For husbands: this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up His life for her
to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.
He did this to present her to Himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.
In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.
No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. (Eph 5:25-29)
I hope you guys can see from the analysis we have done on this passage so far that there is mutuality in the biblical concept of submission. It is another of those “one another” combos in the Bible. Yes, the wife is singled out to submit but you as a man are also to submit at times. Certainly to submit to the Lord at all times, but also to submit to your wife from ! time to time as well. I asked the question two days ago and repeated it yesterday because it is important to think about. Is it appropriate for your wife to submit to you if you are not submitted to Christ? One could argue “No.” If you are not doing your part then why does she need to submit to you? The one who is under authority has authority. A maverick has no right to expect submission. She has been asked to submit by the Lord and He will hold her accountable for not doing so. It is not your role to make her submit.
Remember the meaning of the middle passive in the case of “hupotasso”, everything and eve ryone in their appointed place and ready to take on their role willingly: self appointed subjection. That is how God has designed it.
Interestingly now, God, through Paul, says “Wives submit; Husbands love.” There is a symbiotic balance embodied in these concepts which we will explore in the next gems. But suffice to say at the moment that God has made your wife (or any woman) to respond to love. God doesn’t have to tell a woman to love, it comes naturally. So he tells men to love and women to submit. Telling a woman to love would be like “telling a duck to get wet”. It will happen whether you say it or not. So he tells the wo! man to submit because he knows how he has created man. He tells a man to love because He knows how He has created a woman. One will spark the other in the opposite sex. Women respond to being loved and men respond to being respected. More on that in a following gem.
Husband, your role is both in actuality – you are to submit to her as part of the one another and then love her as part of your specific command from God. Love her as Christ loved the church: totally, sacrificially. Love in this case is agape, not erotic love (eros), not brotherly affection (phileo) or filial family concern (storgeo) but with Christ’s love. The kind that would cause you to give up your life for her. [Better a living sacrifice than a dead one – viz Rom 12:1] That is a huge task but in God’s power it is possible. It is not at all a selfish kind of love; it’s a giving love. With this as background it is not God’s intention or will that there would be abuse of power in the leadership a man exercises with his wife.
But then just in case there is a reticence to want to do this from a self interest perspective Paul says, inspired by God, if you love her as ! God intends and as she wants, you will be doing yourself a favor. She is made to respond to your loving actions. Husbands, do yourself a favour – love your wife. You can be selfish with Christian approval by loving your wife. Love her as much or more as you love yourself and see what happens. “He who loves his wife actually loves himself.” Wow that is like a blank cheque to spend on yourself.
Now there is a challenge: spend more time loving yourself by loving your wife and watch what happens. Test it out.
The man who does not deeply love his wife cannot deeply love Christ’s church. It starts at home.Rick Warren
We always find time for the things we love. Make today count.Ian Vail
I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no more hurt, but only more love.Mother Teresa
Tania and I would recommend two books: “For Men Only” by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn and “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn [Multnomah: 2006]