In intelligent submission is not required, I explored the concept of submission and it’s interaction with faith. Let me step back for a second and explore Hebrews 11 more in depth.
Also, props to Robyn for being one of the few married women to understand one of the main points of the previous post, which led into this one.
Hebrews 11 starts off with Paul defining the nature of faith:
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the [a]assurance (hupostasis) of things [b]hoped for (elpizo), the [c]conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old [d]gained approval.
G5287 — ὑπόστασις — hupostasis — hoop-os’-tas-is
From a compound of G5259 and G2476; a setting under (support), that is, (figuratively) concretely essence, or abstractly assurance (objectively or subjectively): – confidence, confident, person, substance. Total KJV occurrences: 5
G1679 — ἐλπίζω — elpizō — el-pid’-zo
From G1680; to expect or confide: – (have, thing) hope (-d) (for), trust. Total KJV occurrences: 31
In other words, faith is a trust in substance or essence. What is this substance or essence? Wintery Knight has a great post describing what the essence of faith in 3 parts.
notitia – This is the basic informational foundation of our faith. It is best expressed by the word content. Faith, according to the Reformers must have content. You cannot have faith in nothing. There must be some referential propositional truth to which the faith points. The proposition “Christ rose from the grave,” for example, is a necessary information base that Christians must have.
assensus – This is the assent or confidence that we have that thenotitia is correct… This involves evidence which leads to the conviction of the truthfulness of the proposition… This involves intellectual assent and persuasion based upon critical thought…assensus… says, “I am persuaded to believe that Christ rose from the grave.”
fiducia – This is the “resting” in the information based upon a conviction of its truthfulness. Fiducia is best expressed by the English word “trust.”… Fiducia is the personal subjective act of the will to take the final step. It is important to note that while fiducia goes beyond or transcends the intellect, it is built upon its foundation.
Our faith is built on the knowledge of who God is, confidence that we know our knowledge is correct, and trust in this knowledge that we live it out. We glean this knowledge of the Truth of God from the Scriptures, how He has worked and changed our hearts, and from growing in our relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
This is the essence of our faith, which is the foundation of Christianity.
Example of Abraham
The examples I gave in the previous post was Abraham, so let’s look at them:
Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed [i]by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
If you read back to Genesis 11 and 12, God essentially calls Abraham out of the land of Ur of the Chaldeans as a test of his faith. Abraham — previously Abram as this time — responds to this call by obeying what God told him. Abraham knew the destination and he knew the promise, but he didn’t know any of the specifics. He didn’t know how or when he would get there.
In other words, Abraham submitted to God because he trusted that God had good intentions for his life.
Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18 it was he to whom it was said, “In Isaac your [n]descendants shall be called.” 19 [o]He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back [p]as a type.
Likewise, Abraham in Genesis 22 offers up Issac as a sacrifice. The writer of Hebrews supposes that Abraham trusts in God enough that he believes that God can raise the dead. Hence, Abraham acts in faith and submits to God’s command. I have no clue how the writer of Hebrews knew what Abraham was thinking. Even today after we know that the power of God raised Jesus from the dead, many Christians still doubt such miracles can happen today.
However, the immense faith Abraham showed by obeying what God said even sacrificing his only son is amazing.
Ultimately, submission is a test of faith.
Do you believe what God has commanded you to do is good for you? Do you believe that the road you are walking is righteous? Will you give into fear or obey God?
- When you pass the test of faith, you submit and gain a greater trust.
- When you fail the test of faith, you are saying by your actions that you don’t trust God. You trust yourself or others over Him. This is called rebellion.
This likewise applies to the marriage relationship as well. A wife’s submission to her husband’s authority is a test of faith.
This leads me to the conclusion that many Christian wives have very little to zero faith in their husbands. Otherwise, they would trust them and obey them.
This is not really any surprise since husbands and fathers are denigrated and disrespected in our culture. Authority is not respected either. This bleeds over into marriages and families. This is the sad state of the Christian Church.
If you want to understand why husbands don’t trust wives look no further than the parable of the talents.
Matthew 25:14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five [a]talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16 Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17 In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18 But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his [b]master’s money.
19 “Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your [c]master.’ […]
24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ 26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27 Then you ought to have put my money [d]in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’
29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30 Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
God doesn’t trust servants who aren’t responsible with the talents that He has given them.
In the same way, a wife that does not choose to submit to or trust her husband at all is like the wicked and lazy slave. Her husband cannot trust in her because she rebels against the decisions he makes. Since the husband cannot trust her, it’s likely that whatever he does trust her with he has to keep a close eye on.
If we prove ourselves trustworthy with little, we can be given more. If we prove ourselves untrustworthy with little, what we have will be taken.
Luke 16:10 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous [i]wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? 12 And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No [j]servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and [k]wealth.”
Although the parable of the unrighteous steward is aimed at the kingdom and riches, similar principles can also be applied to the marriage relationship. A wife that proves herself unreliable, rebellious, and untrustworthy will be unlikely to be trusted with much, if at all.
As I stated in intelligent submission is not required, the “ideal” is that if those under authority know the character of the one in authority and know they are acting for their good then such a trust will play dividends when they are able to obey immediately without question. This builds and leads to oneness. There is a mutual trust that has been fostered between the two parties to where they are of one mind and act as one.
I would assert that this so-called ‘ideal’ relationship is the one where a husband or wife can anticipate the need before it is asked. Asking is merely a formality as the husband and wife *know* each other.
Matthew 6:7 And when you pray, do not babble on like pagans, for they think that by their many words they will be heard. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
God knows what we need. We are to become like God. Matthew 5:28 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
A wife that can anticipate what a husband is going to ask before he even asks for it is amazing. Is that even submission or obedience if she knows and does it without him asking? I would call that oneness.
A good example
The centurion presents us with a good example.
Matthew 8:5 And when [a]Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, 6 and saying, “[b]Lord, my [c]servant is [d]lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” 7 Jesus *said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion said, “[e]Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just [f]say the word, and my [g]servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith [h]with anyone in Israel. 11 I say to you that many will come from east and west, and [i]recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12 but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; [j]it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the [k]servant was healed that very [l]moment.
In the Scripture, Jesus only marvels twice. Once he marvels at the people’s unbelief in and near his hometown which does not allow Him to do any miracles there. The second is the faith of the centurion. The centurion trusts Jesus because he understands the nature of authority. The centurion passed the test of faith with flying colors.
A bad example
Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush is a perfect example of a lack of faith and trust.
Exodus 3:10 Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.”11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 And He said, “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall [f]worship God at this mountain.”
13 Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “[g]I AM WHO [h]I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘[i]I AM has sent me to you.’”
Exodus 4:1 Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen [a]to what I say? For they may say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’” 2 The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.” 3 Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4 But the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail”—so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his [b]hand— 5 “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”
6 The Lord furthermore said to him, “Now put your hand into your bosom.” So he put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. 7 Then He said, “Put your hand into your bosom again.” So he put his hand into his bosom again, and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. 8 “If they will not believe you or [c]heed the [d]witness of the first sign, they may believe the [e]witness of the last sign. 9 But if they will not believe even these two signs or heed what you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water which you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”
10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been [f]eloquent, neither [g]recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am [h]slow of speech and [i]slow of tongue.” 11 The Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.” 13 But he said, “Please, Lord, now [j]send the message by whomever You will.”
14 Then the anger of the Lord burned against Moses, and He said, “Is there not your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that [k]he speaks fluently. And moreover, behold, he is coming out to meet you; when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do. 16 Moreover, he shall speak for you to the people; and he will be as a mouth for you and you will be as God to him. 17 You shall take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs.”
Moses continually questions God after He had spoken on what He wanted Moses to do and eventually provokes God to anger. The same parallel can be made with husbands and wives.
This clarifies the wisdom of 1 Peter 3.
1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and [a]respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right [b]without being frightened by any fear.
When wives submit to unbelieving husbands and cultivate godliness, it’s basically a demonstration of their faith not only in their husbands but also in God. That’s how they win their husbands for God. Her faith is what God uses to multiply it to their marriage.
- Submission is a test of faith.
- For wives, submission evaluates the trust and faith that they have in their husbands.
- Given what we see in the Church, many wives have zero to little faith and trust in their husbands.
- The ideal relationship that we are to strive for as Christians is oneness.
- Oneness in a relationship is where the faith and trust are so high that there can be obedience without question because you *know* the character and intentions of the one asking.
- Indeed, one could say once you *know* someone extremely well that you can anticipate their needs before they can even ask. There is beauty in a relationship that displays this.