Paul has just described in the previous verses the walk of the Children of Light. He ends this description with the final principle stated in verse 21. This principle should govern how we relate to one another. Paul tells us all to submit to one another, and to do so as an act of worship, out of reverence for our Lord Jesus Christ. Given that he is our King, and we his subjects, we live our lives in mutual submission as our way of recognizing his Lordship, as our way of honoring him.
This is not for a few, not for one alone. God is not calling some to submit and others to rule. We all submit to one another in Christ. We accept that we owe ourselves to one another, and we voluntarily bind ourselves to others in reverence of Christ. This is not something that our fellow believers earn from us, not something they must demand of us. It is a gift we give out of grace, as we have received from Christ out of grace.
This is the surrender that leads to spiritual depth in the Christian walk. As long as we try to retain a detached independence, we will never discover the meaning of our lives, because God created us to function within a broader body, a larger organism made up of human beings who have committed their lives to one another, submitted their individual claims to a larger and greater whole. Christian maturity is a communal reality. Together we grow up into the fullness of Christ as the body of Christ, filled with His Spirit. This is the reason church hoppers never deepen in their walk with Christ. Superficial and self-serving connections to other people will never lead to the kind of growth God has for us.
This principle guides Paul’s next passage. Up until now, he has moved from speaking in broad terms of all humankind to the narrower realities of the congregation. Now he will narrow his focus even further to look at the household. Part by part, he will look at how this mutual submission works itself out in the household
We are beginning our look at the relationships within the household by considering how submitting to one another plays out in the lives of husbands and wives. I will be preaching from Ephesians 5:21-33 in our service this coming Sunday, January 15, 2012. Worship begins at 10:45 am. Come and join us, 3201 W 15th St. Plano, TX 75075. Video and audio of the sermon is posted during the week at our website: www.pcbcplano.org. To access the messages directly, click here.