Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ephesians 5:25-27

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

After instructing wives to be subject to their husbands, Paul instructs husbands to love their wives in so completely and self-sacrificially that their wives never need worry about being dominated or suffering in their submissiveness. They are to love their wives as Christ loved the church – not to control or command but to serve and give himself up for her. Husbands lay down their lives in a model of Christ’s servant leadership. In most culture at the time Ephesians was written a man had complete control of his wives and daughters and could even take their lives. As a rule women had few rights. So this statement by Paul would be revolutionary. Men do not need to be taught to domineer, but through the example of Christ they learn gentleness, humility, and true unselfish love.

Today many men look at their marriages with the idea that as long as they are happy or having their needs met then they will stay married to their wives. But when they no longer feel happy or fulfilled they will look for someone else. It’s counterculture to love as Christ loved the church – to love whether or not you receive the same level of love in return. If you no longer love your wife then the problem isn’t that you aren’t being fulfilled – the problem is that you are sinning. According to these verses a husband is to love his wife even if she treats him as poorly as Christ was treated by those who hated and despised him. That’s tough stuff!

Christ’s purpose in His sacrifice was to sanctify the church so that we could be presented with no spot or wrinkle. John Chrysostom, the great preacher, said, "Hear the measure of love, if it be needful that thou shouldest give thy life for her or be cut to pieces a thousand times, or endure anything whatever, refuse it not. Christ brought His church to His feet by His great care, not by threats or any such thing. So do thou conduct thyself toward thy wife.” If a husband loves his wife in such a manner this will have a sanctifying influence on his wife and help bring her closer to Christ.

Biblical love is not an emotion… it is an act of self-sacrificing giving. –John MacArthur

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