JohnSWilson3 Blog

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
January 17, 2011, 4:09 pm
Filed under: P Letter to the Ephesians

I have been asking Father to guide me through this last part of Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus and have been seeing how Paul is connecting a lot of his thoughts. Again it seems that Paul continues to reflect back to many of his main points he has mentioned earlier about the eternal purpose of God. I almost feel led to list all of the amazing things Paul tells us about being in Christ again! How God “made us alive with Christ” because of “his great love for us,” etc. As a result we are a new creation, “one new man,” “members of God’s household,” “being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” so that “through the church, the manifold wisdom of God (Christ Himself!) should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.” This manifold wisdom of God, is described as “the measure of all the fullness of God” and the church is called, when living by His life to attain “to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” This can only happen when we learn Christ! Knowing Christ better is Paul’s prayer for His people! But it only comes from spiritual sight, being given “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” so that the “eyes of our hearts may be enlightened in order to know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe,” His resurrection power!

In order for Christ’s resurrected power, His great love, to be manifested in and through His body we must hear Him and be taught by Him, because truth is in Jesus! We are called to be built together “by his Spirit” not by anything else or by someone else. Christ is Head of His body! Christ said He would build His church, His Spirit in us is what does the work. We come together and “in him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” Freely functioning by His life together! As we hear Him and are taught by Him “he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.”

As we learn Christ together and as we hear Him and are taught by Him the flesh is put off, it is seen as dead, (which it is by the way) and we put on Christ, learn to live by His life. As a result we will live by His life, manifested in sacrificial love. He will continue to expose our flesh as dead and His life as real life. This then is living in wisdom, learning to live by His life organically with other brothers and sisters in Christ in face to face community where it is all about relationships in Christ, His life functioning however He desires through His body building it up in love. That is being filled by the Spirit! How we should be thankful that Christ would want to live through us! How it should bring us to praise Him! To “speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” singing and making “music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!”

I read “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” and the flesh seems to want to come up against this and I think that is the same for any person whether they are in Christ or not. There is a conflict. Perhaps the reason for Paul’s ending his letter on just this conflict just as he did with the churches in Galatia. Our individualistic mindset does not want to accept this idea. But the flesh is dead, we live by Christ’s life and His life is sacrificial, it is no longer about me, it is about His body. He dwells in my brothers and sisters and I only learn Him in experience as I live life with my brothers and sisters. This then is the essence of living by His life, “submitting to one another in the fear of Christ” as HCSB puts it. The word “submit” means “to retire, withdraw” and think it essentially describes denying oneself, not focused on self. Jesus said if we were to follow Him then we were to deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily and follow Him. This thought seems to come from his letter to the church in Philippi: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” When we live by His life then submitting to one another is one of the fullest expressions of His life with one another, considering others better than ourselves.

When we read the rest of Paul’s letter that should be kept in mind. So when we read “wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord” that does not mean husbands you are to make your wives your servants, that is of the flesh, or to subvert ourselves to someone’s every inclination. It is a mutual submission. Paul could have easily said: “husbands submit to your wives as to the Lord, children submit to your parents as to the Lord, parents submit to your children as to the Lord, slaves submit to your masters as to the Lord, or masters submit to your slaves as to the Lord.” In each case each are submitting themselves to one another in the fear of Christ. Paul is giving some examples of what Christ’s life in His people can look like in daily living together and in daily life.

In the body we consider others better than ourselves, in daily life with those who are not in Christ, we consider others better than ourselves. Let us not be too hasty in forming a worldly/cultural view of the life of Christ where we are to act one way to one group and another way to another group. The flesh is to be put off. As Paul told the church in Corinth: “so from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.” If your husband or wife or parent or children or slave or master is or is not in Christ, when living by His life you consider them better than yourself, you deny yourself, you think of them more than yourself. Perhaps this is the truth of “love your neighbor as yourself,” perhaps this is why we are not manifesting Christ’s life to others, we have a different way of thinking about love to those in Christ and to those not in Christ. We are not to love as the world loves, even to the world. We love others, those that are not in Christ, like we love those who are. Christ’s love is the same for all, He died for all, He rose again for all, He desires to live in all. Maybe those who are not in Christ seeing this different and more powerful love, the life of Christ in us, they might actually see that Christ is who He says He is and that He does have a “great love for us” and “is rich in mercy” and would believe. “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Jesus washes disciples feet


4 Comments so far
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Bro John,
Thank you.
Sis Kat

Comment by Kat

You are welcome sis!

Comment by John Wilson

Excellent article John! We need more of this! Keep blogging and spread it out like a virus!

Comment by molongnacua

Thanks brother for the kind words!

Comment by John Wilson

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