Chapter 5:22-33 (ESV) - Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Question to consider: What has Paul revealed about marriage and the attitudes of husbands and wives?
When reading Ephesians, it is important to keep in mind that this was a letter written by Paul to the church at Ephesus with the intention that they would give copies of this letter to the surrounding churches. Just because the Bible translators put in section headings or separated sections with chapter breaks doesn’t mean we take the ideas presented and separate them from the surrounding context.
In the passage we studied yesterday, Paul was exhorting the Ephesians to be filled with the Holy Spirit instead of wine, and to submit to one another rather than their own flesh, for the days were evil, and the Ephesians needed to be focused on the will of God. Discerning the “will of God” does not mean we look for divine omens to tell us what direction we should take. The will of God is for us to do the good works we were created to do. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Today, we look at what “submitting to one another” means in the marital covenant. The man’s place as the head of the household is something that dates back to the creation narrative in Genesis. Adam was the head of Eve and therefore responsible to God for her well-being. He failed in his responsibility to give her a complete understanding of the word of God, and then failed to stand for her when the serpent came into the garden. The end result was sin which forever damaged the relationship so that men seek to dominate and women seek to undermine man’s responsibility to God for the household.
Paul took what was known about the marital covenant and revealed the mystery behind it. The marital covenant was a type and shadow of the covenant relationship between Christ and the church. Thus a wife is to submit to the authority of her husband as the church submits to the authority of Christ.
Christ sanctifies the church through baptism and His word. Therefore a husband is to submit to God by sacrificially loving his wife as Christ loved the church, and making sure the household is built upon the foundation of God’s word with Christ as its cornerstone.
There are those in the current generation who took it upon themselves to redefine marriage in the culture even though they had no right to do so. What the culture calls marriage is no longer a covenant with God but a flimsy social contract that is more about personal gratification than serving and submitting to Christ and one another. The world is going to do as the world does while it lives in rebellion against God. However, those who call upon the name of the Lord should never think it is okay to destroy something that God has called good and revealed as a picture of His Son.
Dear heavenly father, please help us to love and serve one another as fellow members of the body of Christ. Bless husbands and wives who seek to honor You in the keeping of their vows, and thank You for giving us grace and forgiveness when we fall short of them. Amen.