Ephesians 5:25

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. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

I pray that God will give us ears to hear His Word this morning.

          In 1 John 1:8-9 it says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”. These verses in 1 John clearly teach us that, even though we have been declared as holy in Christ, all believers will struggle with the presence of sin in their lives until the day we die. This tells us that the demands we receive in the Bible are for imperfect people who sometimes fail to obey God.

          The practical outworking of this is found in the context of the overall passage of Ephesians 5:22-25. We discover that Husbands and wives, or just people in general, do not have the luxury of waiting until the other party fulfils their God-given roles perfectly before we are required to obey God’s commands. In other words, wives must submit to their husbands even when they are not perfectly loving to them in return. And husbands must love their wives even though they do not submit to their husbands perfectly. There is no escape from this God-given requirement for wives whose husbands are in a bad mood or for husbands whose wives are hard to love.

          At the same time however, neither husbands nor wives, should suffer under the unrepentant sin of another just so that they can say they are being obedient. So, for example, wives should not remain in relationships where they or their children are being abused. In actual fact, if we apply verse 22 which says, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord” properly, then a wife who remained in such an ongoing abusive relationship would be disobeying God. According to verse 21, true submission by a wife would include respect. And refusing to confront an abusive husband’s major sin would not be respectful.

          We should not think of a wife submitting to her husband as some type of humiliating obedience that means she endures everything she is commanded no matter how degrading. It also doesn’t mean that she must keep silent when she sees her husband about to make an unwise decision. In verse 25 we find that a good husband acknowledges this and therefore puts the interests of his wife first by loving her self-sacrificially. Husbands do this knowing that no matter how much they give up for their wives it is still no comparison to what Jesus gave up for him.

          An early church Father from the 5th century famously said, “Even if you must offer your own life for her, you must not refuse. Even if you must undergo countless struggles on her behalf and have all kinds of things to endure and suffer, you must not refuse. Even if you suffer all this, you have still done not as much as Christ has for the church(Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament vol. 8, p. 185).

           

            Think About: We would be missing the whole point of this teaching if we only focused upon the marriage relationship between wives and husbands. We can easily apply these same principles to the context of our own lives, even if we are single. For example, employee to employer or older relative to younger. Let us not miss the forest by looking at the individual trees.

          We can find ourselves easily deceived by thinking that we are not required to fulfill our own responsibilities just because someone else is not fulfilling theirs. God calls us to be faithful to what He has given each of us to do, not those given to others. He has gives us relationships with other brothers and sisters within the church to help us love and submit to each other just as we are commanded to love our wives and submit to our husbands. Let us not look for ways that would make the hard commands of the Bible less demanding. Instead, let us resolve to follow Him in the power of the Spirit.