NIV Eph 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”c 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
c Gen 2:24
This part of Ephesians 5 is a challenge because it’s familiar. Countless, is how I’d describe the number of times I’ve read or heard these verses and familiarity tends to become like unconscious editing. So, here’s what we already know about submission:
– Wives: submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.
– Husbands: just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
It’s so easy to massage that truth about submission into something related to behavior that soothes our conscience instead of letting it change our relationship to each other and to the church we love “out of reverence for Christ.” I know about that personally. I also know there is a reality check that challenges me to look at how I am living that truth.
As a wife can you honestly look at your relationship to the Lord and integrate that into your relationship to your husband? Or from the other side of the issue, does your relationship to your husband look like your relationship to Jesus? No one else can write the rules of what your submission should look like but your honest answers to those two questions is the essence of true submission that makes reverence for Christ visible to the world. How’re you doing?
Now husbands, here’s your first question: How does your relationship to your wife give evidence of your love for the church? Or from the other side of that issue does what happens in your personal relationship to your wife bring honor to the church? No one else can guess your answers but their honesty is what makes it possible to honor your bride as well as the Bride of Christ, the church. How’re you doing?