I want to share why this passage is so very important to me. There are three reasons, with a story behind them all. The story is that I was walking on the pier in Pentwater, MI carrying a bag over my shoulder and holding my girlfriend’s hand. We reached the end of the pier, and through intense prayer we were the only ones out there, I pulled a brand new Bible out of my bag and handed it to her. She opened it up and found a note directing her to this very passage of study, Ephesians 5:22-33. When she finished reading I was on one knee willing to dedicate this godly way of living to her if should but only say, “yes”. She did. A year after our marriage I realized I needed to live in this passage for awhile. This brings me to the three reasons why I am writing and thinking about marriage. 1) For her 2) For the betterment of my Christian life and 3) For the glory of God. Thats the point of all we do, for His glory.
Ephesians 5:25-27 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 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.”
Paul really knows how to write long sentences. Anyway, the call this time is for husbands to love their wives, not to submit, but to love. How are husbands supposed to love their wives? Paul tells us husbands are to love as Christ loved the church. Let’s unpack that a bit. It is because of Christ we have the church, because of his death and resurrection and the forgiveness of sins. Christ lived and died for the church, he tells us, “even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” Matthew 20:28. Christ loved the church by serving her. Wives are to submit to their husbands, and husbands are to be servants to their wives.
Paul is telling husbands that they must give themselves up for the sake of their wives. This is a call to self-sacrificial love. The husband is bound, by love, to ensure that marriage is a place that the wife can find as a source of fulfillment and joyful service to God. Verses 26 and 27 are entirely Christ-centered because a husband cannot cleanse the sins of his wife, nor bring salvation to her. That is the work of God. But a husband can love his wife in such a way to promote holiness in her life, by remaining in a holy marriage.
Wives are to submit to husbands as though he were Christ and husbands are to love their wives as though she were the church. There is no room for tyranny in such a relationship as this. There is only room for godly love and growing holiness.
Ephesians 5:22-27 “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.”
I hope and pray that marriages can see the beauty and glory in living in a covenant designed by God.
My friend, the same as the last addendum friend, asked for an example of self-sacrificial love toward my wife. So, here goes a little example, first one that popped in my mind. My wife is an accountant and she works 45 minutes from our apartment, this means she gets up at 5:30am Monday through Friday. At 6:00am-ish every morning I am out of bed, making her breakfast, packing her lunch, and when necessary brushing the snow off of her car. Do I need to do this? No, she is rather capable of taking care of herself. Does she demand that I do this? No. Is it expected of me? Sometimes, but mostly no. So why do it? Because I love to serve her. She is, in a way, being submissive to my actions, and by doing so, she allows me to live into the manhood/husbandhood I need and God commands.
John Piper has a story that goes something like this: On our anniversary I do not bring roses to front door and hand them to Noel (his wife) and tell her I am going to take her out to a nice dinner and not to worry because I have already got a babysitter and the night is all for us, and when she says with joy and appreciation in her eyes, “Oh Johnny, why did you?” I do not respond, “because it is my duty”. That would be ridiculous and counter productive and ungodly in a godly marriage. The correct response would be something like, “because I love you, with all of my heart and one of my greatest joys is to serve you and to see you happy.”