Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she would be holy and blameless.
So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. (Ephesians 5:25-28)
A clear principle is given in verse 25: The husband’s responsibility is to love his wife. It doesn’t say rule her. He already has that tendency — a tendency to dominate her, to control her, to command her. The curse does that. He is told here that he is to love her.
She is to submit to him, and he is to express love to her. It is the leadership of care. Yes, he is the head of the woman as God is the head of Christ and Christ is the head of the man, as 1 Corinthians 11 says. He is over her. He is the stronger vessel, as Peter says. It is his responsibility to give direction, provision, and leadership. But it is always in a context of love.
And this is the love of self-sacrifice. You are to love your wives just as Christ also loves the church and gave Himself up for her. That is the manner of love, the same kind of love that Christ extended to His church.
I have often heard people say about their wife, “I love her too much.” I promptly reply, “Do you love her as much as Christ loved the church? If you don’t, then you don’t love her enough.” That’s the standard.
This elevation and commitment to a wife was frankly revolutionary in the Roman world, as it is revolutionary in our world today. It’s revolutionary today where you have an agenda in which a man basically says, “As long as you fulfill what I want out of life, you can be my wife. And when you cease to do that, I’ll get somebody else.” That’s how it works today. What God said through Paul was shocking then and it is shocking now.
Look at what Peter says:
You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. (1 Peter 2:7)
What a great statement. Live with your wives in an understanding way. This is opposite the cavemen mentality, the macho mentality, the independent mentality, the self-serving mentality. This is sensitivity, meeting her needs, understanding her feelings and desires.
Understand her heart, because you cannot express your love to her unless it is sacrificing love that meets her needs. You have to know what those needs are.
Then he says to live with her not only in an understanding way, but as with a weaker vessel. What does that mean? It simply means you are unequal physically. She is weaker. You don’t say to her, “After you’ve changed the tire I’ll be glad to take you to the store.” You understand that there is a physical weakness in women. God has so designed her to be under the strength and protection of a man. She needs our strength.
Thirdly, treat her with honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life. Men and women are unequal physically, but they are equal spiritually. Treat her as a spiritual equal.
Peter gives us some straightforward things, gentlemen, to help us be the husbands God wants us to be. We must understand our wives. We must provide them with our strength. And we must treat them with communion as equals, spiritually.
We are to love our wives. That is a command. You cannot say, “Well, I don’t love her anymore,” without confessing that you’ve sinned.
You say, “Well, wait a minute, you don’t know how she’s treated me.” That’s not the issue. Christ loved sinners when they hated Him. Is that not true? And that’s the model.
Let’s go back to Ephesians. In verse 25 it says, “Just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”
Can I say it simply, gentlemen? The Spirit-filled husband loves his wife not for what she can do for him, but what he can do for her. That’s how Christ’s love worked and works. He loves us not because there’s something in us that attracts Him; He loves us because He determined to love us in spite of our unattractiveness. He loves us with a love that seeks not to tyrannize us, but that seeks rather to meet our needs, to understand us, and to provide strength for us.
I suppose if there’s any one way to characterize this love, it would be to say it means death to self. Swallow your pride, swallow your personal desires, swallow your personal ambitions, and swallow your fantasies and dreams about how life might have been with someone else. Put all of that aside. It is all meaningless. It only boils down to temptation. And then love your wives with a love that knows nothing of self and only of her, her needs, her concerns, and her heart, and sacrifice your life on her behalf.
This is the kind of love that the Spirit of God gives us the capacity to carry and to share. The love of Christ is shed abroad in our hearts. The very love which Christ Himself demonstrated toward us, we partake in.
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a love of the brothers without hypocrisy, fervently love one another from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22)
We who have been born again have a sincere love, a fervent love, because of the imperishable seed of the living and abiding Word of God which has granted us new life. God so loved us that He gave His Son. Christ so loved us that He gave His life. We love our wives to the point of self-sacrifice.
This post is based on a sermon Dr. MacArthur preached in 1996, titled “God’s Pattern for Husbands, Part 1.” In addition to serving as the pastor of Grace Community Church and the voice of Grace to You, Dr. MacArthur is the chancellor of The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, Calif. You can learn more about TMU at www.masters.edu.
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-analytics||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Analytics".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-functional||11 months||The cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Functional".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-necessary||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookies is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-others||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Other.|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-performance||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Performance".|