Being in Submission

By Susie Frederick & Fleta Desselle

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Then He made everything living on the earth, including man. Even though God had said of each creation, “this is good” or “very good,” nothing He made was a suitable helper for man (Gen. 2:20). God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Gen. 2:18). He caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam. He took a rib from Adam’s side and made his crowning creation woman. When God gave this special creation to Adam, Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Gen. 2:23).

Someone has rightly stated that God took a bone, not from man’s head, that she might rule over him; not from his foot, that he could walk on woman; but a rib, from near his heart, that woman should walk by his side. A man should love his wife as his own body (Eph. 5:33).

God gave both man and woman freedom to make moral decisions. He gave us a choice to live in obedience to Him or to choose disobedience. He placed man and woman in the most beautiful of all places a garden designed by God Himself. Everything needed to live forever was there. In the midst of the garden He placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then God said, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17).

The woman, Eve, knew God had said this, but she just had to go look upon this very lovely tree, with its beautiful fruit. Satan was there, in the form of a snake, ready to trick the woman into disobeying God. He lied to her, telling her she would not die, as God had warned, and she believed the lie. Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, and then she led Adam into the same sin.

The man and woman were already dead to their innocence when God sought for them in the garden. God knew what they had done, but He asked, “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Adam tried to escape blame by saying, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” To the woman, God said, “What is this you have done?” Eve answered, “The serpent [snake] deceived me, and I ate.” God pronounced a curse upon the serpent and punishment on the woman and the man. God said to the woman, “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Gen. 3:9-19).

Now we see why woman is to have man as her head: God gave woman this subjection because of her sin. Women who have borne children believe Genesis 3:16 as to the pain of childbearing, but some choose to ignore the part of the same verse which states that the husband shall rule over the wife. Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:12-14, “And I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” These verses give us the two reasons why God has made man head over woman: (1) man was formed first, and (2) it was the woman who was deceived.

1 Corinthians 11:3 gives us the order of authority in the kingdom of God: God, Christ, man, woman. If we as women are not willing to accept man as our head, we are not willing to give God and Christ their rightful place either. If the kingdom of God is to run smoothly, we must be in subjection to the ones who have authority over us. We are told in Ephesians 5:22-24, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”

God puts much responsibility on the man. Husbands are told to love their wives in the same way that Christ loved the church, being willing to make the supreme sacrifice, just as Jesus was willing to die for his bride, the church (Eph. 5:25). He shed his blood that we might live. Love caused him to do this. Love for God and Christ will cause a man to be the kind of husband God intends him to be. Love causes a man to take spiritual leadership. A man who uses his authority as head of his wife, should use it for the best interest of his whole family. He will be a loving, gentle leader and guide for his wife and children. Husbands are told not to be bitter against their wives (Col. 3:19). They are also instructed to “dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7). Submitting to our husbands does not brand us as lower-class citizens of God's kingdom, for we are “heirs together,” with as much right as our husbands to inherit eternal reward.

God's laws are always given to help us have better lives. Submission and obedience can bring great reward. A woman who lives as the Lord wants her to live can even lead an unbelieving husband to the Lord by her chaste conduct (1 Peter 3:1-2). If we submit our lives to obey God and Christ, and let God’s word be our guide, submission to our husbands will follow naturally. We can be great in the kingdom by being servants. Jesus is equal to God, but he allowed himself to be in submission. Because of this, God exalted him (Phil.2:5-11). To our daughters, we mothers need to be examples of submission to our husbands. We need to train our sons to be obedient to God and Christ, and to be spiritually mature, so they will follow God and lead their families wisely.

Being the kind of wives and mothers we should be gives us rewards even in this life. Our home will be happier, with less strife, and we will earn a good reputation in the community. Proverbs 31:28-31 says of the virtuous wife, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.”