June 10, 2011
SUBMITTING TO YOUR HUSBAND
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We have been reading about the practice of spiritual living in the family. As we study various passages in the Bible concerning family devotions, we understand that the Word of God provides clear teaching that believers must follow within the family. Gathering to pray and read the Bible together will always be a great goal for every family, but we each learn from following the examples of people we love and respect. Behavior still counts. Today, we will have a look at the role of wives in submitting to their husbands. In contrast to the 1 Peter 3:1-6 passage related to dealing with the winning of husbands disobedient to the Word of God, we see in Ephesians 5:22-24 the quality of submission that Jesus values in every wife.
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
As to the Lord. In the original text, the words “be subject” do not appear in Ephesians 5:22. You may notice in your Bible that they appear in italics, which means the translators added these words to make the meaning clear. At times, I would prefer the translators do not add words. In this case, the original thought certainly comes in the context of how we all subject (“ὑποτασσόμενοι“) ourselves to one another in the church (Ephesians 5:21). Paul explains how we subject ourselves to one another in several different ways. He divides his message into wives, husbands, fathers, children, slaves and masters. Submission comes in different forms for different people. Submission controls and defines the relationships in marriage, parenting, and masters with servants. We will look closely at wives today. In Ephesians 5:22, Paul literally says: “Women to their own husbands as to the Lord.” This phrase means wives should be to their own husbands as they are to Christ. We must always keep in mind, no matter who we are, that we follow Christ, and learn from Him how to act in all things. Therefore, wives learn how to act toward their husbands from Christ. He must be the Lord of the wives who seek to interact with their own husbands as they interact with Christ.
For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.
The Husband as Head of the Wife. We have seen previously that God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of man, and man is the head of the woman (1 Corinthians 11:3). Christ never became less than God, and so when a woman recognizes that the husband is the head of the wife, she means nothing more, or less, than her husband stands before her just like her husband stands before Christ. Christ will be the head of all things. Remember the standard set in Ephesians 5:22 is that the wife will be to her own husband as she is to Christ. Therefore, when we read the next verse, we are not surprised to learn that the man is the head of the woman. Paul illustrates this point with the relationship of Christ to the church. Christ is the head of the church. Paul means that Christ leads and loves the church. Paul points to the role of Savior which Christ fulfilled. He saved the church, which Paul likens to the body of Christ. The head in the body makes decisions, but it remains totally united as one with the body. The husband makes the final decisions, which he gets from Christ. He then passes on those decisions to the wife. Together they live in Christ, as part of the body of Christ. The concept of headship leads directly into the concept of submission.
But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
The Example of the Church Submitting to Christ. For every “modern” woman who finds it unacceptable to submit to anyone except Christ, she should realize that she does not submit to Christ unless she submits to her husband like the church submits to Christ. In other words, if any wife claims to be submissive to Christ, she should do what Christ said. In Ephesians 5:24, Paul teaches us that each wife must submit to her husband like the church submits to Christ. That standard means we all look to Christ as the Head, Leader and Teacher in the church. In the same way, the wife looks through her husband to Christ for leadership in all ways.
So we learn more about spiritual wives today and their role in daily devotions.
● Being a wife in Christ means that you act towards your husband in the same way you act towards Christ. You do not worship your husband, but rather your submit yourself to him, as part of your general submission to Christ.
● Being a wife in Christ means that you will acknowledge that your husband is your head, just as God is the head of Christ, and Christ is the head of man. Christ remains God, but willingly and voluntarily submits Himself to God’s will.
● Being a wife in Christ means that you live before your husband just like the church submits itself to Christ in all things, and looks to Christ for leadership, love and unity.
Application for Today
Today I want to remember that my wife has a spiritual obligation to submit to me. Therefore, as her husband, I want to be just like Christ to her. So, I must submit to Christ, and together we must submit to Christ. This chain of submission must govern both my life today, and my wife’s life today. Will you submit to Christ today, and submit to your husband today? As a husband, will you submit to Christ today, so that you fulfill your duty to live in submission to Christ? For all of us in Christ, will we live before the Savior of the Body of Christ (the church) in submission to His will today?