1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.” (Titus 3:1–3, NKJV)
Reminders. We all need them. They reinforce what we already know, encouraging us to persevere, to be on guard, and to grow spiritually. Paul had just exhorted Titus to “speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). Now he teaches him to remind Christians of sound attitudes and actions of faith. 1) We must remember to be submissive (v. 1-2). Obeying civil authority reflects the submissive lifestyle of the saint, equipping us for good works that cannot be successfully condemned (cf. Titus 2:8; 1 Pet. 2:11-12). Being submissive requires “showing humility to all men.” It takes moral strength to be humble, to be peaceable and gentle instead of speaking evil of others. 2) We must remember we once lived in sin (v. 3). Our salvation in Christ is not a license to be dismissive or condescending toward those who are still captives of sin. Recalling our previous sins (and forgiveness in Christ) is an incentive to remain vigilant in faith and responsive to help others escape evil. Do not be drawn back into foolish disobedience and selfish desires. The love of God in Christ compels us to be kind and careful to maintain good works that honor God and serve others (Titus 3:4, 8).
To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16, NKJV)
With these words He spoke to Eve, God not only increased her pain and sorrow in conception and childbirth, He also permanently confirmed the relation of the wife to her husband as one of desire, dependence, and deferential submissiveness. The word “desire” means “to run, to have a vehement longing for a thing” (Pulpit Commentary). Thus, God gave distinct, definable roles to women and men. The husband has the role of leader, and the wife has the role of willing follower (Ephesians 5:22-25; 1 Peter 3:1-6). The reversal of these roles led to sin: “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’…” (Genesis 3:17). The wife’s submissiveness to her husband’s leadership brings definable stability to the family, and to society. The husband is to lead his wife with love, and the wife is to defer to his leadership with devotion. Husbands must honor their wives, not oppress them (1 Peter 3:7). And, wives are to be submissive to their own husbands (1 Peter 3:1). God challenges wives to be sure your desire is for your husband, and not for another man, or for the man’s role in your marriage.
Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:17, NKJV)
All of us live under multiple authority structures. In the home, at school, and as citizens of communities, state and the nation, there are layers of authority under which we live. We either respect the authority under which we live unto our benefit, or we defy the authority to our shame harm. The local church also has an authority structure which Christians are taught to respect. Since Christ is the head of the church, His authority (revealed in His word) rules. He has set bishops or overseers (also called elders and pastors or shepherds in the Scriptures) in each local church to rule or lead them. Each member of that church is to “be submissive” as we obey them. With willing hands and hearts, let us humble ourselves to the rule of our elders and be a source of their joy instead of grief as they “watch out for our souls.”
5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:5–7, NKJV)
Humility shows itself through submission. It is the proud of heart who always knows better, does better and is better than everyone else (or at least, in his or her own eyes). We will not show proper humility toward others until we are first humble toward God. We must submit ourselves to His power, to His time and trust His constant care for us. It takes humble faith to trust the Lord’s way instead of our own. Submit your will to the Almighty and clothe yourself with humility. God will exalt the humble one, whose submissive life readily serves God and others.