Ephesians 5:22-24 ESV
“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.”
Wives, we are to yield (surrender) to our husbands like as we would to the Lord, in a similar (corresponding) manner. We are to relinquish control, i.e. they are to be the head, not us. We are not to usurp authority over our husbands. We are to be their helpers, to work alongside them, and to encourage them, but we are not to rule over them.
But we don’t yield to sin. We don’t yield to anything God would not require of us. We don’t follow our husbands into sin. Our loyalty and obedience are always to be to the Lord first. We don’t compromise truth or our faith or our God-given convictions regarding morality in order to submit to our husbands. We only submit in ways we would submit to Jesus.
Now, this is speaking to Christian husbands and wives. But not every Christian woman is married to a Christian husband. And not every husband who claims to be a Christian is living a Christian life, either. So, not every husband is going to have the mind of Christ in the marriage relationship regarding how it is supposed to work.
So, just like in the Scriptures which teach us to obey governing authorities, there are biblical exceptions. If we are being asked to do something against the will of God, or against his commandments, then we do not have to submit. We can obey God rather than man. We do not have to gratify the sinful lusts of our husbands if that should ever be an issue, either.
For Jesus is not going to ask us to sin. Jesus is not going to command us to do what is immoral, wicked, and impure. He is going to command us to do what is good, righteous, morally pure, holy, upright, honest, and godly. So, if we are submitting to our husbands in like manner as to the Lord, we will not submit to doing anything against the will of God.
And I say this, just like I would with regard to submission to governing authorities, for there are many people in positions of authority who abuse their positions of authority, and there are men who abuse their wives, and there are men who use submission as a means to get their wives to do what is immoral and sinful, and that is not right. So always obey the Lord.
Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV
“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.”
Again, this is speaking to Christian husbands. Any man who is married who professes faith in Jesus Christ is to abide by what this says. And it doesn’t say that she has to be loveable or to be the “girl of your dreams.” And this love is “agape” which means to prefer what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, morally pure, godly, upright, faithful, and honest.
So, Christian husband, you are not to cheat on, lie to, trick, manipulate, abuse, take advantage of, and/or commit adultery (includes lust) against your wife. So, don’t be looking at porn and lying to your wife about it and then bring her candy and flowers and tell her how much you love her. That is not love. That is abuse. And don’t try to get her to sin with you.
Husband, you are to give your life up for your wife as Christ gave his life up for us. And the purpose is that you might lead her spiritually, for her good, and that you might demonstrate genuine love and kindness to her, for her wellbeing. You are to lead her and to help her to grow in Christ by example, and by word, and by deed, that she might be holy and pure.
Ephesians 5:28-30 ESV
“In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.”
Husband, you are to love your wife as you love your own body. Hopefully you care about yourself enough to make sure you are fed and clothed and sheltered, if it all possible. If you love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, then you are loving yourself.
For, if you did as these next verses talk about, i.e. if you left the influence and control of your parents, and if you are holding fast to your wife, then you become one flesh with your wife. And so you are to treat your wife as you would your own flesh, provided that you treat yourself well.
Ephesians 5:31-33 ESV
“’Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
Husband, when you marry your wife, you are to leave the authority, influence, and control of your parents. Your parents should never get precedence over your wife. Your wife is always to come first, after God, of course. Your loyalty and devotion, second to God, is to your wife, not to your parents. And don’t talk bad about your wife to your parents, either.
And you are to hold fast to (cling to) your wife. And to “hold fast” means to be glued together, to join oneself closely to another, and to cleave. And to cleave is to cling to, to embrace, to hold on to, to stick like glue. It means to bond with another. And this isn’t just about a sexual union. This is a union of heart and soul and mind and emotion.
When we get married, it is a lifetime commitment to forsake all other lovers or boyfriends or girlfriends and to be faithful to our spouse. It is not dependent on how old we get or if our memory begins to go or if we aren’t as physically fit as we were before. We marry for life, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, to love and to cherish until death us do part.
So, if you hold fast to your wife, and you are bonded to her like glue, not just physically, but spiritually, emotionally, and mentally, too, forsaking all others, you become one flesh with her. And you should work together as one, not as separate people as though you are still single, thinking you can do whatever you want. It doesn’t work that way.
For, notice with me how the Lord compares the marriage relationship to his relationship with his church. And then read all the Scriptures which describe what our relationship with our Lord should look like, and that is the model for a Christian marriage and the relationship between a husband and his wife.
We are to be faithful to our Lord, but if we go off and chase after other lovers, and we do not submit to him as Lord, and we go back to living in sin, living like we are single again, doing what we want to do, regardless of what he wants for us, his word teaches us that we don’t really know him intimately. We aren’t really in a union with him.
So, if a husband is unfaithful to his wife, perhaps even from the very beginning of the marriage, and he never forsook the single life, and he never bonded with his wife in marriage like glue, then how could the two ever become one flesh? Do you know that the Scriptures teach that if you unite yourself with a prostitute (someone with whom you are being sexually immoral) that you are one flesh with her? (1 Co 6:15-20)
He who is joined (bonded) to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. But if you are sexually immoral you not only sin against God, but you sin against your own body which is to be the temple of the Holy Spirit, and which is to be united with your wife and with no other. So you sin against your wife, too. But you are to love your wife as you love yourself, and your wife in turn is to respect (regard, submit to, value) you as her husband.
Songwriter: Andrew Lloyd-Webber
Who takes away the sins of the world
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Give them rest, grant them rest
Dona eis requiem, dona eis requiem
Lamb of God
Who takes away the sins of the world
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Grant them eternal rest
Dona eis requiem