The greater claim - Hope 103.2

The greater claim

By David ReayWednesday 19 Feb 2014LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Ephesians 5:21-22

21 And further,submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 For wives,this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. (NLT)

A text like this arouses strong passions. Some take it to teach that submission is something wives do to husbands. Others (yours truly included) see such submission as mutual,husbands submit to wives as well as the other way around.

Godly scholars and countless Christians continue to differ and debate this. But some things are fairly clear. One is that submission is not obedience. It may involve obedience but it actually means that we acknowledge someone has a greater claim on our lives than we do on our own lives. When I submit,it is not as a craven slave to a dominant master. It is simply recognising that I don’t live for myself. I am not the king of the castle.

So a husband and wife who do take the view that submission is more ‘one-way’ dare not fall into a master/servant relationship. The wife merely recognises the husband’s interests matter. And the husband,as we go on to read,has to love his wife as Jesus loves the church: hardly a matter of being an insensitive boss.

And those who feel the submission is more ‘two-way’ dare not see this as an opportunity to assert one’s rights over the other person. None of this “You can’t order me around,you must submit to me!”. Gender politics can be a menace in marriage.

It may be true to say that if a man and woman truly do love each other in the power of Jesus,then all such textual debates are secondary. And if we love in the power of Jesus then,whatever we think this text means,he will be honoured in our relationship.

David Reay

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