Q. I want to deal with the subject of a how a husband should submit to his wife or wives. I have read that both a husband and a wife should submit to one another. In the bible it says in Ephesians 5:21-22: "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as if to the Lord." Now, I'm not stating that the meaning of verse 21 just means for a wife and a husband to submit to one another. For I know that it has a much broader meaning. Paul is telling Christians that they should submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. But in marriage, as marriage relates to a husband and a wife or a husband and wives; how should a husband submit to his wife or wives? I'll ask another question, how do you submit to your wife or wives?
When husbands subject themselves to their wives it is not as husbands in the husband rôle to wives in the wife rôle but as fellow believers in the common salvation of Christ. Husbands are not only their wives' heads but also sacrificial lovers in the same way that Christ is a sacrificial lover of the Church or Messianic Community. Husbands are nowhere told to submit to wives as wives but as believers to one another. If, therefore, my wife presents a biblical truth that I have not been aware of, I will submit to that truth and (indirectly) to her as the messenger of that truth.
The submission spoken of here is connected with the filling of the Holy Spirit, harking back to v.18 where the believers are commanded to be "filled with the Spirit", which is in turn followed by a series of responses, viz. "speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to Yahweh, always giving thanks to Elohim (God) the Father for everything in the Name of our Lord/Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)" (vv.18-20). Thus we see the nature of the mutual submission, which is in connection with the fruits/actions of the Spirit.
This category of submission is distinguished and separated from vv.22-33 which moves from the general to domestic and ecclesiastical headship, qualifying the nature of the rulership in terms of Yah'shua's (Jesus') service to the saints. Though an 'arch-deacon' or servant (shammash) He is nevertheless Lord or Master.
Similarly, a husband is lord/master over his wife/wives but the nature of his spiritual communion with them will be according to the gifting of the Spirit. As always, and clearly expounded by Paul, the parallel of Husband->Wife and Christ->Church (Messianic Community) is underlined. So the question - in terms of marriage and of husbandly submission to his wife/wives - must be: How does Christ submit to the Church (Messianic Community)? And the answer is in terms of the conciliatory attitude He has towards us when when we sin in order to maintain an intimate relationship with us. Or in other words, the husband submits to his wives by forgiving them when they are out of order and repent and gently leads them to a proper position of submission under him (on the one hand) and in being guided as an echad unit in their mutual obedience to the commandments.
Our mutual submission is always within a messianic context: "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ" (NIV Gk. MSS) or as it is more accurately conveyed in the Hebrew/Aramaic original: "in the love of the Messiah" (HRV). We mutually submit in His love. And how do we do that? By mutually being obedient to His commandments and therefore Torah as He Himself insisted.
The mutual submission of husband and wives is therefore within the context of mutually submitting, in love and as a response to salvation by faith in Christ, and to Torah.
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