October 14, 2013
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
In 42 years of being a pastor, I have counseled a lot of men and women in their relationships with one another. When I mention Ephesians 5:22, almost always, the woman cringes. “That can’t be true, and I will never do that!” Paul writes in that verse, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”
But understanding the context of this verse brings to light its wisdom. And the wisdom contained here will do much to foster a full and happy relationship, especially in marriage. Since the passage of Ephesians 5:21 through 33 is long, I will here reproduce part of it – leaving out verses 26 through 32 – without losing the general meaning of the whole:
…submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of God. Wives, submit to
your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as
also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the savior of the body. There-
fore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own
husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved
the church, and gave Himself for it….Nevertheless let each one of you in
particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects
So the wife is supposed to submit to the husband in everything, right? But that is only half of what is said here. Consider again what husbands are told to do: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.” How do we know that Jesus Christ loved the Church? He “…gave Himself for it.” How did He give Himself for it? He died to establish the Church, and to bless it and grow Christians into God’s full purpose and blessing He has planned for them! (See Ephesians 4:11 through 16).
Now then, husbands – if you are to take this command seriously – are you to be willing to lay down your life for your wife? And if you are willing to give that ultimate sacrifice, then it is no big thing to take out the garbage, is it?! You see, if you are willing to lay down your life for your wife, then everything else you can do for her is a lesser sacrifice!
This is love! It says in I John 3:16 (NIV), “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers [and sisters].” And our closest ‘sister’ in a Christian marriage? It’s our wife! What is the goal of such sacrificial love? “…let us speak the truth in love; so shall we fully grow up into Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15 – New English Bible). In helping your wife to grow up into Christ, that is to become more and more like Jesus, you will yourself be formed more and more into His image.
If a husband is willing to lay down his life before his mate, but she does not submit to him – she will walk all over him! But if the wife submits to her husband, and he is not willing to lay down his life for her – she will walk all over him! So submission by the wife, and the husband loving his wife as Christ loved the Church – both of them will be lifted up in their relationship, and both of them will grow as Christians! This is summed up in the first verse of our scripture, Ephesians 5:21: “…submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of God.”
If you want to bless your marriage, and if you want to become more and more like Jesus, follow what Paul writes in Ephesians 5:21 through 33. You will be amazed at the results!