Thursday, November 05, 2020

2020.11.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 5:22–24

Read Ephesians 5:22–24

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom does the apostle first address (Ephesians 5:22a) about living the spirit-filled life (cf. Ephesians 5:18)? What does the apostle tell them to do? To whom? As unto Whom? What relation does Ephesians 5:23 say the husband has to the wife? In the same way as Whom else to whom else? What else has Christ done for the church? What does verse 23 call the church? What relationship of the church to Christ does Ephesians 5:24 mention? Who else has that relationship to Whom? 

We want to live the Spirit-filled life (Ephesians 5:18). We want to walk as light that have been transformed from being darkness (Ephesians 5:8). We want to wage powerfully the spiritual war (Ephesians 6:10–13). In what arena are such lofty aspirations to be pursued? 

In everyday marriage (Ephesians 5:22–33), parenting (Ephesians 6:1-4), and work (Ephesians 6:5-9).

In the epistle, as often in life, it starts with a godly, cheerful, diligent wife. And the Scripture here summarizes those things in one word: submission. The whole of the wife’s relation to her husband is summarized up front as submission.

Now, that’s counter-cultural. And not just in post-feminism America. That fleshly desire to control the husband like sin desired to control Cain (cp. Genesis 3:16b with Genesis 4:7b) was the first named consequence of the fall into sin and misery.

But do you know what else is counter-cultural? Submitting to the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 5:22b). By the end of verse 22, the apostle has demolished contemporary attempts to interpret away genuine submission from the marriage relationship. “As to the Lord.” It must mean obedience (cf. Titus 2:5), and yielding to instruction and direction, for attempts to remove this will undo these things from submission to the Lord. 

Thankfully, the wife’s submission is not a bare submission to the husband, but rather a part of the whole of her submission to the Lord Jesus. And, He will save her—in many cases, even from the misery of marriage to an ungodly man (Ephesians 5:23, cf. 1 Peter 3:1–6). The submission of the Christian wife isn’t merely her being “a good wife” unto her husband; it is her being “a godly woman” unto her Lord Jesus. 

Therefore, this submission needs to be cheerful. Not merely the gritting of the teeth to do things the right way because she feels that she must. But the joyous response to her Redeemer, her Savior. “He is the Savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:23), and a Christian woman loves Him because He has first loved her (1 John 4:19). It is out of this love for Him that she keeps His commandments and doesn’t find them burdensome (1 John 5:3). “Just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands.” That “just as” presents the great struggle of the Christian wife’s submission: that though her sin feels like a burden to her, the submission itself would be not a burden but a joy. 

Godly submission. Cheerful submission. Finally, diligent submission. Ephesians 5:24 ends with, “in everything.” One of the hardest things about being a Christian wife is that once she is married, she is one-flesh with her husband until death parts them. In every moment of the rest of their lives, she must act as his wife. It is similar to how, when someone is a Christian, there are no moments off. There are no situations in which he is just a regular person or his own person. In everything, now, he is someone who belongs to Christ. Diligent submission. Wives are (not “let,” as the NKJV inserts) subject to their husbands in everything.

In no area is there more obvious need for the light of Christ, for the filling of the Spirit, for the power of God to equip the Christian in spiritual war, than in the Christian wife’s submission to her husband. 

Who/what tells you differently about marriage than Scripture? How can a girl/lady prepare and equip her mind and heart to follow such a design? What will turn this into a joy for her instead of a burden?

Suggested songs: ARP45B “Daughter, Incline Your Ear” or TPH45A “My Heart Is Greatly Stirred”

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