Ephesians 5:22-23

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

            We have learned through these devotions in Ephesians (and throughout the Bible) that God has shown us great grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. Because of it we are redeemed people. Therefore, as we were told in Ephesians 4:1, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received”.

          In our last devotion on verse 21 of chapter 5 we were also told that, to live a life that is worthy, we must, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”. This same command is found many times in the Bible. For example, in Matthew 20: 26-28 Jesus tells His disciples that, “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” And also, in 1 Peter 4:10 believers are encouraged to use, “whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms”.

         

          How we serve others will be different from person to person and will often be in agreement with our specific professions. For example, the pastor will serve his congregation in a different way than say, the layperson. The pastor preaches the Word of God, serves communion, baptizes, and provides leadership and vision for the people. In other words, the pastor’s service is specific to his calling, but it is still done in obedience to God’s general command to serve others. In the same way the congregation follows the pastor’s leadership in obedience to the same general command to serve.

 

          As we come to the passage of our devotion then we need to keep this principle in our minds. Husbands and wives are to submit to one another according to the same principle of Christian service. However, the way they serve one another will be different according to their God-given roles.

          Unfortunately, some of the more liberal Christians use verse 21 of chapter 5 which says we should, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” to deny that men should have the principal role of leadership in the Christian home. But here in verses 22-24 we are told that wives serve their husbands by submitting to them. And then in verses 25-33 we learn that husbands serve their wives, not by submitting to them, but by loving them sacrificially just as Christ loves the church.

          Verse 21 therefore, is really speaking about the kind of service that all believers, including husbands, must give to one another in the church. Whereas the wife submits to her husband in a particular kind of way that is required within the marriage covenant. What this means is that, yes, the wife must follow the leading of her husband, but not of every man in this world. Ultimately what that teaches us is that, males are not superior to, or to have absolute authority over every female on the planet.

          We should also know that the husband’s authority over their wives is not to be absolute. Yes, the wife submits to the husband’s directions “as to the Lord” as it tells us in verse 22.  But this only applies as long as the husband does not ask the wife to sin. We are going to look at how this form of wise submission can be applied to other areas and relationships over the next few devotions.

 

Think About: So, what have we learned from this morning’s devotion? God’s Holy, Infallible Word tells us that, within the family, husbands are accountable to the Lord for the ways in which they lead their homes. Also, wives are accountable to God for the way in which they submit to the authority of their husbands. Husbands, therefore, should not be overly concerned with the duties of their wives and wives should not be too concerned with the duties of their husbands. In my experience when wives or husbands focus too much on what the other is doing, that is when they start to nag and criticize each other.

          In the same way, let’s pray that will not be the case with us as we focus on our own work responsibilities. Let us pray that God will remind us to remain focused on our own responsibilities, whether at work or at home, and be faithful to them. In that way we will remain obedient to His commands and please Him with our lives.