Here we arrive at a Scripture that elicits a great cultural divide. But remember, this is in the context of walking in love:
“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” (Eph 5:22-24).
Four things pop out immediately about Jesus and his church, concerning which there should be no question:
- Jesus is the head of the church.
- The church is literally the body of Jesus.
- Jesus is the Savior of the church.
- The church submits to Jesus.
Therefore, how can a wife be commanded to submit to her husband other than through the entire Word of God?
This is a wonderful picture of behaviors of perfect unity with God!
“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” (Eph 5:25-27).
So what example did Jesus set?
- Loved the church.
- Gave himself up for her.
- Sanctified her through baptism and the Word of God.
- Presented her to himself in splendor, without spot or blemish.
“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 it and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ‘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” (Eph 5:28-33; Gen 2:24).
From the very beginning of the creation story in Genesis, the profound mystery of marriage has been in the context of walking in love, in the same way Jesus loves the church, nourishing and cherishing each other.
In perfect unity with Jesus and with each other, then, marriage does not reach, beyond how Jesus loves the church, into domination and abuse and disunity from Jesus.
Take some time to pray about your marriage today. Are we truly walking in love as Jesus would have us walk?