No matter the topic, this letter has addressed the issue of selfishness more than anything. To follow the selfless Lord Jesus is to imitate our Lord’s selflessness. Chapter 11 begins with a command to imitate Paul as he imitates Christ! Be sure, to live a self-centered life is NOT Christlike in any respect. To love God and others requires that we not be ME-centered.
We could discuss some of the difficulties surrounding our understanding of head coverings but it boils down to the fact that we Christians are not our own. We were bought with a price. We are under the authority of another, namely, Christ Jesus who is the Head of the church.
God the Father is head over Christ, Christ is head over the church, husbands are head over their wives. We are to submit to the righteous rule and reign of Jesus over us. To do otherwise is to miss a primary part of the gospel to follow our Lord in every way. The One who bought us with his blood owns us and calls the shots! I’m so thankful he does. For he will ALWAYS lead us in righteousness.
The husband is to lead his wife the same way. We can trust that Jesus will never fail to lead us in righteousness but husbands are very much fallible. The wife is NEVER to follow the husband if he is leading her into sin. However, she is to have a disposition towards her husband longing that he would lead according to God’s word. So, when he does the wife should gladly submit because he is leading her in righteousness.
Selfish leadership or selfishly not submitting to rightful authority is unrighteous and ungodly. This is God’s creation order. It has NOTHING to do with equality. If submission to authority equals the lesser submitting to the greater then the Son of God is less than the Father in his nature and attributes. But that is not so. The Father and the Son are equal but the Son submits to the Father. That is his role not his nature.
The same is true in the church. A man is of the same nature as a woman. They are equal. They are both human beings created in the image of God. But just as we would expect our children to obey BOTH parents even though they are equal image-bearers too, so also the wife submits to the authority of her husband. Though not here, the church is called to submit to the righteous leadership of the pastor(s).
No matter the symbol of authority a group of people use, we know a wife could wear a head covering and still not be submissive. It is a heart disposition. Whether it is a ring on our finger or something else, it should be easily discernible that we are not our own. We gladly live under the righteous reign of Christ Jesus! To disobey God’s word is to tell the world that we know better than God and that He is not worthy of our glad obedience.
Also, the whole issue Paul has with their practice of the Lord’s Supper is selfishness. They were despising those who had nothing among them. Dear brothers and sisters, let us be selfless in our day. Look for those in need. Listen for opportunities to display the love of Christ. And what dark days we live in to shine the light of Jesus by thinking of others more than ourselves.
The words of Jesus sum it all up! “This is *my body, which is broken for *you!” Let us be spent for the sake of the gospel!