Ephesians 5: 25-27
My wife and I will have been married for forty-nine years in June of this year. It hasn’t always been easy, especially during those first two years of marital adjustments. She was from a more boisterous family than mine with her two younger athletic brothers as opposed to my one quiet brother who was six years older than I. She and I were believers who didn’t believe in divorce, but we thought it several times during those initial years.
Relationships are difficult. During the initial “honeymoon” stage, everything is fine. The couple has no problem getting along. Then the differences begin to come into play. I am sharing some guidelines found in Ephesians that may help a couple grow together in their relationship as well as in their faith. In the last blog, I wrote about how wives or women can increase the depth of their relationship with their partner by comparing that to the relationship between Christ and the “Universal Church.” Now let’s look at what God has in mind for husbands or men.
As noted previously, this concept of “submission” is often really difficult for a female, even if it is compared to Christ and the Church. But what about men? Do they get a free pass? Oooh, no. Not in the slightest.
“Husbands, love [emphasis mine] your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” [Ephesians 5: 25-27. NIV]
Do you remember what I wrote in earlier blogs, that the theme of Ephesians can be called “The Church, of Which Christ Is the Head”? Well, this pretty well lays it out, doesn’t it? Do you see the role of the husband in the relationship? The husband becomes a Christ-figure to the family in his position and in his responsibility.
To start, to whom is this passage addressed? “Husbands.” Similar to the situation with the earlier passage addressed to “Wives,” this verse is addressed to “husbands,” and wives can not demand, coerce, or force this. Wives [correction from “husbands”, 3-31-21], you must stay out of it as this is between the husband and God.
“Husbands, love your wives . . . .” Of course you love your wife! I am not saying you don’t. But in what manner do you love your wife, to what extent? “As Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”? Let’s look at some verses that illustrate this same Greek word for “love.”
“For God so loved [emphasis is mine] the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3: 16. A meld of KJV and NIV]
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others more significant than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” [Philippians 2: 1-4. NIV]
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” [Romans 5: 8. NIV]
The Greek word for love in these verses is “agape” [ah-GAH-peh]. This kind of love is the self-sacrificing love that is represented by God toward us. Please note that these are by no means all the verses that use the Greek term for love here, but it is certainly representative to enable you to have an idea of what God’s kind of love looks like.
The husband/man is called to love as Christ loved, sacrificing his will, his personal desires, his life for the sake of his radiant bride.
I’m going to stop there as the next section in dealing with the husband becomes somewhat complicated in that Paul writes some wonderful insights for the relationship between the man and the woman. Watch this space on Clearthemurk.com.