June 15, 2020 – Monday
Ephesians 5:25 ESV
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her
After writing about Genesis 2:18 on Friday I wanted to provide bookend of sorts for that verse and settled on Ephesians 5:25 above. The first thing we have to do is recognize verse 25 is not a complete sentence. In its fullness it reads as 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Frankly I don’t believe we can love our wives as Christ loved the church, but we can make the attempt, doing our best. The question is how do we do that, how do we love our wives as Christ loved the church. We are given a major clue in verse twenty-five when we consider the end of the verse about how Jesus gave Himself up for her [the church]. Here we have to ask ourselves what does it mean to give one’s self up for one’s wife.
Before addressing that question, consider how revolutionary this direction was for men to first love their wives, second love their wives as Christ loved the church, and third be willing to give ourselves up for our wives. These three points were all revolutionary as wives were often thought of as no more than property, certainly they were that under Roman law. But here the direction is not how to care for one’s property, but to not even look upon her as property. Instead love her. Second love her as Christ loved the church, that is sacrificially. How are we to do that? Looking to 1 Peter 3:7 we can find part of the answer Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. She may be the weaker vessel, but always recognize she is just as much a heir to eternal life through Jesus as you are. Love her constantly even as you become aware of her faults and imperfections, simply love her all the more as Christ loved the church in all of her imperfections and faults.
Then we come to the third question, how are we to be willing to give ourselves up for our wives? Men, having great bravado might speak of how they would gladly take a bullet for their wives and probably would. However, this is a much more difficult concern. How do you give yourself up? First of all, it is giving up your pride in the sense of self righteousness of always being right when arguing or disagreeing with your wife. It might help to ask how important is the subject under discussion. How important is it? Will it matter in a week, a month, or three months? If not, let it go. Then there is humility. When is the last time you gave up 5 minutes to give your wife a foot rub (make that 15-30 minutes in my house), or 10 minutes to take care of some housework, or 30 minutes to do up the dishes. This might properly be called dying to one’s self, one’s ego, one’s sense of self importance.
Finally, Christ set the example for the church. He always endeavored to increase and promote the faith and understanding of the good news He was bringing to mankind. In discussion, prayer, and especially in action we are to do our best to advance the faith and understanding of the good news of Jesus the Messiah in our wives. We cannot do this without doing the same ourselves, increasing our faith and understanding of the good news of Jesus. We do this with our own study, prayer, and discussion.
Your wife is your gift, your divine gift, from God. And Jesus tells us how to take care of our divine gift. Let’s do our best to take care of our gift.