August 25, 2021
Adam Garey, Elder at East White Oak Bible Church
One of the ways in which we know that we are Seeking to Be Worshipers Maturing in Christ is through the vital sign of Growing in Christ. In a previous Oak Leaf, Pastor Scott introduced this vital sign:
Growing in Christ means a relationship with Christ. This means a continuing life of repentance, faith, and submission. Our submission is first to Christ as the head of the church. However, submission extends into every area of our lives—to family relationships, to church leadership, to the world at large.
How does one define “submission”?
This can be simply described as one person humbly and willingly placing themselves under the authority of another. This was modeled perfectly by the Lord Jesus. In His prayer at Gethsemane, we see a window into His heart. Though He was sorrowful and troubled at the suffering and death He was about to endure, He submitted to the Father’s will, praying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39). Christ’s perfect work was finished on the cross. He bore terrible punishment for our sins that we might now enjoy fellowship with God. In response, it is good and proper that we should follow Jesus’ example by also living in submission to God’s Word and will (Rom. 6:17-18) with gratitude for what He has done for us.
The Bible is clear and specific about who we are to submit to. For instance, we are all to place ourselves in submission to rulers and governing authorities (Rom. 13:1-2, Titus 3:1-2). When we become members of a local church, we place ourselves under the authority of the elders (1 Pet. 5:5). Wives are called to submit to husbands (Eph. 5:22), employees are exhorted to “obey in everything” our employers “with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord” (Col. 3:22, cf Titus 3:2). And finally, the broadest of commands is that we, with thankful hearts, “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 5:20-21).
This may seem to be a daunting portfolio of submission. Our immaturity, divided hearts, and pride, as well as the deceitful whispers of the Devil lead us away from the humility and gratefulness that it takes to submit to the will of the Lord or to the people around us. But take heart! With each call to obedience found in Scripture, we find complementary words of hope and blessing to those who willingly submit. Rulers and authorities are servants of God given for our good (Rom. 13:3-5). Elders are instructed to “shepherd the flock of God” willingly, selflessly, and eagerly. They are to be “examples to the flock” which would include exemplary humility and submission to the Lord Jesus (1 Pet. 5:1-4). Immediately after calling wives to submit to their husbands, husbands are commanded to love their wives. All out, humble, selfless, agape love “as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25-28). Employers are commanded to treat their employees “justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven” (Col. 4:1). And finally, submitting to one another fosters mutual blessing and joy among all who are submitting to one another.
The growing disciple’s life is an increasingly joyous life of submission.