Last week I addressed leadership from the view of the basic family elements of a husband and a wife. Even for the family, the masculine and feminine expressions of the likeness and the image of God are expressed through the two basic elements of a husband and a wife. A husband and a wife each present the attribute of being children of God, sons in the aspect of inheritance.
Galatians 3:26-29 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Sons of God are revealed through that which is both masculine and feminine. Just as all are sons, all are also members of the bride of Christ. These are the elements of family. Family is made of children, who become adults that embrace a relationship of family beyond their beginning to be fruitful, multiply, fill, subdue, and exercise dominion in the earth for the Father’s glory. A husband becomes a father and a wife becomes a mother to reveal the divine nature of God in all things. This is why the enemy attacks the family and seeks to twist it, distort it, pervert it, corrupt it, and destroy it. Family is God’s means of manifesting His true character of love in the earth. Leadership and membership in the church should be a testimony of the attributes God’s family that reveals a revelation of the love of God’s family in the earth.
Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
It is important to understand that the submission is of a wife to a husband, not women to men. In every case, a wife’s submission is to her own source of life. Her submission is to the one who loves and gives love to her. It is to the one who sanctifies her with washing through life-giving words. Her subjection is to the one who presents her alongside of him as a glorious church. God joins a man and a woman for a corporate purpose and destiny. Within the church there is both a masculine and a feminine dynamic of life. Leadership is a masculine expression of Christ’s rule and membership is a feminine expression of Christ’s rule. These are not bound to men and women, but are expressed in both men and women to reveal a mystery that is best depicted in the covenant of marriage of a man and a woman. Like the man and the woman in marriage, God makes them one flesh for His purposes. God also joins church members to church leaders. He does not join all leaders from everywhere to church members, nor does he join all members to all church leaders. God joins members to leaders and leaders to members so that His glorious church can be made manifest. So, what does New Covenant submission look like?
The members are to submit to their ‘own leaders’– ‘as to the Lord’. These are the leaders who love them and give their lives to them. This allows their submission to become an activation of faith. Church members love their leaders, because their leaders first love them.
The members are to submit to their own leaders as unto the Lord. Our submission to the Lord is a direct connection to God as our Father. He has even given us His Holy Spirit who causes our hearts to cry out ‘Abba, Father’. Church members are to submit to their own leaders by being activated to know God their Father as the source of their own identity.
The members are to be subject to their own leaders as those who cause them to come alongside them and serve with them in the corporate testimony of Christ and His glorious church. They are not controlled, but rather released to their full testimony of destiny in Christ.
The testimony of New Covenant will be for the leaders to have a threefold attitude toward every member joined to them. The leaders must confess from their hearts their desire to help others become who they are in Christ. They must live for them, and understand that the members of the body live for them as well. Leaders and church members must seek the communion of one another in Christ. Leaders must decide to bring church members alongside them to live with them for the future generations of the church. New Covenant church members must have an attitude that professes to their God-given leadership that they will live from their hearts for them. They see themselves as one body with them and trust the God and Father of them all. New Covenant church members understand that their purpose is divinely joined to the leadership that God has given to them in Christ.
In doing these things, the life-protecting and life-giving image and likeness of God will be revealed in the earth. This is the testimony of the blessed body of Christ and the true manifestation of the children of God. May we all grow in this grace and may the church become the glorious testimony of Christ!
Ephesians 5:30-33 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson