Many will still say that there is no pattern or that any pattern is just a loose guide to be adjusted on the needs of the day. But they really donâ€™t mean that. They mean there is no pattern they desire to follow, and there is only a simile of a gospel plan of salvation which they have sanctioned as both movable and malleable. That there is not pattern of things that absolutely must be followed - whether for justification or for works of any kind. These typically follow after particular theories and doctrines of men and insist that there is nothing much needed to be done to become a Christian; and that are no â€œworksâ€ that must be accomplished in order to please God. They throw everything they define as works into the same basket --- and accept nothing given in Godâ€™s book unless it happens to suit them.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (5:21; TNIV)
Who is submitting to each other? Everyone is submitting to everyone. From our love, respect, reverence, and fear of Christ we will subject ourselves to one another. Now, what does this mean? Does this mean that we will be mindless people, act like a doormat, and let everyone push us around or tell us what to do? NO. We have a strange view of submission and subjection because often this is how we understand submission. But the concept is really simple: we are going to yield to others. Maybe it would help to read the text with the word “yield.” We are to yield to one another out of reverence for Christ. The new life in Christ yields to the interests of others. The old self gives commands. The old, sinful self looks out for its own interests only. But if there is something that is good for another person, we will yield our own interest to advance their interests.
Too often this verse is missed as studies dive into Ephesians 5:22 where wives submit to their husbands. But this should not be an issue because Paul has already commanded everyone to yield to everyone. Paul is simply pointing out that even wives yield to husbands (5:22-24), husbands yield to wives by loving them as Christ loved the church (5:25-33), children yield to parents (6:1-3), parents yield to their children’s interests by training them in the Lord (6:4), slaves yield to masters (6:5-8), and master yield to slaves (6:9).
Everyone is to yield to each other. This is Christian living.