From Andy: In his message this past Sunday Rob did a wonderful job helping us see the Gospel joy behind the marriage and family job descriptions in Ephesians 5 and 6. I've asked him to excerpt some of his thoughts from the message on marriage for Wedded Wednesday and on parents and children on Family Friday. You can download the entire message here.
This gospel understanding of Ephesians 5 completely changes how we read the text. So, in light of this wonderful truth, that true family unity can only be achieved through our unbreakable union with Christ, let’s read through this passage again.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Seen in light of the gospel, it is as though Christ is saying:
“Wives, I have freed you from striving for position. I have declared my equal love for men and women, for young and old, for Jew and Gentile. I have called you to me. And I have set in place an order for the home. This is a good and holy calling for you. Don’t strive…submit, in light of the gospel. I’m not putting constraints in your way…but freedom.”
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 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. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
Men, do you hear the voice of Christ behind these words:
“Husbands, I have lavished my love on you and poured out my blood to wash you…to make you white as snow. I have poured out my life to present you to my Father without blemish. In light of the glorious gospel that has been given to you…love your wives. Seek what is best for her…seek to serve her. I have expressed my lordship over you with compassion, patience and love. This is how you ought to love your wife…this is how I have loved you.”
You see, Ephesians 2 converts Ephesians 5 from an instruction manual to a worship event. It is not a list of job descriptions. It is everyday application of the gospel to the small and seemingly insignificant moments of our lives. Without Ephesians 2, Ephesians 5 is a burden. With it, it is an invitation to walk moment by moment, in the context of our closest relationships, with the one who died for us.
So, men, in light of Christ’s work on your behalf, God makes a claim on your life in this text. First, v23, you are to lead. You are to lead with a willingness to lay down your life for your wife. Her good is your concern. Next, v25, you are to love. The responsibility and leadership God has given you for her is a joy to carry. Loving her should be as fulfilling to your heart and soul as loving yourself is.
Pursue her interests. Initiate conversations on spiritual matters. Pray for her…with her.
Reorder your calendar to reflect her as a priority. Break passive patterns in the evenings and plan times for talk, for fun, for romance.
Ladies, in light of Christ’s work on your behalf, God makes a claim on your life in this text. First, v22, you are to submit. Following your husband’s leadership is following in the tracks laid out for you by the Savior. God has crafted you for your husband…serving and complementing him is the role of a helpmate. Next, vv25-31, receive your husband’s leadership and love. If God is calling him to these things, then he desires for you to receive them. Make leading and loving you a joy.
Seek to find ways to strengthen him in areas of weakness…to commend him in areas of strength. Ask for his leadership…for his input. Find ways to surprise him with blessing.