Submission and Sin

August 20, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Posted in I Peter | 1 Comment
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Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;

I Peter 2:13

Christians are supposed to submit to the institutions on this earth which were ordained by God. These include the family, the government, and the Church. The world says submission is slavery. The hairs on the back of our necks bristle at the very thought of submission, but the attitude and practice of submission is one of the most overlooked virtues of the Christian life today. Most large churches and most of the major religions and denominations today are teaching that we should be allowed to pick and choose when and when not to submit. There is very little true submission to the ordinances of man, to Godly authority in our homes, to church discipline, and, least of all, to the Bible and God Himself.

These failures come from a deceptive and foolish attitude about sin. We are taught today that sin is something that hurts someone else. If I take something that belongs to someone else, it is stealing, and we recognize stealing as “bad” because I have deprived someone else of something that he needed. But what’s really bad is that I broke Commandment No. 8. I broke my God’s COMMANDthat’s sin. Bill Gates probably made more money while I was writing this lesson than I could make in 10 lifetimes. If I had access to his personal possessions, I could probably take a Rolls Royce or a Rolex watch and it wouldn’t hurt him a bit. But it would be a SIN – an offense against my Lord and Savior that He bore in His body on the tree.

At the end of I Peter Chapter 2 we see some of the paradoxes of Christ. He was given stripes so we could be healed. We die so we can live (die to sins, and live unto righteousness). He was the Shepherd Who died for the sheep SO He could oversee the sheep for all eternity. He knew no sin, but He bare the sin in His own body on the tree – the sign of a cursed life – when His whole life was nothing but one giant blessing to God the Father, and to all mankind. He bore MY sin on that tree, and it wasn’t just sins against others. It was and is sin against HIM.

In light of that, as citizens, we are called to submit to the laws of government and to the men who hold offices in government. As church members, we are called to submit to church leaders. As employees, we are called to submit to employers. Wives are to submit to husbands. Children are to submit to parents.

Battling for Glory

July 2, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Posted in I Peter | 5 Comments
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As Christians, our journey on the road to glory begins with our spiritual birth. As we move from glory to glory with our minds “hinged” (not unhinged), and with our eyes fixed on Jesus, Who is both the Author and the Finisher of our journey, we remember that we are sojourners and pilgrims, not homeless wanderers. All through this journey, we are being prepared for glory as we go, and we are moving toward the fullness of glory, even as we make conquests along the way. We are bringing our thoughts into captivity and getting victories over our enemies, but how well the devil knows this tendency of ours to think of the victories as “ours!”

Here is where we have to be in the Word and filled with the Spirit. A victory along the way is not winning the whole war.

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

I Peter 2:11

The war is the whole campaign, not an individual battle.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. and I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:17-18

Peter would be very displeased with the idea (proffered by many people) that he is the rock upon which the church is built, and the false idea that his successors get revelations from God not found in His Holy Word.

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 3:11

Flesh and blood don’t reveal to us that Jesus is the Son of God. We become children of God by grace through faith. Likewise, we don’t fight spiritual battles by flesh and blood. We fight by submitting to God’s Spirit, and we do this by faith.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

II Corinthians 10:3

This is a paradox. We win battles by surrendering. We do fight battles, but we don’t win these battles by fighting them in the worldly way. Beware of the temptation of Satan. Victory in battle can easily give place to lawlessness, but an attitude of submission does not allow for lawlessness or rebellion.

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

I Peter 2:12

Our submission to God will be a witness to unbelievers.

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

I Peter 1:13

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

I Peter 1:15

Having a good testimony in the presence of unbelievers is not the way to bring ourselves glory. It is a way to bring glory to God, and to present a favorable impression of Him in the eyes of the lost for the “day of visitation.”

Through Whom God Works out His Plans

November 16, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Several years ago my wife and I were sitting across the table from another married couple, having a meal together at a Christian retreat. They were telling us about the first and only house they had purchased after getting married. The wife said that, after looking at many houses, they had a found a few possibilities but none seemed like the perfect choice. Finally, her husband drove them out to the country, down a winding path, to a little rundown home in a wooded area. The wife was adamantly opposed. The price was right, but the house needed a great deal of fixing up, and she did not want a renovation project to be the first task they tackled together as married couple. To put it bluntly, she hated it. She had a certain type of home in mind, and this was not it. Then, as she was telling us about it, the couple smiled at each other, and the wife said, “I had a plan, and…”

I remembering thinking, “I know what’s coming next. She’s going to say, ‘I had a plan, and God had a plan… and His plans are always better than our plans.'” Or something to that effect. But that’s not what she said. She said, “I had a plan… and my husband had a plan.”

