In America, today is a day we traditionally celebrate our human fathers. The day is referred to as “Father’s Day,” so I am going to focus more today on the role of the husband and father than I am on the role of the wife and mother. And actually that is appropriate because the man is to be the head of the household and the one who leads his family spiritually (if he is a Christian), and so he should be the one to set the tone for what happens in the home, although I realize he can’t entirely control all that goes on.
Now let me say this. My human father, although he claimed to be a Christian, and although he made sure we were “in church” every time the doors were open, was a bully and an abuser who took advantage of all who were weaker than him or who were under his authority. He physically and emotionally abused me and my siblings and our mother, and he sexually abused me and my sisters. He was a very violent man. But he was also very religiously legalistic and he knew the Scriptures. So he was a hypocrite.
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.”
Now, when this says that us wives should submit to our husbands as to the Lord, this means that we are to submit to them in the same manner as we would to the Lord. And what that means is we will not submit to anything that God would not have us submit to. For example, our Lord is not going to require us to submit to sinning against him, so we are never to submit to doing anything the Scriptures teach is sinful. So, if your dad or if your husband tries to get you to do what is sinful you can say, “No!”
And when this says that the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ (in the same way in which Christ) is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior, that does not mean that you (husbands/fathers) have the right to bully, to beat on, to mistreat, and to sin against your wives and children in any way that you choose. They are not your property to toss around, to stomp on, and to take advantage of for your own sinful pleasures. You are to be their savior in that you rescue and protect them from harm.
Ephesians 5:25-31 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. 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.’”
Now, this is a tall order for husbands, but it is what is required of Christian husbands if they are to be living in obedience to God. Husbands, you are to love your wives in the same way in which Jesus Christ loves us and gave himself up for us on that cross to free us from our slavery to sin and to give us new lives in him to be lived for his righteousness. You should lay down your lives and your selfish and sinful desires in order to love your wives in absolute purity and in consideration of what is absolutely best for them.
And if husbands were to truly love their wives in this manner I can’t imagine that any Christian woman would not want to submit to them, for it would be like submitting to Christ Jesus. And if you love your wives in this manner you will also love your children rightly and you will lead them in love in the way that is right for them, too. For there is no way that you could love them like this and then end up abusing, mistreating, and sinning against them deliberately and habitually and even premeditatedly.
Another thing about this is that husbands should lead by example, just like the Scriptures instruct the overseers of the church:
“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; NOT DOMINEERING over those in your charge, but BEING EXAMPLES to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:2-4 ESV).
If husbands/fathers are ruling by force harshly, and if they are doing so hypocritically, or if while they are living in sin in secret they are trying to lead their families spiritually, that is also living hypocritically and it won’t take hold. You men must first of all be walking the walk and not just talking it if you are going to lead your wives and your children and anyone else to follow the Lord Jesus in obedience to his ways and to walk in his truth. Hypocrisy is horrible! And some of us can see right through it.
Husbands are also to love their wives as their own bodies (flesh). Men, you are to nurture your wives and show them respect and honor and value and not treat them ever as a doormat under your feet for you to stomp on. And I am going to be quite frank here. If you are secretly sinning against your wives via any kind of sexual sin, which includes lusting in your mind, light flirtations, sexual humor, watching sexual videos, and self-gratification, which is sex with yourself, you are treating your wives with hate, not love.
Now this is very important that husbands understand this next part. When you marry your wife you are to leave your parents and all others and you are to hold fast to (cling to) your wife, and the two of you are to become one flesh. So, if you are still engaged in sexual sin you aren’t one flesh with your wife. And if you continue in sexual sin, you are not one with your wife, especially if she knows about it and she has begged you to stop but you have continued, and even while you act like you are a follower of Christ.
Now I am obviously a woman, and I am a wife of nearly 50 years, and I am a mother of four adult children, and a mother-in-law to three adults, and I am the grandmother of fourteen grandchildren. So, I do speak with some years of experience. But no man has to obey me. No man has to do what I am saying here. And no man is even required to read this. But if you, a man, do read this, I plead with you to take this passage of Scripture to heart and truly love your wives and your children as Jesus loves and cares for us who follow him.
He Reached Down
An Original Work / February 3, 2014
Based off Psalm 18
How I love You, Lord, my Rock and my strength.
My God is my fortress; I hide in Him.
He is my shield and the horn of
My salvation, whom I praise.
I have found my refuge in Him.
He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
Drew me out of waters so deep, I’d sink.
He delivered me from Satan
And my slavery to sin;
Gave me hope of heaven with Him.
My God turned my darkness into His light;
Opened up my blinded eyes; gave me sight.
As for God, his way is perfect.
He gives strength to stand secure.
I have found my vict’ry in Him.
My Lord lives! Praise be to my Savior God,
Jesus Christ, who died on a cruel cross.
He is my Rock and the source
Of my salvation, whom I trust.
I will give praise always to Him.