We were made in God’s image. That’s what is promised to us in Genesis. And yet, while we hold on to this, and we are encouraged by it, knowing that attributes like creativity and compassion are a part of that image, we look around at the depravity of the world and we wonder, is this a part of God’s image? What’s going on here?
In Isaiah (chapter 14), the Bible calls Satan the destroyer. The reason is that Satan has destroyed one aspect of the image of God that was initially in us that is no longer a part of our being. The result of this destruction is the reason for all of the hell we see in the world. What did Satan destroy? Submission.
Submission? That doesn’t sound like fun. That sounds all old school and Victorian like. Thus my point. Our natural inclination is to NOT submit. And while we may have periods of submission, sometimes even willful, perfect submission is not a part of our being and it is not a natural response. Without perfect submission, we cannot be right with God.
Submission has to be learned. If left to our own devices, we will spin into a mess of depravity and of selfish ambition. Look at any society or individual who has done so. Look at the biggest jerks of the world. What’s one thing they have in common? A refusal to submit. We glorify the rebel. Oh, what a free thinker! He bucks societal norms! Yes, I want to break the law, too!
Submission is how we stay bonded with God. It is through this bond that we can get the free flow of the Spirit, bringing to us the fruits of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, among others. You break this bond and you break the connection. Submission is not something that should be dreaded, it is something that should be sought after and cherished!
Every healthy relationship is about submission. True love is submitting oneself to another. True love is saying my ambitions are secondary to your well-being. True love is sacrificial, eternal and most importantly, willful. You must choose true love. It’s not a feeling that is conjured in the moment. It is an active choice and duty.
Submission is the part of His Image that was destroyed during the fall. This means, then, that one part of God’s image is submission! Now you may be saying, wha-? God? Submissive? Who on earth is God submissive to? That’s not like the God I know. And it may not be the God you’ve been taught about, but look at Scripture more closely. God made us in His image and before the fall, this included submission. Now if we were made to be submissive to God, then who is God submissive to?
Himself. Now this may not make a lot of sense, but hang in there with me. God is submissive to Himself. Meaning, he cannot, will not, violate His own precepts. God is a God of order and of natural law. He establishes the universe and He submits Himself to His own laws. As the example of perfect submission, He cannot violate His own laws, His own nature. If He did, all of creation will be unraveled and we would be lost in our sin forever. That’s how vital it is that God remain submissive to Himself.
Because of this, as a part of God’s own submission to Himself, He cannot look upon sin. He cannot violate that aspect of Himself that has been established since before time began. So many people ask, well if God is real, why does He… The answer is He can’t. Doing so would violate His submission to Himself. He also will not violate man’s free will. This is another part of God’s nature that He is submissive to. God’s law instructs that true love is measured by free will.
Because God submits perfectly and completely to Himself, it is man’s free will and man’s sin which makes it so that man can no longer be in the presence of God. The Destroyer knew this. Like the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia, Satan knew of the old magic, that old magic being the inability of God to violate His submission to His own nature. But like Aslan, God knew of an even deeper magic. Death was the result of sin and only death would allow God to stay in submission to Himself and still be able to look upon the sinner. It was the spilt blood that would harmonize everything together.
This is the beautiful thing about what submission looks like. God gives us the perfect example. He found a way to remain perfectly submissive to Himself, while rescuing humanity. And just in case we weren’t clear, He sent His Son to earth, to live and demonstrate in our physical presence exactly what submission to God looks like. Christ, being a part of God Himself, remained in perfect submission to the triune God in every step that He took. God’s submission to Himself was demonstrated in the person of Christ, so that when God asks us for the same submission to Himself, we can know what it looks like. The Bible reports that Christ was so submissive, that He even submitted Himself to the cross, so that His death would become the atonement needed to restore what Satan had destroyed.
When you think about what it cost to restore our ability to be submissive to God once again, perhaps you won’t look at submission with such dread and aversion in the future. Satan is also the father of lies. Godly submission has never been a bad thing. It’s the Destroyer that has sought to convince us otherwise. God, in His perfection, submitted Himself to Himself. He created us to do the same, as a part of being in His Image. Satan destroyed this part of human nature. Christ restored it. To Him be the Glory!