Power of Submission
Heaven is where our hope lies. Our heavenly
hope is the anchor for our soul because the source of our hope is the sustenance
of our lives. (Hebrews 6:17-20) Whether we live in fear or in faith depends
upon our focus.
Blessed is he whose help is
the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven
and earth, the sea, and everything in them-- the LORD, who remains faithful
forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD
lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD
watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he
frustrates the ways of the wicked. The LORD reigns forever, your God, O
Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD. (NIV)
The emphasis in first Peter is on living
holy lives in difficult times. Peter urges us to prepare our minds
to be self-controlled as we set our hopes fully on God's grace. (2:13)
Focusing on our lives from heaven's vantage alleviates our fears as we
strive to do right. As we place our hope in God we understand our lives
are shielded by God's power as we place our faith in his directions for
our lives. (1:5)
1 Peter 3:12-14
For the eyes of the Lord are
on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face
of the Lord is against those who do evil." Who is going to harm you if
you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right,
you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." (NIV)
Placing our faith in God requires obedience
to Gods commands. Obedience requires submission. Submission to God and
others is the hallmark of the Christian’s life. Submission through obedience
to God activates God’s power in our personal lives for living.
Heaven Reveals the Power of Submission
Jesus Christ has revealed to us the
power of a life in submission to God. We are to arm ourselves with
the same attitude Christ revealed in his life of submission. (4:1)
1 Peter 2:19-25
For it is commendable if a
man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious
of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing
wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it,
this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ
suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his
steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." When
they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered,
he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die
to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the
Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (NIV)
Christ's submission to the Father reveals
submission's power to save us from our sins. Jesus entrusted himself to
will and power of God. The power of God through Jesus' life of submission
makes our forgiveness possible. The power of submission does not come in
just submitting for submission's sake. The power comes from the one to
whom we submit. The power of submission comes as we focus on obeying God.
Submission to God makes lives of submission powerful. When we consciously
choose to live lives of submission out of respect for God our lives are
shielded by the power of God. This is when our lives become empowered by
1 Peter 3:1-2
Wives, in the same way be submissive
to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they
may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they
see the purity and reverence of your lives. (NIV)
A former missionary told the story of two
rugged, powerful mountain goats who met on a narrow pathway joining two
mountain ridges. On one side was a chasm 1,000 feet deep; on the other,
a steep cliff rising straight up. So narrow was the trail that there was
no room to turn around, and the goats could not back up without falling.
What would they do? Finally, instead of fighting for the right to pass,
one of the goats knelt down and made himself as flat as possible. The other
goat then walked over him, and they both proceeded safely.
In a sense, this is what Jesus did for us
when He left heaven's glory and came to this earth to die for our sins.
He saw us trapped between our sin and God's righteousness with no way to
help ourselves. He humbled Himself by coming in the likeness of men and
taking the form of a servant. Then, by dying for sinful mankind, He let
us "walk over Him" so that we could receive forgiveness and eternal life.
The power of lives consciously submitted
to each other out of reverence for God is staggering. It makes little difference
whether we like one another or not.
Fear is the enemy to a commitment of
submission. Today too many opt to live together out of wedlock
because they refuse to submit to another. They are afraid to make a commitment
to submit to another for life. Fear tells us to stand up for our rights
and look out for ourselves. Fear encourages an aggressive outward life
because we are falling apart on the inside. Fear forces us to pretend and
cover up our insecurities while fooling us to believing we are in control.
In reality we are running in fear.
Peter encourages wives and husbands to live
together in submission and not to surrender to their fears. (3:6-7) Peter
admonishes the women saying: "Your beauty should not come from outward
adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine
clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty
of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."
(1 Peter 3:3-4) I think this is where we got the saying, "Beauty is only
skin deep." Peter is not encouraging an unkempt appearance. He is not condemning
jewelry and nice clothes. He is condemning trying to cover up our sinful
behavior solely through a good appearance.
The world says, "Dress for success." We can
use our outward appearance to fool people about who we are on the inside.
Dressing for success may say more about our insecurities than anything
else. A Christian lady was going for an interview for a new job. She was
overhead saying that she was going to go to the interview dressed so they
couldn't forget her. She was going to wear the brightest red dress she
had. She was going to be a knock out. However, she never got the job. A
different approach may have been much better.
1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore,
under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all
your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (NIV)
Glamour is artificial and superficial.
It is something we can put on and take off. Peter is concerned
about the adorning of the inner person. Submission is an adornment, which
manifest itself through a meek and quiet spirit. It is always present.
Glamour fades and decays, but a beautiful spirit just gets more beautiful
with the passing of time. God is concerned about values not prices.
Submission Defines Our Character
Submission doesn't define our position
but our disposition. Too many think of submission as an assigned
position or role, especially the woman’s role. Submission does not define
the role or position God has given us. Submission defines the character
of God's assigned role. It makes little difference if we are master or
slave, king or subject or husband or wife. It is submission, which elevates
us in our roles to the highest position. The character of the person filling
any role is of utmost importance. The most submissive person acquires the
highest ranking in heaven's sight regardless of the assigned role. Jesus
said, "The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts
himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
(Matthew 23:11-12 NIV)
1 Peter 3:5-8
For this is the way the holy
women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.
They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham
and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right
and do not give way to fear. Husbands, in the same way be considerate as
you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner
and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will
hinder your prayers. Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another;
be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. (NIV)
Submission is the characteristic that
equalizes us in the roles God has assigned us. A beautiful life
is characterized by submitting ourselves to each other as we place our
hope in God. It is the weakness of others that demands our submission to
their needs. Refusing to submit to the needs of others diminishes our standing
before God and hinders our prayers.
