Wives, if you are uncomfortable with Paul’s instructions to you in the last post relax: what he calls husbands to is worse. Notice first the difference in length – 3 verses compared to 9; 40 words compared to 115.
It’s like the little girl who went to her first wedding. She asked her mom, “Why is the bride wearing white?” The mother replied, “white is the color of happiness and this is the happiest day of her life” The girl replied then why is the groom wearing black?”
Notice next the difference in what husbands are called to in vs. 25
- Husbands are to have a sacrificial love for their wives. Sacrificial love means a husband is willing to meet his wife’s needs even if it is costly, to the point of laying down his life for his wife.
Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (NIV)
Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting.” (Msg)
Now, guys that’s a nice, poetic way of saying, “Jesus chose to submit himself to the whip, the thorns and the nails for our benefit. That’s the example for you husbands to follow.” In short, Paul boldly says here that we men are to have a SACRIFICIAL love for our wives. Their needs are always to come before our own—even if it is costly for us to satisfy their needs. In fact, it means we are to be willing to lay down our very lives for our help-mates.
Well, this is the kind of love husbands are to have for their wives. We have plenty of opportunities to show our love as we learn to die to self-daily and put our wives’ needs first. One wife rightly told her husband, “I know that you’re willing to die for me; you’ve told me that many times. But while you’re waiting to die, could you just fill in some of the time by helping me with the kids or the dishes?”
Now, wives, can YOU imagine how wonderful it would be to have a husband who was always putting you first—who was constantly dying to self to make sure your needs are met?
Now I want to point out that service is what is remembered, it is what makes a mark, it is what lasts. Service is being most like Christ. Service is the definition of spiritual maturity. We were just at a funeral last week and I was looking at some of the grave stones, nowhere did it say, “he sure knew his bible, she went to a lot of conferences, he read a lot of books” No they said, “loving husband,” “loving father.” This is our legacy, this is what last, serving others is the most Christ like thing you can do.
3. Submission Works Best When We View Our Marriage Bond As Permanent
Ephesians 5:31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (NIV)
In verse 31 Paul quotes the book of Genesis which God says that in marriage, husband and wife LEAVE their families to CLEAVE to one another. For the sake of their love a man and a woman become one flesh. With this word picture Paul implies that they are united as the parts of a body are united and so they are to no more think of separating than they would think of tearing their own bodies apart. In fact the blueprint here in Genesis uses a Hebrew word that we translate as “cleave” and it literally means “to glue or to cling” in a PERMANENT sense. You see, God designed marriage to be a life-long union between one man and one woman who SUBMIT to each other all the days of their lives—until death do them part and if marriage is to succeed—if spouses are to EXPERIENCE the joy that God designed marriage to bring—well then brides and grooms must embrace this principle from the beginning.
Submission Requires The Presence Of Christ In My Life
It is vital that we understand this because it is really impossible for a husband and a wife to submit to one another—and daily practice a sacrificial love—on their own power. if a husband is to love like Jesus, he must have personally experienced the love of Jesus. If a wife it to treat her husband, as Jesus would want her to she must know Jesus and have submitted Him herself. They each need Jesus living in and through them in order for them to practice true Biblical submission. Because Christ has been so patient with me, he waited and waited, he worked and worked in my life, because I have experienced his patience I can be patient with Niki. Because I have been forgiven so much, I can forgive Niki.
Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (NIV)
The word “submit” in verse 21 is not a command. The command is back in verse 18 where it says, “Be filled with the Spirit.” In other words, “Because you are filled with the spirit, you will be willing be to submit to your spouse.” Submitting to one another is an expression of being filled with the Spirit of God.
If you are a disciple of Jesus, yielding to His lordship, then when a problem comes you’ll let Him take the lead—you’ll submit to what He would want you to do.
And it IS impossible to submit like this on your own strength. We have to draw on God’s power. So, as I have often told you, in marriage as God intends there are not two partners but three—and Jesus is the third.
“You see, these verses teach us that the answer to the power imbalance question—you know, “WHO IS IN CHARGE, HUSBAND OR WIFE?”— is really neither. The correct answer to that question is JESUS! He is in charge! He is the boss! He is the HEAD of any marriage just as He is the Head of the church!
And Paul is saying that no marriage will succeed unless both spouses believe this and SUBMIT to Jesus’ authority in their part of the relationship. Paul explains how this works itself out in marriage by first addressing the wife and then the husband.
Some narrow bridges at the front of the bridge have a sign posted: “YIELD.” From the other direction another YIELD sign is posted. Yield signs are placed at both ends of the bridge. Drivers from both directions are requested to give right of way. It was a reasonable and gracious way of preventing a head-on collision. When the Bible tells husbands and wives to “submit to one another” (Ephesians 5:21) it is simply a reasonable and gracious command to let the other have the right of way and avoid interpersonal head-on collisions.”