“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church,
and gave himself up for her,”
I want to spend some time on this well-known section of scripture, but first I want to point out a verse:
Ephesians 5:28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
What I want to focus on that verse is these four words, “In the same way…”
In the same way…what? Jesus gave himself up for her. Jesus died for the church. His bride was more important than his own life.
The immediate thought that comes to my mind is standing between my wife and imminent danger, you know, like protecting her from a charging lion or an armed robber. I guess, in a sense, that’s what Jesus did, he sacrificed himself so that his bride might escape the eternal lake of fire.
Jesus did (and is doing) much more than that. He is preparing his bride for heaven. Whatever that is, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing, too. It’s my mandate. It’s my responsibility, one that I freely chose. Do I fully understand this? Let’s see what it is that Jesus is doing.
v. 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word
Let’s stop there. Jesus is sanctifying his bride. He cleansed her. How? By the washing of water. Here’s the key: with the word. The Word of God.
v. 27 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.
Does that mean it is my responsibility (privilege?) to point out my wife’s faults so she can fix them. Think again, buckaroo. That’s not how Jesus sanctifies the church. Listen, Jesus will use a bit and bridle, if necessary, but only with stubborn believers. Far better is it to allow him (Jesus) to supernaturally change us through the transformation of our minds. How? Through scripture.
There isn’t a kinder, gentler teacher than Jesus and none more loving. That is what husbands are to be like. Now, to be sure, we aren’t replacing Jesus in any of this sanctification business. Jesus is the one who is preparing his bride (that’s all born-again Christians, whether married or not) for heaven – in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
What a beautiful picture that is!
My mandate is to lead my wife in this process (sanctification) so that she might be presented to Jesus as his bride, in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. This has nothing to do with outward beauty, although it would include treating her body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. This is all spiritual in nature.
Now, in order for me to do this, I must “give myself up for her” (v. 25). That means she is of more importance than me. I am the Lord’s servant for her benefit. If I’m going to lead her in this process, I must know how to lead her. This means I need to be active and pro-active in my own spiritual life. This isn’t just for me anymore; it’s also for my wife.
I don’t know about you, but this suddenly takes on a whole new perspective. It’s my duty but also my honor and privilege.
Father, as you know, if this is to be done, it will only be through you and for your glory. Keep my priorities straight so that I might not venture into pride or resentment or laziness. Keep me focused on my task for when I am right with that, my job will be joy-filled. It’s interesting how things work that way. Amen.
Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers