Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This Little Verse Bugs Me

"But as the church is subject to Christ..." Ephesians 5:24 Ok, what does that mean? This verse bugs me because it is hard to get my head around it. In this section of Ephesians, Paul is instructing wives and husbands regarding how they are to relate. This is the section where Paul says that "Wives are to be subject to your own husbands as to the Lord." (Eph. 5:22). The whole of verse 24 reads, "But as the church is subject to Christ also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything." So wives are to be subject to their husbands in the same way that the church should be subject to Christ. But how is or should the church be subject to Christ, that is what is bugging me. In another post I shared that church is a 'who' not a 'what'. As a who, church is understood to be the people not a building or a service lead by a clergy person. So the church, being made up of individual Christ followers, is suppose to be subject to Christ but how can this happen in unison? Maybe the answer is in the word, 'subject'. The word for subject is hupotasso and is a voluntary attitude of giving into, cooperating with, and yielding to the admonition or advice of another. That is helpful for understanding the concept and it certainly helps when I think about wives being subject to their husbands (don't miss Eph. 5:21 either). However, understanding the word does not help me to know how this is lived out. How can individual believers corporatetely volunteer to cooperate and yield to Jesus' advice when He is not physically here to converse with? How does corporate subjection to Christ work out practically? How does a house church work it out? How does a group of house churches work it out? How do we subject ourselves to Christ regarding what happens when we gather together or deciding what we will do together missionally or what a focus for a specific time might be? Can you help me figure this out?

1 comment:

  1. If we looked at the full context of the passage, we'd do well to note that the discussion of husbands and wives (and the church thereafter) hinges upon our filling with the Holy Spirit. Don't be drunk, be filled, Paul says (5:18), which shows itself in the way we sing TO ONE ANOTHER, give thanks IN EVERYTHING, and submit TO ONE ANOTHER. Holy Spirit dependence creates song, creates unity, creates thanks, creates submission. Perhaps it all begins with a question, "Holy Spirit, what do you have for us (not just me!) this evening?"