June 11, 2011
LOVE YOUR WIVES
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The family holds a special place in the heart of God. He ordained marriage, after creating man and woman. He commanded the couple to be fruitful and multiply. He set the male as the spiritual head of the family, and commanded both husband and wife to submit to Christ. As we now take a look at the Scripture concerning husbands, we learn something that may surprise many husbands. Husbands, not the wives, should be models of love.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
Love Your Wives. God commanded husbands to love (“ἀγαπᾶτε“) their wives. Please recall that only born-again believers can love with God’s love, agape love, because only people born of God can be channels of God’s love (1 John 4:7). Many people talk about a mother’s love for her children. We all applaud such human love. Many spiritual mothers, born again by faith in Christ Jesus, also receive praise, as well they should. But the Word of God puts a special emphasis upon husbands loving their wives. Husbands can only love their wives through the power of God’s love flowing through them. Every daughter and every son should learn to love by watching their father love their mother. The human father’s love should fully embody the heavenly Father’s love for the wife. The love of Christ for His church illustrates the divine love that the husband must have for his wife.
As Christ Loved the Church. We see that Christ loving His church sets the perfect and timeless example of the husband’s love for the wife today. Paul describes the love of Christ as Christ gave Himself up for the church. This phrase “gave up” (“παρέδωκεν“) renders just one word in the original text. The word means to deliver, or hand over. In this case, we find it well described in Romans 8:32, where we read that God did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over (“gave up”, “παρέδωκεν”) for us all. God planned the death of Jesus. He sacrificed the life of His unique Son, so that we might be born again to eternal life. This exact model of living means that husbands must “give themselves up” to their wives. You sacrifice your life for the loving benefit of your wife. No wonder she wants to submit to you when you sacrifice your entire life for her. As a husband, you demonstrate that love means you have determined with complete commitment to sacrifice your life for your wife. Because you made that commitment in the past, you now live every day bearing the fruit of that past commitment to live sacrificially for your wife. Your love, however, built upon sacrifice, has a great effect in the life of your wife. Just as the wife submits to her husband, and wins the husband who is disobedient to the Word of God by her chaste and respectful behavior, so also the husband produces, by his loving behavior, spiritual holiness in the life of his wife.
so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
Sanctify Her. Jesus now draws the first of several intertwined conclusions about the husband’s love for his wife. The supernatural love of the husband produces a specific effect in the wife. That effect is that Christ sanctifies the wife through the love of the husband. Sanctify means to make holy, to set aside for God’s own use. We see marriages fail all around us today, and we worry for our children as they contemplate marriage. We see Christian couples having trouble with their marriages. What should we do? We should turn to Christ, take His yoke upon us, and learn from Him (Matthew 11:28-30). In Christ we learn as husbands to love our wives. As a husband, you have a duty to sacrifice your life to your wife, so that your love for her will produce holiness in her life. If you complain about your wife, go straight to the bathroom and look in the mirror. You may see there the root of the problem. You do not love her enough to produce holiness in her. You are still holding back. Of course, sin in each of us makes each of us responsible for our own behavior. So, when wives act badly, they cannot blame anyone but themselves. Husbands, however, like wives, have specific duties to their wives regarding holiness. Husbands love their wives so that Christ will produce more holiness, and less sin, in their wives. You want a more holy wife, more submissive to you and more like Christ, then love her more in Christ. She will blossom before you through the power of Christ working in your marriage. Loving her means that you read the Bible with her, pray with her, and establish a family time when you rise up, when you lay down, when you go in the way, where you teach your entire family what it means to love someone like Christ loves each one of us and gave Himself for us.
Having Cleansed Her. Paul expands the concept of sanctification here to focus upon cleansing. The terms “having cleansed” (“καθαρίσας“) translates just one word in the original text, and that term carries great importance for wives. Christ cleansed the church by His single act of sacrificing Himself on the cross. He took all the stains of sin and completely removed them forever from the church. He did not die in vain, but with purpose fully achieved. Christ cleansed the church, and now He loves the church. We must grasp what Paul teaches us here about husbands and wives. Every wife in Christ has already been cleansed by the washing, literally “in word” (“ἐν ῥήματι“). Based on this context, this “in word” probably refers to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:14). The Gospel of Jesus Christ not just changes a wife, it creates a new wife in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul harkens back to the spiritual and theological significance of what Christ has already done for every believer through His sacrificial act of redemption as the model for Godly living in marriage. As husbands, we love our wives in Christ and sacrifice our lives for them knowing what Christ has already done for the wife. We treat our wife like He treats the church, and we keep in mind what Christ has already done for our wives. He has sanctified them, washing them in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Tomorrow, we will see more of the results of the work of Christ in the marriage of believers.
So we learn more about spiritual husbands today and their role in daily devotions.
● Being a husband in Christ means that you love to realize that Christ has sanctified your wife and cleansed her by His Word. You now live with His spiritual creature.
● Being a husband in Christ means that you set the example of love, building upon the sanctifying work of God in both your life and the life of your wife.
● Being a husband in Christ means that you live before the Lord Jesus Christ, following the commitment you made to Him to sacrifice your life to Him for His service. You live and love according to the power from Him that works within our marriages.
Application for Today
Today I want to love my wife, just like Christ loves the church and gave Himself for it. I will be looking at my wife today through the eyes and with the heart of Jesus Christ. I will feel the Holy Spirit of God reminding me of His great love for my me and my wife. As God empowers me, I will love her more and do the things God wants me to do for her today. Will you love your wife today? Will you encourage your husband to love you today? Will you encourage your father or your son to love his wife today? Will we act like the family of God today?