As Christ Loved the Church
Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV
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.
The reason I am listing the husband first, out of order from what it is in the passage of scripture, is because Christ loved us first, so that we could then love him. And, the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. So, the husband, too, needs to love his wife first, as Christ loves us, which will then make it easier for his wife to love him back.
Also, I am listing the husband first because he is the head of the household, and he is the one who is to lead his wife and children spiritually, but not just with words, but by his lifestyle, i.e. by his example, as the shepherd of that family, his pasture, his flock (See: 1 Pet. 5:1-4).
Jesus literally gave his life up for us. He willingly suffered and died for our freedom, so that we could be holy and blameless in God’s sight. And, this is how you, husbands, should love your wives, even if you don’t believe in God or Jesus, but especially if you claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ. For, a follower of Christ is one who obeys, shows respect for, and emulates Jesus.
So, you should emulate Christ in how he loves us, and love your wives in the same manner, self-sacrificially, in purity, and in truth, treating her with great honor, value and respect, and leading her by example in how to live a holy life committed to God and to his service. So, this means that you need to be walking in purity, honesty, righteousness, holiness, uprightness, integrity, honor, and love, in the power and working of God’s righteousness.
But, if you are not, that is no excuse. You don’t get an out. Just because you are floundering in your sin doesn’t mean you are excused from your responsibility. You can’t lead by example if you are not living it, so live it. Don’t keep on in your lust, selfishness and greed, and then opt out of your responsibility before God to be the man of God and the husband you ought to be. And, then don’t demand that your wife do her part if you are not willing to do your part first. God made you the head, so be who he made you to be, only model Christ and his love for his church. Don’t be an ogre.
As Your Own Body
Ephesians 5:28-33 ESV
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.
Do you love yourself more than you love God? More than you love your wife? Do you care more about your needs than you do your wife’s? Do you care more about what you want than you do about what God desires? Do you care more about what you lust after than you do about your wife’s heart? Or, do you regularly trample on her heart? Don’t answer these questions with words. Words mean nothing if they are not followed up with action.
Answer these questions by honestly evaluating your own life and how you live it day in and day out. What does your lifestyle say about you? About how much you care for yourself and how much you care about God and your wife? What you give your time to, your passion, your desire, your money, your thoughts, and your habits says a lot about you. It speaks volumes concerning who is number 1 in your life, and who is in last place.
I am going to be quite frank here. If you, as a man, are spending your time, money, thinking, and desire on pornography, lusting after other people, in even mild flirtations with another, or on masturbation, you are committing adultery against your wife every time you engage in any of those activities. God sees it as no different from you having sex outside of marriage. You are not only not loving your wife, but you are treating her with hate (disdain). So, then don’t be surprised if she is not jumping for joy over the idea of being intimate with you. There is no intimacy where there is no faithfulness.
When we marry, we become one flesh, but if you (husband or wife) commit adultery against one another, you then become one flesh with whomever you have committed adultery. The intimacy, fellowship and trust have now been broken with your spouse, and the only way to restore that back to what it should be is for you to flee temptation to sin, resist Satan, throw off whatever is leading you into sin, and walk in obedience to your Lord, in humble submission to his will for your life. And, then love (honor, cherish and value) your wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
You want your wife to respect you? Then live rightly. Don’t cheat on her, lie to her, devalue her, treat her like a sex object, and commit adultery against her. Don’t betray her trust. Earn her trust. Prove yourself faithful. Love her as you do your own self. Consider her needs above your own. Don’t be selfish and think only of yourself. Don’t make yourself or your own body your idol (your god) which you worship, either. Don’t be one flesh with yourself, having an affair with yourself, but be one flesh with her, instead.
Submission to Husbands
Ephesians 5:22-24 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.
So, the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, and the wife is to submit to her husband as to the Lord, and as the church submits to Christ.
So, what this is saying is that there is a parallel between the relationship Christ has with his church, and his church has with him, and that of the relationship between a husband and a wife.
If the husband, thus, is loving his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that she might be holy and blameless, then us wives should have no problem at all with being in submission to our husbands. For, our husbands should not be requiring anything of us that Christ does not demand of his own.
But, it gets sticky, I believe, when a professing Christian husband, in particular, is not living a Christian life, but is living an immoral life and is living in adultery against his wife, and his desires are not God’s desires, but are those of lust, selfish desire and wickedness. If we are to submit as we do to the Lord, and as the church does to the Lord, then we should not submit to anything that is contrary to scripture and is against the Lord. So, when it says to submit in “everything,” it does not include what is evil.
This is what I believe here. Jesus Christ sets the example for us in what this means. He did not give way to the Pharisees who were trying to get him to bow to them. He always followed the law of love. He didn’t dance their dance. They were wrong, and he called them on it. Although they were in positions of power and authority, he never compromised truth or righteousness in order to submit to them, nor did he participate in any evil.
Also, Jesus is never unfaithful to us. He does not lie to us, betray us, cheat on us, be cruel and hateful to us and then expect us to cozy up to him. He is not selfish, but he considered his life as nothing in comparison to what his sacrifice would mean for our salvation. And, I am certainly not saying here that we all have to be perfect. But, what I am saying is that we need to treat one another as Christ treats us, and not willfully, knowingly and with no conscience treat one another with hate and then expect intimacy in return.
So, how did/does Jesus love us? He gave up his own life, his own reputation, and was willing to suffer, to be mistreated, to be hated and persecuted, and even be put to death so that we could go free from our addiction to sin. And, that is how I believe wives should also love their husbands.
Thus, if your husband is caught in adultery, and if he is not willing to repent, then you need to be willing to be hated and misjudged and persecuted by him in order to help your husband be free of his addiction, i.e. in order for you to stand for truth and righteousness and against what is evil.
In other words, we should not participate with our spouses in anything that feeds that addiction, or that gives them permission to continue in it, even if they make fun of us, mock us, get angry with us or whatever. We need to speak the truth in love, and live the truth in love, too. We need to love our husbands as Christ loved the church, too. And, we need to set boundaries just like Jesus does for his church, but in our marriages, and not accept anything less.
Basically, we all need to be living what we profess and we need to be treating one another with the kind of love Christ has for us, his bride. But, especially, if you are the man, you have the stronger responsibility before God, as the leader of the home, to set the right example in loving your wife as Christ loves us.
An Original Work / May 31, 2012
Based off Matthew 23
Woe to you, teachers of the law;
Hypocrites, you keep men from God.
You refuse to obey the truth,
Nor will you permit others to.
You travel o’er land and sea
To win a single convert to you.
When he becomes one
You make him twice as much
A “son of hell” as you are.
Woe to you, blind guides of mankind.
You distort the words of your God.
By your practices you declare
Your oaths mean nothing, though you swear.
You give a tenth of your spices,
But you neglect justice, mercy.
When you focus your
Time and talents on
What is external, you miss out.
Woe to you, who appear so clean,
When inside you are crass and mean.
You work hard to look so upright,
While you hide all your sins inside.
You deceive yourselves when you think
You would not have done what others
Did to God’s messengers
And prophets of old,
For you will do much the same.
You’re to blame.
Tuesday, June 19, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for Your love.