What is Christian Accountability & is a Christian Accountable to Church Leadership?
This post will address the third word in our word matrix.
To submit to One is to understand His wishes and to accept them as your own.
Lets review the passage and then discuss.
When this question arises, ie. “Is a Christian accountable to Church Leaders?” invariably the passage in Hebrews 13 is referred to. Therefore, lets consider the passage.
7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
I have emboldened the verse under consideration. The following posts will address Hebrews 13:17, and a considered review of critical words the apostle uses in exhorting the believers he is writing to.
Following is a matrix of words that need to be considered in understanding the teaching of Hebrews 13, especially verse 17. (See end of study for Strong’s full definitions.)
The word of concern in our passage is used only once in the New Testament, and of course it is in Hebrew 13:17.
Hupeiko to resist no longer, but to give way, yield (of combatants) metaph. to yield to authority and admonition, to submit submit (one’s) self
The issue of authority is raised, by the inclusion of this word. The question that is of importance is
What is the authority that a believer is to yield to.
One possibility is that the elders are to be submitted to. This is correct to the point that believers are to submit to one another (Eph 5:21) and to consider one another above ourselves (Phil 2). I am not persuaded that this verse is giving any additional authority to any man simply because of a position in the church.
Another possibility is that the authority to be submitted to is the Word of God. I think this is the answer to our problem. And yet…
Thinking back, there were a group of folk that were very Biblical. Memorized vast amounts of the scripture (that they had!) and lived a very separated life. Always went to meeting, gave according to the scriptures and sought to obey every precept in their religion.
They ended up killing the Messiah.
I am not sure how this is gonna work out in my thinking, and if y’all can help me, it would sure be appreciated. It turns out that there is One who has authority, and I am trying to figger it out in relation to the Word of God.
He said ….”All authority has been given unto Me”
Lets consider one situation.
Jesus brings to our attention the time when David was on the run from Saul, and needed food for his following. We find the passage in Matthew 12
At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.
But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
How is it that Jesus would refer to a time in Davids life that he performed an unlawful deed, admittedly so, and then use it to justify His disciples actions (plucking and eating some “corn” as they traveled through the area.
The disciples were not doing anything opposed to what the Word was allowing.
When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour’s standing corn.
So why did Jesus bring up the incident with David? He could have easily rebuffed this complaint with the above passage. But I think Jesus was after bigger fish to fry. It has to do with ….
and the religious zealots affection for that special day.
Could Jesus be equating the the sabbath observance (even that which was prescribed in the Old Testament, not merely that which the pharisees had corrupted to its present state) to the ceremonial law describing the eating of the shew bread?
What about the priestly service overriding the observance of the sabbath?
Jesus took this incident and taught of a higher authority over the law, and as I read through the gospels, He seemingly rode this horse often!
So – what authority is applicable in the verse we are considering above (Heb 13) ? I am still trying to process this as I work through the epistles. It is a challenge. I know in the past, I have considered Paul to be the one to listen to, actually filtering out Jesus words by interpreting Paul’s words according to my desires.
I find it amazing that Jesus never abrogated a moral commandment, but those things that are least (ceremonial issues) had become the greatest with men, and Jesus was all about upsetting the apple cart!
Find following some additional greek words that the author to the Hebrews could have chosen to use in our text, but didn’t.
to arrange under, to subordinate to subject, put in subjection to subject one’s self, obey to submit to one’s control to yield to one’s admonition or advice to obey, be subject A Greek military term meaning “to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader”. In non-military use,it was “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden”. submit (one’s) self unto5, submit (one’s) self to3, be in subjection unto2, put in subjection under1, miscellaneous12
Wow – glad he didn’t use this word in the text!
to decree, command, enjoin, lay down an ordinance submit…to decrees
I think we get our word “dogmatic” from this word! (Makes me consider whether being dogmatic is being Christ-like)
to be a slave, serve, do service of a nation in subjection to other nations metaph. to obey, submit to in a good sense, to yield obedience in a bad sense, of those who become slaves to some base power, to yield to, give one’s self up to
I like this possibility, seems to have a similar sense to hupeiko
to lead away with or together metaph. to be carried away with of a thing, i.e. by a thing, so as to experience with others the force of that which carries away to yield or submit one’s self to lowly things, conditions, employments: not to evade their power
to listen, to harken of one who on the knock at the door comes to listen who it is, (the duty of a porter) to harken to a command to obey, be obedient to, submit to
End Notes – Strongs Definitions
G3982 πείθω peithō pi’-tho
A primary verb; to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty): – agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) content, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield.
G2233 ἡγέομαι hēgeomai hayg-eh’-om-ahee
Middle voice of a (presumed) strengthened form of G71; to lead, that is, command (with official authority); figuratively to deem, that is, consider: – account, (be) chief, count, esteem, governor, judge, have the rule over, suppose, think.
G5226 ὑπείκω hupeikō hoop-i’-ko
From G5259 and εἴκω eikō (to yield, be “weak”); to surrender: – submit self.G69
ἀγρυπνέω agrupneō ag-roop-neh’-o
Ultimately from G1 (as negative particle) and G5258; to be sleepless, that is, keep awake: – watch.
G3056 λόγος logos log’-os
From G3004; something said (including the thought); by implication a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension a computation; specifically (with the article in John) the Divine Expression (that is, Christ): – account, cause, communication, X concerning, doctrine, fame, X have to do, intent, matter, mouth, preaching, question, reason, + reckon, remove, say (-ing), shew, X speaker, speech, talk, thing, + none of these things move me, tidings, treatise, utterance, word, work.