Husbands, Love Your Wives
October 10, 2007
“Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”
1. In Ephesians 5:25 , Paul wrote, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church.”
2. Paul addresses two commands to husbands. First, they must love their wives. The word love here indicates continuous action. It is best understood to express a willing love, not the love of passion or emotion, but the love of choice—a covenant kind of love. It could be translated, “keep on loving.”
3. The love that existed from the start of the marriage is to continue throughout the marriage; it must not give way to bitterness. The willing, covenant love in view here is the activity of self-sacrifice. It is a deep affection that views the wife as a sister in the Lord and the object of a promise to be kept.
4. The love that Paul commands sees the wife as a weaker vessel to be cared for while at the same time a fellow heir to grace (1 Pet. 3:7), a best friend, and life-partner one that is in complete harmony with the husband so “your prayers will not be hindered.”
5. The nature of this love is beautifully expressed in Ephesians 5:22–28:
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the 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. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”
6. God designed that a wife’s submission is to operate within a context of love. In that way she is protected because a man who truly loves his wife would never force her to submit to something humiliating, degrading, or that violates her conscience. The godly husband loves his wife like Christ loves the church.
7. Husbands also must not be harsh or embittered against their wives. The word harsh could be translated, “stop being bitter” or “do not have the habit of being bitter” In its only other uses in the New Testament refers to something bitter in taste.
8. Paul tells husbands not to call their wives “honey,” and then act like they are vinegar. They must not display harshness of temper or resentment toward their wives. They are not to irritate or exasperate them, but rather to provide loving leadership in the home.
9. Paul adds another helpful note when, in 1 Corinthians 7:33–34 , he calls for a mutual concern in marriage. The husband is to seek to find “how he may please his wife” and the wife to pursue “how she may please her husband.” Though there is authority and submission by God’s design, there is also a mutual longing for each partner to please the other. The woman most pleases the man with loving submission, while he pleases her with loving authority.
10. Nowhere does the Bible suggest that submission requires women to be silent in the face of abuse. Abuse requires outside help, mediation and possible separation if it continues. No Christian woman should imagine that resisting abuse violates the Bible’s mandate of submission.
11. In closing let us see three things: One, the Bible says that wives should submit to their husbands is not a suggestion and we need to remember that just because a teaching is not popular is no reason to discard it. According to the Bible, the man is the head of the family, and his wife should acknowledge his leadership. There should not be a constant battle for power in the relationship.
12. Two, our concept of submission must come from the Bible, demonstrated by the church to Christ and as Christ loved the church and submitted to God. (Ephesians 5:24; 1 Corinthians 15:28).
13. Third, When we submit to God, we become more willing to obey his command to submit to others—that is, to subordinate our rights to theirs and see ourselves as less important.
The issue of faith is not so much whether we believe in God, but whether we believe the God we believe in.
- R. C. Sproul
In Christ the heart of the Father is revealed, and higher comfort there cannot be than to rest in the Father’s heart.
- Andrew Murray
GracePointe Baptist Church
2209 N Post Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73141
Phone: (405) 769-5050