Thursday, June 01, 2023

2023.06.01 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 5:25–33

Read Ephesians 5:25–33

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom does the apostle address in Ephesians 5:25? What does he tell them to do? To whom? Like Whom? To whom? In doing what? Unto what purpose did Christ give Himself for the church (Ephesians 5:26)? By what does He sanctify and “cleanse her with the washing of water”? For what does she need this cleansing (Ephesians 5:27a)? From what does she need this cleansing (verse 27b)? Which wives should husbands love (Ephesians 5:28)? As what to him is she to be loved? What does a man do who loves his wife? What does Ephesians 5:29 say “no one ever hated”? What does a man ordinarily do with his own flesh? Who else does this with whom? What does Ephesians 5:30 call believers? What specifics does verse 30 add to “His body” (cf. Genesis 2:23)? What does Ephesians 5:31 quote in this context of talking about Christ and the church (cf. Mark 10:1–12; 1 Corinthians 6:12–20)? What does Ephesians 5:32 call it? What does the apostle say the mystery is about? To what does he now return to applying this mystery (Ephesians 5:33a)? Whom does verse 33b say the wife should reverence? 

How should husbands love their wife? Ephesians 5:25–33 looks forward to part of the sermon in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these nine verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that husbands must love their wives by seeking above all that their wife would have Christ.

How did Christ love the church? That’s a vital question to see answered, if we are going to understand what husbands are being commanded to do in Ephesians 5:25.

Christ loved the church by giving Himself. He did many things for the church. He gave many things to the church. But the greatest thing He gave for her is Himself. Let husbands remember this. They ought to be willing to do anything for their wives and give anything good to their wives. But let them be sure to give their own self for them.

Christ loved the church with a view toward her eternal good. He wants her to be glorified. He wants her to be presented to Him perfectly enabled to enjoy Him. Therefore, His love drives her sanctification. The Word is pictured in Ephesians 5:26 as cleansing water, and He patiently, persistently cleanses His bride unto her eternal, perfect enjoyment of Him.

There is not, here, a perfect parallel. The earthly husband is not the greatest good for his wife. Christ is that greatest good. A husband is tempted to aim at being his wife’s great pleasure, and a wife may mistakenly desire the same. But the godly husband will aim at her finding Christ as her pleasure and aim. 

Such a husband will devote himself to his wife’s being enabled to attend upon the means of grace in private, family, and public worship. He will be careful of her doctrine, speak to her heart in instruction or correction, directing her always to her Lord Jesus Christ. Their life together will be one that is saturated with that Word by which Jesus bathes His wife as He prepares her for glory. 

Is Jesus giving His bride the continual beauty treatments of the Word of God? Let a Christian husband lovingly apply the beauty treatment of the Word to his own wife in all their comings and goings—and especially in the God-given rhythm of when they lie down in the evening, and when they rise in the morning.

Christ loved the church as being His own flesh and bones. The mystery of why the woman was created from the man’s rib is finally solved in Ephesians 5:28-30: in order to look forward to the incarnation and to vital union with Christ. “Of His flesh and of His bones” is an amazing thing for Ephesians 5:30 to say, just as “the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” is an amazing thing for Acts 20:28 to say. God has blood? The Lord has flesh and bones? Yes, in order that He might marry the church to Himself as His cherished, nourished bride.

How sharply a man ought to sting from his wife’s pain, enjoy her pleasure, ache with her hunger, be laid low by her illness. How opposite this is to the unfeelingness at some times, and even rivalry at others, that men have toward their wives! Such is not reflective of Christ’s treasuring the church as His own flesh and bone.

Yes, the wife ought to reverence (the word “respect” in Ephesians 5:33 is the word for “fear”) her husband. And, we dealt with this submission and obedience in Ephesians 5:22-24. But, it will be that much easier for her to do so if each particular husband (no exceptions! Ephesians 5:32) loves his own wife as himself.

How can a boy discipline himself in selflessness and eternal-mindedness, to prepare to be the kind of husband described here? What are some obvious applications of this passage that are too rare in how husbands love their wives these days?

Sample prayer:  Father, we thank You for glorifying Yourself in the Son by redeeming a church by Him to be His bride. And we thank You for the dignity that this brings to our marriages. Forgive us for how little we value Christ’s bathing us for glory by His Word. And forgive us for how poorly we imitate this in our marriages, when the days are not begun and ended in prayer and the Word together. So, for the sake of Christ’s shed blood, forgive us our sins, and grant that Your Spirit would cleanse us from all unrighteousness, we ask in Christ’s Name, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP128 “How Blessed Are All Who Fear the Lord” or TPH548 “Oh, Blest the House” 

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