Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Christ and the Church

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Ephesians 5:22-33, New King James Version

Christ and the Church

This is a rather long passage, but please take the time to read it all. Much could be written regarding these verses--much more that I write in these devotionals, so I will try to be more general so that we can still understand the message Paul was giving in Ephesians 5.

There are two subjects being taught here, and the one weaves itself into the other. Paul is teaching regarding the relationship between the husband and wife, and then using it as an example of the relationship between Christ and the church.

I think these verses are ones we struggle with in our day because we wives often chaff against the thought of being subject to our husbands, and I think husbands often misuse the authority they have been given. I think that is largely due to the fact that we misunderstand these verses. Yes, wives are subject to their husbands, and husbands are over their wives, but what does that mean?

There are plenty of verses elsewhere in the Bible that point out the equality of everyone, including male and female. There are also plenty of verses elsewhere that tell us that, in the husband-wife relationship, God places the husband as the "head" of the wife. What does this mean?

The husband is the protector (umbrella) over the wife and the children in the family. The parents stand side by side as being one over the children. In decision making the husband and wife make decisions together, however if they disagree, I believe the wife should agree to the husband's choice.

Now that is certainly a volatile suggestion, however let me explain what is really happening here. The husband is under God in the decisions he makes. It took years for me to really come to this in our marriage, because, let's face it, sometimes my husband does make the wrong choice. However, I observed the change in my husband when he understood what was happening. If he made the wrong choice, he was answerable to God! And, believe me, God is still very alive and very active in the lives of His children today.

I must qualify, that any obedience is always subject to the law of God. We are never to obey any commands, whether they be wishes of our husband, or laws of the land, if they are in disobedience to the laws of God.

Having said all of that, I will end with Paul's last statement in Ephesians 5:32.

This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

The relationship of the husband and wife is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church. All of the children of God are members of the bride of Christ. So, if we struggle with this passage we should think of this. Wives, how are you to submit to Christ? Husbands, how are you to love Christ? That is the same way that wives should submit to their husbands, and husbands are to love their wives.

It is a tall order, and is only possible by the grace of God.

God Bless You,

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