The husband listened carefully and patiently to his wife’s input, but, even though they didn’t agree, he made the decision to purchase the house. She lovingly submitted, they fixed it up, they raised a family together there, they glorified God in that home, and, all those years later, they were still living in it and they loved it.

I still think about it that conversation sometimes. It sounded so unspiritual compared to what she could have said. However, the Bible says:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

Ephesians 5:22

That’s not the most popular Bible verse these days. Our modern society doesn’t like the idea of “submission,” especially where gender roles are debated and used as cannon fodder in the culture wars. And, even within the confessing evangelical church, a whole bunch of ink has been spilled trying to “explain away” the plain meaning of such a simple principle.

Many times, we forget that God ordains and commands authority and submission and obedience – even in our fallen and sinful earthly realm – for good, using them as means to carry out His sovereign will. God is omniscient, so He is certainly able to foresee and determine the outcome, even of bad human decisions, but He still tells sinful children to submit to sinful parents, sinful church members to submit to sinful church leaders, sinful employees to submit to sinful employers, and even sinful wives to submit to sinful husbands. It’s not always easy to trust a another human being with a life-altering decision, but it should not be difficult at all for us to read the Bible, understand its basic concepts, and to trust the omniscient God of the universe.

Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?

Job 37:16

Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

Psalm 147:5

For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

I John 3:20

For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.

Psalm 139:4

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

I Timothy 1:17

Beware of Fresh-Faced Frowardness

June 19, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Posted in I Peter, The Fives | 1 Comment
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Youth is prized in our modern culture. Actually, a youthful appearance has probably always been coveted among those who seek a shallow outward-focused beauty. But it is only in relatively recent times that youthfulness has started to seem like an indicator of quick-wittedness, intelligence, discernment, or at least innovation.

The Bible, as is so often the case, stands in contrast to, and corrects, the “wisdom” of the world.

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

I Peter 5:5

Humility is an important trait for every Christian believer to cultivate, but it is especially incumbent upon those who are less mature, both in age and in spiritual growth, to be in subjection to their elders.

Submission can be a tricky and touchy topic these days, but the admonition and command concerning church authority, leadership roles, and attitudes is that the younger believers generally defer to the elder believers, who, through experience, are in a better position to govern (as undershepherds) the Body of Christ.

Reverence in Marriage (Part 2)

June 29, 2011 at 9:05 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage | 12 Comments
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In Part 1 we discovered that the Greek word for the way wives are supposed to relate to their husbands is phobos, which is often translated as “fear,” although in Ephesians 5:33 it has been translated as “reverence.”

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Ephesians 5:31-33, emphasis added

The reason the translators chose “reverence” as the English word for phobos, instead of “fear,” is because “reverence” is greater than simple “respect,” but it keeps the “fear” of a wife for her husband out of the area which is supposed to be reserved for God only. Husbands need love from their wives, but they need reverence more than love because reverence makes it possible to lead in love. Remember, husbands are commanded to love as Christ loved. Without willing reverence from the wife, the husband would be commanded to be so loving that he would never command. Christ didn’t love the Church even though He had to give it commands; He loved us so much that He had to give us commands.

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

Ephesians 5:21-22

Notice that there is no general command for women to submit to men. Wives have a special duty of submission to their own husbands. Headship and submission are real, and they are not negated by Ephesians 5:21’s general command to be submissive toward others in our general attitude. In fact, you may be in a marriage where you have been extremely submissive, and it has, in large part, contributed to your husband being an overbearing jerk. Despite this, your continued submission and humility will often go a long way toward sweetening the marriage relationship when things begin to turn around.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Matthew 5:38-45

In a worst case scenario, your husband may be: (a) cold and indifferent like a stranger to you – in which case you are commanded to love your neighbor, which includes strangers; or (b) hateful and spiteful to you like your worst enemy – in which case you are commanded to love your enemy. God is in charge of justice. We leave the justice up to Him, and we are to show grace and mercy. Marriage may be the only place that some of us can truly learn the difficult virtue of Christ-honoring humility.


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