who have trouble with the first three or four verses there, if they had a husband that loved them like this and modeled this behavior to their sons and to their daughter so they could expect the same treatment when they get married, how many of you would really have a problem submitting?
And I particularly like in verse 33 how he ends it. After saying all of this, he says, “Each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself and the wife must respect her husband.” So when we talk about the word submit, I don’t know the Greek root for it, but I would expect or suspect that it has something to do with respect, because as all men know out there, the main thing we need our wives or from the women in our life is respect. Ladies, if you show your husband respect, it will make a big difference in how we treat you. Just like, husbands, if you show your wife love, it will make a big difference in how she responds to you. There’s always that love and respect tension, but it’s also a balance between male and female and I think it comes out in these verses. So as we talked about, if we had male leadership, pastor, deacon, overseer, leadership in the church, how powerful the church would be in society.
If we had husbands who were challenged to aspire to be this kind of husband and we had pastors, overseers, and deacons who had these same kind of qualities in their marriages discipling that into our men, the family would contribute to the power of the church in society and the gates of hell would not be able to prevail against us. So in wrapping up this little part of the difference between progressive and conservative Christianity, the progressive side tends not to like these kinds of verses. They tend to really emphasize female leadership in the church and in pretty much all areas, even in family. We see these days a lot of marriages where this is being turned around, where husbands are more or less giving up these responsibilities or the expectation of these responsibilities and women are more and more taking these on. The conservative side, wants to stick to this blueprint, to this framework, because God doesn’t say this for no reason.
Remember, God created man and women in his image. Male and female, he created them. So there are male aspects of God and there are female aspects of God and he created men and women to mirror that and to display that for his glory. I think if we had this expectation on our men, told them to aspire to this, and then disciple them with these qualities God’s perfect plan would come closer to fruition. And again, I say the witness to the world would be phenomenal. So I hope that helps. Hope that makes sense. Leave your opinion in the comments. Am I right? Am I wrong? Let’s talk about it, please. Next week, I want to wrap up the whole series, the whole idea of why we need to get this conflict between the progressive and the conservative sides of the Christian divide resolved, if at all possible. So I hope you’ll stay tuned for that.