Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:22-32
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife even as Christ is head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” (Ephesians 5:22-24)
Needless to say, this is not a popular view today. The idea of wives being submissive to their husbands seems primitive and sexist to some. Nonetheless, the Scripture is clear on the matter — “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”
The great motive for a wife to be submissive to her husband is that she is doing it unto the Lord. You can see why the wife’s relationship with the Lord is so crucial. She, being filled with the Spirit (v. 18), honors the Lord by being submissive to her husband.
Authority structures are necessary for we live in a sinful, broken world. God established civil government and we are to be submissive to our governing authorities — “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God” (Romans 13:1). God established elders in the church to shepherd and govern the members of the church — “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight” (I Peter 5:2). God set up the authority structure in the home — “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (5:22). “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (6:1).”
Let me be quick to say the idea of submission has been greatly abused by some. In order to clarify, consider these statements. First, submission does not imply that a woman is inferior to a man. The Bible is clear that the woman was created in the image of God in the same way the man was. God clearly says that a husband is to grant honor to his wife as a fellow heir of the grace of life (I Peter 3:7).
Second, submission does not imply that the wife’s views and desires are not important. God intends for husband and wife’s relationship to be interdependent. They are to work together making decisions. Third, submission does not mean submission to injustice and abuse. Fourth, submission does not mean being required to disobey God (Acts 5:29). The wife must always be obedient to the Lord first.
God has placed the husband in the position of leadership and authority in the home. The wife is to respect her husband’s role as head of the family (v. 33). The husband must understand that with authority comes responsibility and accountability. A husband is responsible to lead his wife and family according to God’s instructions. Most importantly, the husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The key is for the husband to pattern his leadership after Christ’s leadership — loving, servant leadership.
Lord Jesus, You are the head of the church. Under Your authority, You have called me to lead my family following Your method of leadership. Enable me to exercise loving, servant leadership to my wife, children, and grandchildren. I know that I am accountable to You to set a godly example before them. I am to lead them according to Your Word. Give me the ability to lead them well.
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