Claim Your Responsibilities

Key Verse: “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”
—Ephesians 5:21

Selected Scripture:
Ephesians 5:1-5, 21-19

THE ABILITY TO undertake and carry out personal responsibility in life is an indication of the level of maturity in a person. To the child of God the importance of this is doubly magnified, because they have both temporal as well as spiritual responsibilities. Those who are mature spiritually have developed, through experience, the ability to properly understand and carry out God’s will for them, just as the naturally mature are able to meet their responsibilities in the earthly affairs of life. In Ephesians 5, the Apostle Paul deals with both aspects of this subject, and in fact uses the natural to illustrate and corroborate the spiritual.

In verses 1-5 of the Selected Scripture, Paul reminds his hearers that the basis for carrying out all responsibilities, temporal or spiritual, is the character attribute of love. It is love that has, and always will govern the Creator in carrying out his responsibilities as the Author of the plan of salvation for all mankind. Since love is the key to his works, there are certain thoughts and actions of man that are so clearly out of harmony with this basis that no one who practices such things “hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” (vs. 5) It is not necessary to list these here. Suffice it to say that even in this world such actions are not approved by people of good moral character.

The Key Verse points out that perhaps the single most important responsibility that any of us have is that toward one another. The ability to get along with others, to share the blessings of life with one’s fellowman, to dwell together in peace and harmony, is a noble goal desired by most of God’s intelligent creation. However, through the fall of man into sin, the fruitage of this desire has been conflict, war and a general inability to do the very thing that Paul admonishes, “submitting yourselves one to another.” (vs. 21) Only those who have put their total trust and reliance in the Lord have been able to carry this out in their natural affairs—and even more importantly—in their spiritual affairs.

Paul likens the natural arrangement of marriage to the relationship between Christ and his church. (vss. 22-25) In marriage, both the husband and the wife have important responsibilities. If one or the other does not carry these out, the marriage will have difficulties—perhaps it will even fail altogether. The same is true in the spiritual realm. Christ, as the head of the church, his body, was given the responsibility of being the “Saviour of the body” (vs. 23), which he fulfilled at Calvary. He also loves the church (vs. 25), sanctifies, and cleanses it. (vs. 26) These are all Jesus’ responsibilities, and he has carried them out perfectly, completely. Our responsibility as the body or church, Paul says, is to “submit yourselves … as unto the Lord.”—vs. 22

Finally, we are to cooperate and work with our Head in this sanctification process. To carry out these all-important responsibilities means that these words will be fulfilled in us: “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”—Eph. 5:27

Dawn Bible Students Association
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