Colossians 3:18 / Submission in the Home

Posted on September 13, 2015


This is the eighteenth in a verse by verse exposition of the book of Colossians. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the evening of September 13, 2015. This message deals with the Godly submission of a wife. This post contains an audio recording of the sermon, as well as my sermon notes (sermon notes are not necessarily a complete transcript).

Col 3:18


  • Ephesians 5:22

The command for wives to submit is difficult for people to swallow. It is seen as demeaning and sexist. It is also VERY misunderstood. To put things in perspective:

  • 1 Corinthians 11:3

Its important to take notice that although Scripture places man as the head, there is no command for the man to take charge (although he should act like a leader, he is not to demand submission). The command lies with the woman to submit. This may not seem like much, but its huge. Why? Because it places the ball in the woman’s court. It makes it voluntary by the woman, instead of forced by the man. The submission is not the husband’s to command but for the wife to willingly and lovingly offer.

Submission does not mean inferiority. It means that she recognizes that her husband is the head of the home and responds to him accordingly without usurping his authority to herself. God established the principle of headship and submission for the purpose of order and complementation, not on the basis of any innate superiority of males. For example, an employee may be more intelligent and more skilled than his boss, but a company cannot be run without submission to proper authority, even if some in management are not as competent as they should be.

The phrase “to your own husband” limits that submission to the one man the God has united her with. The phrase “as to the Lord” means that that submission is to be voluntary, out of a loving desire. The Lord does not force us to submit to his will, we do it voluntarily. Everything we do for the Lord is to be done first of all for His glory and to please Him.

  • Colossians 3:17
  • Colossians 3:23

So when a wife submits to her husband, she does it because it is the Lord’s will and ultimately the submission is to Him. A wife who properly submits to her husband submits herself to the Lord. A wife who responds willingly and lovingly, honors God, her husband, her family, her church, and herself. Additionally, she becomes a beautiful testimony of the Lord before the watching world.

Keep in mind that the wife’s submission requires intelligent participation. Mere thoughtless subjection is not the desired response. The quick wit, the clear moral discernment, the fine instincts of a wife make her a counselor whose influence is invaluable. Of course, that is only appropriate of one who was created to be the ideal complement and helper to her mate, and not a competitor.

  • Genesis 2:18

God created men and women to be different, and these roles that He has defined reflect those differences, and utilizes them in the best way. Since men were designed to be the head, it only makes sense that he woman would be asked to submit to that leadership. We need to understand, though, just as with any Christian, the ultimate submission is to God. What does this mean to the husband / wife relationship? It means that there are limits to the extent that a woman is expected to submit.

  • Acts 5:29

The greatest commitment must always be to the Lord. No one, not even a submissive wife, and especially not a godly women should allow her loyalty to anyone to cause her to violate the Word of God.

One last thought on submission, because I know it can still be hard to swallow. The submissive element of the husband / wife relationship is seen modeled in the relationship between God the Father and Jesus Christ. Jesus is clearly God, and is therefore equal to God.

  • Philippians 2:5-8

Yet, Jesus was obedient to the will of the Father, He was submissive. So how did Jesus find Himself in a position of subordination to the Father when He was clearly His equal? By choice, He did it willfully, knowing that it was necessary to God’s plan. The model of Headship and submission is a system that God was willing to undertake for Himself.


Posted in: Family, Sermons