Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:22-33
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)
Marriage is a picture of the gospel. Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church is His bride. The great calling of a husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. While it is true that the husband is the head of the wife (v. 23), his primary responsibility is to love her as Christ loved the church. Thus, his leadership is to be a loving leadership that follows the example of Christ’s leadership — a servant leadership. Jesus was a King, but he became a servant (Mark 10:45).
Let’s look at Christ’s love for His church. First, His love for His church is a sacrificial love. Christ gave Himself up for the church. He made the ultimate sacrifice for her. While a husband cannot be an atoning sacrifice for his wife, he can give himself up for his wife. He can sacrifice his owns desires and yield his rights. He can put her interests before his own. He can think more highly of her than he thinks of himself.
Second, Christ’s love for His church is unconditional. Christ loves His church in spite of her weaknesses, failures and flaws. There are no “ifs” to Christ’s love. He simply loves His church with no strings attached. A husband is to pattern his love for his wife after Christ’s unconditional love for His church. This can be very difficult at times. We often want to put strings on our love — “I love you if…” or “I love you when…” However, a husband is to love his wife no matter what.
Third, Christ’s love for His church is unending. Nothing can keep Christ from loving His church. He love His church with an everlasting love. When a couple makes their vows, they commit themselves to one another until death parts them — “as long as we both shall live.” Love is for a lifetime. It is the kind of love that is described in I Corinthians 13.
A husband is to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife — “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife and the two shall become one flesh” (v. 31). The husband is to become one with his wife. He is to put her first above all other relationships. His first concern must be for the unity of the marriage because this is God’s great design for marriage — oneness.
When a husband patterns his love for his wife after Christ’s love for His church, he will cherish and nourish her in the way that Christ cherishes and nourishes the church (v. 29). His wife will be his most precious gift from God next to his salvation. When this happens, marriage will be honored and God will be glorified.
Lord Jesus, it is a tall order for me to love my wife as You love the church. I know that I am selfish and self-centered. I know my sinful nature. Enable to me continually reorder my priorities so that I can demonstrate the priority of my love for my wife. May I love her sacrificially, unconditionally and for a lifetime. Enable me to overcome any obstacles that hinder unity in our marriage. I can only do these things in Your power.
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