Instructions for Christian Households – Ephesians 5:1-20
22 Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. 24 Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,26 in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, 27 so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. 33 Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.
What does the passage say?
How many times did you hear this sermon preached from the pulpit? The passage today is one of the texts, which many preachers want to avoid preaching. Or maybe some of the men who feel like the lion above would like to hear a sermon that supports gender hierarchy.
However, if we read this passage as a Biblical reasoning for gender hierarchy, in our family, we are misinterpreting the whole notion of Paul.
To summarize these ten verses, we can say, ‘Paul asks the wives to be subject to their husbands, and the husbands to love and respect their wives. And the husbands are to love his wife, as himself.’ But we are missing the point. The bigger picture.
Throughout the book of Ephesians, Paul talks about the unity of the church. It starts with the mystery of the Gospel, making us one in Christ. Therefore, we become one in our Lord, regardless of our heratige: Jew or Gentile. The only reason is that we are have become one in Christ.
“This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church.” v. 32 NRSV
Paul is continuing to talk about the unity in Christ that happens through the mystery of the Gospel. And it seems like marriage is being used as an analogy to describe it.
It goes further more. Paul is saying, since we are one in Christ, Christians households should be exemplifying the unity in Christ.
This is a quote I saw on newlife.id.au, “Because many Christians have missed Paul’s main point, they believe that Paul used marriage to illustrate the close relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church. Actually, it is the other way round: The unity between Jesus Christ and his Church is a profound model for marriage. As followers of Jesus, both husbands and wives should be building unity, nurture, love, and respect in their marriages.”
What does this mean to me/us
Living out my faith in my family, especially in the relationship with my wife seems to be the toughest challenge of faith. I can preach and teach others on the subject of Christian living and even marriage, but when it comes to my relationship with my wife, it becomes an entirely differnt story.
What Paul is asking is to build the body of Christ in our families, and in the relationship with our spouses.
There need to be two ingredients for this to be possible.
One, we need to submit ourselves wholly to Christ.
Two, we need to practice mutual submission with our spouses first, to be in a mutual submission to others.
By loving our spouse, and others, we are learning how to love truly ourselves.
“What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.” v. 32-33 The Message
I pray that I learn how to love my wife, as Christ loved me. And through that, I hope that I will get to understand how wide, and deep, and high the love of our Lord is.
What does this MEAN to you?
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