A few weeks ago, we began a section that is all about a concept that is not that popular today, that is the word submission. Submission is similar in meaning to the word humility. Where submission literally means “to place under,” to “subject oneself” or “rank oneself under,” humility speaks of an “inner lowliness that describes the person who depends on the Lord rather than on self.” We discussed submission to political authorities, submission to our employers, and submission within the family. Today we conclude this theme of submission as we look at submission in all relationships.
Submission in Relationships
[Read 1 Peter 3:8–12]
Finally… Peter sounds like a typical preacher, saying “finally” or “in conclusion” but going on for another few chapters. Actually, the Greek literally reads “now the end,” which can also mean: to sum up, or to bring this discussion to its conclusion. Fruchtenbaum in his commentary points out that Peter summarizes with five (5) characteristics of the believer: in the ESV it reads: “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” (1 Peter 3:8, ESV)
- Likeminded (unity of mind) emphasizes harmony and unity of disposition, not a unity of opinion. We may have different opinions, but we should be able to love each other in the midst of differences. We also need to learn to major on the majors and minor on the minor. There are some things that simply are not that important. We need to “be on guard against divisions that would hinder [Congregational] unity”
- Compassionate means sympathetic, or suffering together, or sharing in the feelings of others. Paul says to the congregation in Rome, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.” (Rom. 12:15) We also see that Yeshua demonstrates compassion toward us, as the author of Hebrews says, “We do not have a kohen gadol who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all the same ways—yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15)
- Brotherly love, or Philadelphia, is the choice to love others within the community as brothers and sisters in the Lord.
- Tenderhearted means to be sensitive, to have a warm and tender attitude. An excellent example of this is the Good Samaritan in Lk 10:30-37. Here the Samaritan responded and acted in love towards the man who had been robbed. Our love must move us to act.
- Humbleminded refers to the inner attitude of those who are to be in subjection to authority. It is the opposite of being haughty and high-minded..Humility was not considered a virtue by the Greeks, and even to this day we see that ambition and promotion are valued far higher. But God does not see or judge as man sees. And the half-brother of Yeshua, Jacob, reminds us that, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (Jas. 4:6) Also Sha’ul says to the congregation in Rome, “I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think—but to use sound judgment, as God has assigned to each person a measure of faith.” (Rom. 12:3)
Just imagine if these qualities were seen in all believing marriages and in all relationships within the congregation, what a witness this would be to the world!
True Test of our Faith
Furthermore, Kefa describes the heart attitude that flows from having a relationship with God and from following the example of our Messiah.
He tells us that we are “not repaying evil with evil or insult with insult, but, on the contrary, with blessing. For it is to this that you have been called, so that you may receive a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9, CJB)
Remember that many of the recipients of this letter where currently experiencing persecution. But he reminds them not to repay evil for evil or insult with insult but to bless those who persecute you. In this way, you will receive a blessing in return from God.
Here, Peter is simply paraphrasing what Yeshua said in the Sermon on the Mount, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[m] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:43-45, TLV)
This is still a lesson that I am learning, but “the true test of character – and Christian faith – is how [we] respond when treated with contempt, since out of instinct humans tend to retaliate (Matt. 5:39-42).”
It is also not enough to simply restrain ourselves from retaliating. Instead we are to bless others when they insult us. How do we do this?
- Well, this is exactly what we are asking God to do for us. We are asking Him to bless us, even though we have insulted Him so many times. So, one thing we can do is remember that we are called to act like Him.
- Another thing that we can remember is that we desire to inherit a blessing. Yeshua said, that when we love and forgive those who love us, it is not that much of a blessing (Matt. 5:46). Rather we are supposed to love and bless those who hate and insult us. In this way we will reap a much greater reward from God. And in this way, we are truly made “perfect, just as [our] Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48)
Follow Yeshua’s Example
Then Peter quotes Psalm 34:12-16, a wonderful Psalm of David which starts off “I will bless Adonai at all times; his praise will always be in my mouth.” (Psalm 34:2, CJB)
1 Peter 3:10–12 (CJB) For “Whoever wants to love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit, turn from evil and do good, seek peace and chase after it. For Adonai keeps his eyes on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers; but the face of Adonai is against those who do evil things.”
Living in submission to God to others produces the good fruit of the Ruach in our lives. We are called to seek peace and pursue it. Through following this direction we are made holy, and the Lord promises to “keeps His eyes on the righteous and His ears … open to [our] prayers.” Yeshua lived this way as a pattern of perfect submission to God for us to follow.
Hebrews 5:7–10 (NRSV) “In the days of his flesh, Yeshua offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.”
We have a great example in Yeshua, and we are called to follow Him in the areas of submission and humility!
We have seen that we are called to submit to governmental authorities, and to authorities within the workplace. We have seen how submission is supposed to be a part of marriages. Let us close by praying that the Ruach HaKodesh will increase in our lives these relational character traits of: unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, tender heartedness, and a humble mind.
 Fruchtenbaum, A. G. (2005). The Messianic Jewish Epistles: Hebrews, James, First Peter, Second Peter, Jude (1st ed., p. 356). Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries.
 Charles, J.Daryl (2006). The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Vol 13 (Rev. ed., p. 330). Grand Rapids, MI, Zondervan.
 Fruchtenbaum, A. G. (2005). The Messianic Jewish Epistles: Hebrews, James, First Peter, Second Peter, Jude (1st ed., pp. 356–
357). Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries.
 Charles, J.Daryl (2006). The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Vol 13 (Rev. ed., p. 332). Grand Rapids, MI, Zondervan.