On Monday January 14th Pastor Paul and Beth Laborde came and spoke to our mom’s group on biblical marriage. Perhaps one of the most prominent passages of the bible on marriage is Ephesians 5.
In order to better understand the book of Ephesians, Pastor Paul offered some background and explanation. Paul wrote the letter to the church in Ephesis. The letter is broken down into 2 basic parts. The first part is Gospel Indicative, or the truth of the Gospel. It is found in the first 3 chapters. It tells us who we are in Christ. The 2nd part is Gospel Imperative. Because of who we are in Christ we have responsibilities to live in a certain way. The last three chapters in the letter discuss Christian living.
In the first 3 chapter some of the words that describe believers are:
Holy, blameless, chosen, adopted, a workmanship, a dwelling place, sealed
Because of who we are in Christ we should:
Be humble, gentle, patient kind, compassionate, put off our old selves, have no unwholesome talk come out of our moths, imitators of God.
Our focus was on Ephisians 5:21-33 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansingher 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. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
To get into the meaning of these verses we need to approach it with three basic understandings.
- Men and women are equal, but different. Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Both men and women were created in His image. But God ordained us to be different. We think differently, respond differently, and communicate differently. We are different. So God gives us different commands in the marriage relationship
- Submission by the wife is a purposeful and is directly related to a relationship with Christ. We are to submit to our husbands as the church submits to Christ.
- Paul is talking to believers!
The first 3 verses are speaking directly to the wife. In our culture the word “submission” has been turned into a dirty word. Women are taught that we are equal (true) and that to submit to our husbands is to lose who we are. The secular definitions of the word submit are “to yield or surrender”. Submit can also defined as “to subject oneself to authority”. As Christians God commands us to submit to our husband just as we submit to Him. Beth offered a great resource to learn more about this in your own marriage: dancing with the one you love by Cindy Easley. In each marriage submission is not just one size fits all. There are some times and some marriages where the husband is not following Christ or his command to love his wife. Cindy’s book looks at different circumstances and offers guidance. 1Peter 3 is a wonderful piece of scripture to turn to in circumstances such as those.
While the wives directives are 3 verses long the husbands are NINE! When we submit to our husband’s authority in our marriage an awful lot of responsibility is put on his shoulders. First he is to love us. Not just love us, but love us as Christ loves the church and as he loves himself. Our English language only has one word for “love”. In one sentence you can say, “I love God and I love Chili Cheese Fritos”. Not quite the same meaning! In Greek there are 3 words for love. Eros, Philio, and Agape. Eros is the romantic, passionate love. Philio is brotherly love or warm affection. Agape is the love that Paul is referring to in these verses. Agape is to esteem someone, to have strong affection for. It is a self-sacrificing love and it assumes that one takes pleasure in demonstrating the affection. Our husbands are to Agape –love us. They are to protect, preserve, and purify us. Part of a husband’s responsibility is to protect her relationship with the Lord as well as having the responsibility for his family following God.
When the wife is submitting to her husband and the husband is loving his wife, what a glorious picture we present to the world! Our marital relationship is the closest thing this side of Heaven that we are able to see that shows us what our relationship with God will be like one day! We have an opportunity to share with the world, through our marriage, what Christ is like.
Ephesians 5:21-33 gives us instructions on our marriage. What is stopping you? God has a good plan for your marriage, all you have to do is read the instruction manual!