1Co 11:3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.
To say that chapter 11 of 1 Corinthians is interesting is to understate things for sure. Even though there is disagreement among Christians as to all its applications, it contains some very important principles that we need if we are to live godly in Christ Jesus in this present age and because many ignore such passages we sometimes find our churches suffering because of it. While I might blog on some other parts of it at another time, today I wanted to write something about vs. 3.
Of course here Paul is setting up what he is going to teach about male headship and female submission. And basically his point in vs. 3 is that we are all in submission to someone and so no one and especially women in the church and wives with their husbands should get upset about being in submission because we all, men and women, are in submission to someone. There is a created order to the universe and this is the reality in which we live and to rebel against it will not only dishonor God but also bring unneeded problems in our lives and relationships with others.
And so he first states the obvious that every man and for that fact woman is under the authority of Christ and just as much a reality every wife is under the authority of her husband but then he says something extremely profound that when grasped should knock any thoughts of rebellion right out of us.
He tells us that even among the Godhead there is order and headship and submission. Christ the Son, the second person of the Godhead submits himself to the direction of the Father. Now there is some debate among Christians as to whether the Son has always been in submission or primarily this happened when he became incarnate for the purposes of redemption. On the one hand it doesn’t change Paul’s point. But I have had to wrestle with this of late and while I think that perhaps both sides try to explain too precisely what is not revealed as clearly as we would like, yet I think a better case can be made that this headship and submission among the Godhead is eternal in nature.
One way to illustrate this is when it comes to who was going to come to earth to die for our sins. If we think of the Godhead as totally equal in authority with no Father, Son, Holy Spirit relationship then it would seem to me that they would have to cast lots or do “rock, paper, scissors” to decide who would take on what roles. But of course I think it more reasonable to assume that this relationship of all things preceding from the Father and the Son doing whatever pleases the Father including revealing him and glorifying him in all things was what has been going on for eternity. Now this gives me all kinds of questions but let’s face it, eternity future is going to be where such questions get answered.
Having said all that though, the profundity of the verse leaves us perfectly willing to assume our roles in husband and wife relations once we realize that we are actually living out the very nature of God himself. So for a woman to rebel or even be discontent in her role of a submissive wife is actually disparaging the very nature of God. In essence you are saying by wanting the role of your husband that Christ shouldn’t be who he is but should demand to be as much the head as the Father; or that somehow he is inferior to the Father which the Bible makes very clear is not the case. One huge problem with this is that this is exactly the thought pattern of Satan when he was unwilling to assume the position that God gave him but wanted instead to sit in the highest throne. It was not given to him and no creature deserves it. Our contentment and fulfillment lies in accepting that place God has put us and being faithful to honor him in all things; not to think we deserve something more. In this we actually are demonstrating the very nature of God.
Once we come to grips with vs. 3 the rest of this should become a matter of what can I do to fulfill my role as man or woman with no thoughts of assuming the role or the appearance of the opposite sex.