Submission to Authority Part 5: Social Matters
1 Corinthians 7:21-24 – Paul is not advocating slavery; he is saying that slavery is no barrier to being a Christian. Paul would like slaves to be free, but if they aren’t they can still serve God well. Physical freedom is an implication of the gospel. When Christianity is planted into the hearts of people, emancipation will eventually happen. Titus 2:9-11 – even slaves can wear the garments of grace, and be adorned by the beauty of the gospel. 1 Timothy 1:10 – this includes the kidnappers of free men, the stealers of the slaves of other men, and slave traders. The New Testament doesn’t seem to directly rail against the institution of slavery. It does speak against it, but it does not condone a societal revolution that would have turned to violence in the midst of the original spread of the gospel. Christianity does clearly teach principles that undermine it, and did end it, as is the case wherever Christianity is developed (cf. Matthew 7:12 / Philemon).
Philippians 2:5-13 – Think about Jesus and His relationship with the Father, and you will realize that the essence of spirituality is submission. Man’s nature is not submission but rebellion. Even in the Garden of Eden there really was only one thing to submit to and they wouldn’t do it. We have to learn to be submissive. Let us learn from Christ. Jesus was totally submitted to the Father (Luke 22:42 / John 5:19). His destiny included investment by submission; so does ours.
Jesus submitted (vs.5) – Matthew 23:12 / James 4:10.
• To God as a son (vs.6) – Jesus 1st act of redemption was submission; without it there is no salvation. The Gospel started by the submission of Christ, it comes to us when we submit to God. John 5:17-19, 14:10 – He was still God but He did the Father’s will. In the wilderness temptation (Matthew 4 / Luke 4), Satan presented “alternatives”, but Jesus stayed in submission.
• To men as a servant (vs.7) – He had to be born as a baby, cleaned and fed, with all the mundane aspects of being human. He grew in stature, but still had to endure the waiting period before His ministry. Hebrews 5:8 / Matthew 20:25-28 – He was a servant leader.
• To death as a sacrifice (vs.8) – Matthew 10:28, 26:39 / Hebrews 2:10-15. He would be resurrected (Acts 2:23-33) but He submitted to the wrath of God (Isaiah 53:6-12).
• The Father has exalted Him (vs.9) – He was already the creator and sustainer (John 1:3 / Colossians 1:15-18 / Hebrews 1:2-3), yet now His name is magnified.
• Everyone will submit to Him (vs.10) – Matthew 28:18 / Ephesians 1:21-23 / 1 Peter 3:22.
• The Father is glorified in Him (vs.11) – 1 Corinthians 15:24-28. Jesus sought God the Father’s glory just as the Holy Spirit seeks to glorify Christ (John 16:13-16).
Most people don’t want to do something “beneath their dignity”, but to submit to Deity is true dignity no matter what the world says. How miserable would Jesus have been if He had argued with the Father all the time instead of submitting to His will? The submission of Jesus wasn’t just talk; His submission took action. Therefore, because of Christ, as we learn submission we experience His power (vs.12-13).