So I’m doing this Bible study with my neighbor. First Peter. We’re at that infamous submission part. I’ve camped out in this book for years. I frequently come back to it because it so directly speaks to me.
It bothers me that I’m bothered by the whole subject of submission because I can clearly see that submission is not a subheading under the subject of being a wife. It is, as I’ve heard John Piper put it, the peculiar mark of majesty on all within the kingdom of God. But it’s just my fallen human nature to be bothered by the idea of submission. No one. No. One. Likes someone else to be in authority over them No one likes being the one who defers to the authority of another. We all want to do life our way without anyone telling us otherwise. That’s just our messed-up nature.
Submissiveness is godly. God-like. It’s not natural or human-like. Submissiveness is to be the character of all Christians, not just women or wives. Godly submissiveness is willing, not forced. The godly submissive person knows where they come from. They know who they are. And Whose they are. They know where they’re going. They know what their inheritance is. They know all things are theirs in Christ. And they willingly honor and defer to the authority of those in authority and they willingly humble themselves to lift up others.
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him… “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” – John 13:3-5, 14-17
Because all Christians are called to a Christ-like submissiveness in the way they relate to authority and to each other there is manifestly different kinds of submission. Those who submit to persons in authority have one kind. Those (even in positions of authority) who submit themselves to others in various situations have another kind. But all kinds are willing, coming from a person who knows they are a child of the Living God. They are not weak, doormats with no will or choice. They are the wealthiest, most powerful of all because their Father is the Creator of the universe and works ALL things for their good and His glory. No person in a position of authority over them has any power other than what their Father has ok’d.
The person who bears the God-like, peculiar mark of majesty can look the most powerful and the most harsh and the most wealthy person in the face and face any response or consequence they may impose on their life without any fear.