Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Colossians 3:18
Paul now goes from general precepts which affect the whole civil life of men, to precepts which are more specific and which pertain to a man’s family. He begins by addressing wives, writing a very basic thought which contains the same sentiment found throughout all of Scripture, but which is unfortunately mocked and ridiculed, even in the church itself, in today’s world. His words are fitting, proper, and what God expects. He says, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands.” The word “submit” is in the present tense. This is your duty now and as long as you are wife to your husband. You are to submit to him.
God has ordained a hierarchy within the family unit, and this structure is expected to be adhered to. Disobedience to it is no different than any other type of disobedience. But modern sensibilities shun any such authoritative structure, and they place societal values above those of biblical values. Because of this, the family unit readily breaks down, and in turn so do the marriages. But God’s word stands, and for the woman of God who is obedient to His word, she will submit to her husband as He has directed. Paul says that such “is fitting in the Lord.”
The verb now switches to the imperfect tense, signifying from the moment when she became a believer, or from the moment that she marries as a believer. His words here seem to imply that such was not the case with some women at Colossae, and he is specifically addressing the issue to correct that deficiency. But the spirit of non-submission found in Colossae is held in high esteem among the modern feminist movement. If marriage takes place at all, it is with the attitude that says, “Submit schmubmit. I can handle taking charge.” This approach has spread to believers, and it causes real problems within the church and within the families of the church.
Paul will give exhortations next to husbands, fathers, and bondservants. Each has his place and his responsibility within the home environment, and each should be willing to follow though with adhering to the words we have been given. Paul speaks of this matter elsewhere, such as in Ephesians 5 and Titus 2. Peter also speaks of this matter in 1 Peter 3.
Life application: The word is written. We will either adhere to it and be considered obedient, or we will shun it and be considered disobedient. No other option exists for the believer in Christ. Human pride is a sad infection in our lives which must be quashed lest we stand before our Lord and suffer loss because of it. Wives, submit yourselves to you husbands, as if fitting in the Lord. In turn, you will bring honor to Him and stability to your home.
Lord God, it is You who have determined the family structure. Help us to be obedient to Your desire for each of us as we live in relation to that structure. In doing so, the family will be strong, the authority will be set, the members will be happy, and You will be well-pleased. May we adhere to Your word in this, putting away pride and not letting cultural norms take precedence over what You have ordained. Amen.