Monday, December 26, 2011

Living the Christian Life: Lordship and Submission

Lordship and Submission

The attitude of gratitude in a person's life will overflow into obedience. Such obedience is expressed in a submission to God and an acknowledgment that He is the lord of one's life.

What do we mean by "submission" and "lordship"? By "submission," we refer to the attitude that one brings oneself under the authority, correction and lordship of another. By "lordship," it means that the lord has the right to command certain things which are to be obeyed.

In the ancient context, this relationship is expressed very clearly in the relationship between a master and the slave. The slave has to submit to the master whether willingly or unwillingly. Whatever the master says is Law and has to be obeyed. It is this part of the relationship that is picked up by the New Testament writers in the use of the Greek word doulos (δουλος), often translated "bondservant" or simply "servant" (see for example Rom. 1:1).

The Bible is not telling us that we are slaves just like the slaves of old times and thus must be mistreated as well. We should not stretch the metaphor that far. Rather, the analogy is this: Just as a slave obeys the master in everything, so also Christians obey the Lord in everything. Just as the slave has no natural rights to claim, so also Christians have no rights to claim before God.

We are purchased by Jesus' death and the pouring of His blood on the Cross, and we are not our own (1 Peter 1:18-19). The Scriptures use the imagery of slavery to illustrate our former condition as being slaves of sin (Rom. 6:17a). The imagery that it calls forth is that of God coming to the slave-market and buying us from the slave owner who is called "Sin." The purchase having been made, we are now owned by Jesus Christ, a kind master however whose burden is light (Mt. 11: 28-30).

Christians are saved and therefore are now bondservants/slaves of God. Therefore, submission is the primary attitude of the obedience that comes with being grateful of our salvation, a submission in everything to the lordship of Christ.

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[to be continued]

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