Submit. We bristle at just the mention of the word. Submit to the Lord. Submit to one another. Wives submit to your husbands, etc. In our fiercely independent culture of personal rights, we’ve learned to question and reject authority instead of submitting to it. I guess perhaps it sounds too much like defeat?
Submission does require us to accept that we are under another’s authority. In fact the word “submit” is a military term that means to voluntarily arrange oneself under someone of higher rank. We’re to know where we fall in line so to speak. It’s never a matter of personal worth, but one of maintaining order.
Writing to the church, Peter gave these instructions, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” (1 Peter 2:13-15)
In this instance, we’re told to arrange ourselves under the authority of human government. As Christians, we can do so because we know that God, Himself, raises up kings and takes them down in His sovereignty (Daniel 2:20-21). Nobody rises to power without God’s knowledge and consent. But, there’s another reason Peter gives us for our submission to authority – it is for His sake that we do so. In fact, it is His will that we do so. Why? – so that those who don’t acknowledge God may be silenced by our excellent conduct.
May we always remember that the goal isn’t the advancement of our own rights, but the advancement of God’s name. –Dave
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