You are all sons of God through
faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have
clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor
free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong
to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Husbands are urged to be considerate toward
the wife as the weaker partner. Being in submission to those who are weaker
automatically places the one in the lesser role ahead of us. That is what
Jesus did on the cross. When Christians are truly submitted to each other,
it is difficult to tell who is serving whom. It is confusing when you see
God on his knees in the upper room washing the feet of his disciples. You
see God dying on the cross for the sins of his children. In the book of
Revelation you see God ruling on his throne in submission to the needs
of a lost world. God has made a commitment of submission to each of us.
It is mind boggling how we start coveting positions and refuse to develop
a submissive disposition. However, the greater the submission our role
demands, the greater the position from heaven’s vantage point. You shouldn’t
find Christians thinking they are one up on anyone. Jesus could not have
been King if he were unwilling to submit. When Christians submit themselves
to God, then they are in submission to each other regardless of their assigned
1 Peter 3:8-12
Finally, all of you, live in
harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate
and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with
blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from
evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do
good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on
the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face
of the Lord is against those who do evil." (NIV)
Motivation for Change
Doing the right thing for others eliminates
the fears of the world. Submission to others seldom brings harm
to us and it speaks volumes about what we believe. If doing right results
in suffering, we can take refuge in that God will bless us for doing right.
1 Peter 3:13-14
Who is going to harm you if
you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right,
you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." (NIV)
Submission offers the greatest possibility
of saving the lost. The power of a submissive life comes through
the purity of our motives and the reverence of our lives for Christ. Such
lives cultivate the hearts of the lost for obedience to God's word. Peter
encourages believing wives to submit so their husbands could be won without
the word. Living right has the potential of making evil persons
ashamed of their behavior. Nothing declares our sanctification in Christ
more than our willingness to subject ourselves to the needs of others.
Submitting ourselves to God's will for the sake of others is the best testimony
the world will ever hear. As wives submit themselves to their unbelieving
husbands they are persuaded to obey the word. As Christians gently and
respectfully submit themselves to the needs of others out of a clear conscious
unbelievers are persuaded to believe.
1 Peter 3:14-16
But even if you should suffer
for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not
be frightened." But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be
prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason
for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against
your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (NIV)
The conduct of missionary Nathatus Stach illustrates
the impact of a life guided by our Lord's peacemaking principles. For 20
years he labored in Greenland where he encountered fierce opposition. He
says, "My every move was misunderstood. My efforts to win these people
who I loved were repulsed by scoffing, but I knew that God who had called
me was faithful and that He would eventually conquer the hearts of my vindictive
critics. After 2 decades of weary toil, I sat one day reading aloud from
the third chapter of the gospel of John. Unknown to me, my chief persecutor
was listening intently to every word. Suddenly he burst into my hut and
demanded that I read it again. As I repeated the gracious words, this former
enemy began to tremble and asked me to show him the way of salvation. The
Holy Spirit then began to work in the hearts of others, and soon many were
led to Christ. One after another, those who had been antagonistic came
to me and pleaded for pardon. Thus my foes became my friends."
Jesus Christ offers the greatest motivation
for submission. There are many pages in most commentaries trying
to explain the following scriptures. Commentators usually get lost in their
comments and overlook the primary message, which is easily discerned. The
passage begins and ends with the submission of Christ. Jesus Christ has
painstakingly given himself for our needs. Jesus Christ is our example
for the righteous suffering for the unrighteous that all might be brought
1 Peter 3:17-22
It is better, if it is God's
will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ died for
sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom
also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago
when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.
In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this
water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also-- not the removal of dirt
from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves
you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is
at God's right hand-- with angels, authorities and powers in submission
to him. (NIV)
Suffering for doing good seems to be much
more of a challenge than suffering for doing evil. We think it is unfair
for good people to suffer. We don't have any problem understanding why
we suffer for doing evil. We seem to think it is pointless to suffer for
Peter uses Jesus Christ as an example of the
good suffering for evil. In fact, Christ died for your evil because he
was good. He did this so that he might bring you to God. Christ has been
patiently working with humanity since the days of Noah. Christ has submitted
himself to our needs so that we would have a good conscience before God.
Jesus Christ died physically, but was made
alive by the Spirit of God. Peter corresponds this to our baptism. When
we are baptized, we die to ourselves and come alive to God through the
resurrection power of his Spirit as we submit to ourselves to the will
1 Peter 3:9
Do not repay evil with evil
or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called
so that you may inherit a blessing. (NIV)
1 Peter 4:12-16
Dear friends, do not be surprised
at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were
happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings
of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for
the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not
be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.
However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God
that you bear that name. (NIV)
Submission is not dealing with our problems
from a position of weakness but of power. Submission is the means
to exaltation in Christ kingdom. Jesus Christ submitted himself to our
direst needs. As a result Christ is sitting in heaven and is at "God's
right hand---with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him."
Find rest, O my soul, in God
alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he
is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend
on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. (NIV)
2 Timothy 2:19
Nevertheless, God's solid foundation
stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are
his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away
from wickedness." (NIV)
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers,
stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work
of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
A woman who had an abusive husband went to
her minister one day to seek advice about the situation. After listening
to her for a while, the minister asked, "Have you ever tried heaping coals
of fire on his head?" Thinking for a moment, the discouraged and somewhat
embittered wife replied, "No, I haven't done THAT, but I HAVE used HOT