“…Submitting to one another in the fear of God” Ephesians 5:21
Most of you have probably heard the stunning statistic that 50% of all marriages in America end in divorce. When we look at different statistical websites, the breakdown is even more alarming: 40% to 50% of all first marriages end in divorce, around 65% of all second marriages end in divorce, and about 75% of all third marriages end in divorce. (www.divorcerate.org)
So the odds are stronger than 50/50 that you or someone in your family has gone through a divorce.
But of the estimated one million divorces that took place in 2008, how many of those do you suppose ended because the spouses “submitted to one another in the fear of God”? (See Ephesians 5:21)
While no statistical information on this question can be found on the worldwide web, I think we all would agree that few, if any, divorces would fit into this category. Rather, most marriages that end in divorce do so because of the sinful selfishness of one or both of the spouses.
To “submit to one another” means to rank oneself and one’s own needs below the other person’s.
When we think of the word “submit” in connection with marriage, we typically think of what Paul writes to wives in the next verses of Ephesians 5: “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.”
The apostle speaks of how the Christian wife willingly submits to her husband out of love for him and for
But in our theme verse Paul is writing of the willing, mutual submission which takes place between Christians in general. The Christian is emulating what his Savior did for him.
…As Jesus Humbled Himself!
The great, eternal, almighty Son of God made Himself least of all by taking on the form of a servant to be our brother and Redeemer.
• He who had the wealth of heaven and earth was born in poverty.
• He who was the Giver of the Law was born under the Law.
• He who had the highest status of being God made Himself of no reputation.
• Then the One in whom is life died the innocent death of the cross for us.
This is how the great Son of God was willing to humble Himself in order to save us from our sins.
Writing to the Philippians on the humility of Christ, the Apostle Paul then declares, “in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:3b-5).
Rather than being worldly minded, putting our needs above the needs of others, according to our position “in Christ” and by faith in Him we seek to think of others better than ourselves and thus look out for the interests of others.
Now, with all this in mind let us return to the marriage section of Ephesians 5. Before addressing wives and husbands individually, the apostle speaks of the Christians “submitting to one another in the fear of God.” Out of holy fear and love for God who has saved us, we willingly submit ourselves to our fellow believers.
And should this not be especially true between Christian husbands and wives?!
Think of the Christian husband who is not primarily concerned about his own needs, his own wants, and his own interests, but in the fear of God places the needs of his wife, the wants of his wife, and the interests of his wife ahead of his own.
Similarly, think of the Christian wife whose priority is not her own agenda, but the agenda of her husband.
What a blessed home this would be, where in the fear of God the primary concern of each Christian spouse is the needs of his or her spouse!