Welcome to the Im4God.org
/ Songbook.ManuelAdam.com September 22nd, 2006 Newsletter!
You can email Webservant Peter J. Louie by replying to this message.
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The current confusion over marriage and the family has shocking
negative consequences. Among these are skyrocketing divorce
rates, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, and gender-role
confusion. But God would not leave His children in a confused
state. His divine power has granted to us all things that
pertain to life and godliness, so that we might live for his glory and
excellence. Whether you be single or married, we hope this issue
will strengthen your understanding of the importance of marriage and
the family in God's kingdom building.
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Ephesians 5:22-33 - Wives and Husbands
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, 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. For no one ever hated his own
flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body. "Therefore a man shall leave his
father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become
one flesh." This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers
to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife
as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
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Our entertainment-saturated society helps feed all sorts of
illusions about reality. The fantasy of the perfect romantic and
sexual relationship, the perfect lifestyle, and the perfect body all
prove unattainable because the reality never lives up to the
The worst fallout comes in the marriage relationship. When two
people can't live up to each other's expectations, they'll look for
their fantasized satisfaction in the next relationship, the next
experience, the next excitement. But that path leads only to
self-destruction and emptiness.
Marriage is the capstone of the family, the building block of human
civilization. A society that does not honor and protect marriage
undermines its very existence. Why? Because one of God's designs for
marriage is to show the next generation how a husband and wife
demonstrate reciprocal, sacrificial love toward each other.
But when husbands and wives forsake that love, their marriage fails
to be what God intended. When marriage fails, the whole family falls
apart; when the family fails, the whole society suffers. And stories
of societal suffering fill the headlines every day.
Now, more than ever before, is the time for Christians to declare
and put on display what the Bible declares: God's standard for
marriage and the family is the only standard that can produce
meaning, happiness, and fulfillment.
Divine Directives for Wives
One of the most explicit passages of Scripture that outlines God's
standard for marriage is Ephesians 5:22-33. Wives often bear the brunt
of that section, but the majority of the passage deals with the
husband's attitude toward and responsibilities for his wife.
Nonetheless, here's the wife's responsibility before the Lord:
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 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. But as the church
is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their
husbands in everything (vv. 22-24).
Submission in no way implies a difference in essence or worth; it
does refer, however, to a willing submission of oneself. Wives,
submission is to be your voluntary response to God's will-it's a
willingness to give up your rights to other believers in general and
ordained authority in particular, in this case your own husband.
Husbands aren't to treat their wives like slaves, barking commands
at them; they are to treat their wives as equals, assuming their
God-given responsibility of caring, protecting, and providing for
Likewise wives fulfill their God-given responsibility when they
submit willingly to their own husbands. That reflects not only
the depth of intimacy and vitality in their relationship, but also the
sense of ownership a wife has for her husband.
Keep in mind that the wife's submission requires intelligent
participation: "Mere listless, thoughtless subjection is not desirable
if ever possible. The quick wit, the clear moral discernment, the fine
instincts of a wife make of her a counselor whose influence is
invaluable and almost unbounded" (Charles R. Erdman, The Epistles of
Paul to the Colossians and to Philemon [Philadelphia: Westminster,
Elisabeth Elliot, writing on "The Essence of Femininity," offers a
fitting summary of God's ideal for wives:
Unlike Eve, whose response to God was calculating and
self-serving, the virgin Mary's answer holds no hesitation about
risks or losses or the interruption of her own plans. It is an utter
and unconditional self-giving: "I am the Lord's servant … May it be
to me as you have said" (Luke 1:38). This is what I understand to be
the essence of femininity. It means surrender.
Think of a bride. She surrenders her independence, her name, her
destiny, her will, herself to the bridegroom in marriage … The
gentle and quiet spirit of which Peter speaks, calling it "of great
worth in God's sight" (1 Peter 3:4), is the true femininity, which
found its epitome in Mary (John Piper, Recovering Biblical
Manhood and Womanhood [Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 1991], 398, 532,
Divine Directives for Husbands After giving the divine
guidelines for the wife's submission, Paul devotes the next nine
verses of Ephesians 5 to explain the husband's duty to submit to his
wife through his love for her: "Husbands, love your wives, just as
Christ also loved the church" (v. 25). The Lord's pattern of love for
His church is the husband's pattern of love for his wife, and it is
manifest in four ways.
Sacrificial Love Christ loved the church by giving
"Himself up for her." The husband who loves his wife as Christ loves
His church will give up everything he has for his wife, including his
life if necessary.
Most of you husbands would give verbal assent to that-literally
dying for your wife is such a remote possibility for most of you. But
I would speculate that it is much more difficult to make lesser, but
actual sacrifices for her.
Husbands, when you put aside your own likes, desires, opinions,
preferences, and welfare to please your wife and meet her needs, then
you are truly dying to self to live for your wife. And that is what
Christ's love demands.
Purifying Love Christ loved the church sacrificially
with this goal in mind:
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 should be holy and blameless (vv. 26-27).
Love wants only the best for the one it loves, and it cannot bear
for a loved one to be corrupted or misled by anything evil or harmful.
If you really love your wife, you'll do everything in your power to
maintain her holiness, virtue, and purity every day you live.
That obviously means doing nothing to defile her. Don't expose her
to or let her indulge in anything that would bring impurity into her
life. Don't tempt her to sin by, say, inducing an argument out of her
on a subject you know is sensitive to her. Love always seeks to
Caring Love Another aspect of divine love is this:
Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his
own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does
the church (vv. 28-29).
The word translated "cherishes" literally means "to warm with body
heat"-it is used to describe a bird sitting on her nest (e.g., Deut.
22:6). Husbands, you are to provide a secure, warm, safe haven for
When your wife needs strength, give her strength. When she needs
encouragement, give it to her. Whatever she needs, you are obligated
to supply as best you can. God chose you to provide for and protect
her, to nourish and cherish her, and to do so "as Christ also does the
Unbreakable Love For a husband to love his wife as
Christ loves His church he must love her with an unbreakable love. In
this direct quotation from Genesis 2:24, Paul emphasizes the
permanence as well as the unity of marriage: "For this cause a man
shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and
the two shall become one flesh" (v. 31). And God's standard for
marriage still hasn't changed.
Husbands, your union with your wife is permanent. When you got
married, you had to leave, cleave, and become one with your wife-never
go back on that. Let your wife rest in the security of knowing that
you belong to her, for life.
Just as the body of Christ is indivisible, God's ideal for marriage
is that it be indivisible. As Christ is one with His church, you
husbands are one with your wives.
Paul goes on to say, "This mystery is great; but I am speaking with
reference to Christ and the church" (v. 32). Why is submission as well
as sacrificial, purifying, and caring love so strongly emphasized in
Scripture? Because the sacredness of the church is wed to the
sacredness of marriage.
Christian, your marriage is a testimony to the relationship between
Christ and His bride, the church. Your marriage will either tell the
truth about that relationship, or it will tell a lie.
What is your marriage saying to the watching world? If you'll walk
in the power of the Spirit, yield to His Word, and be mutually
submissive, you can know that God will bless you abundantly and
glorify His Son through your marriage.
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