Sunday, February 13, 2011

Christo-centric Marriage - Part 3

Lastly, let’s look at God’s model for the roles in the marriage.

Ephesians 5:1-2 – Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Ephesians 5:22-33 -  Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  23 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.  24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.  25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,  26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  27 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.  28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;  29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,  30 because we are members of His body.  31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.  33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

Wives, you are to submit to your husband.  This doesn’t mean he is a slave driver to you.  It means that you submit to his leadership of the family so long as he isn’t leading your family to do anything that goes against the word of the Lord.  I understand that in our feminist society this is not an altogether popular idea, but it is the Godly model nonetheless.  Your submission to your husband is to model your submission to the Lordship of Christ in your life.  Think on that and read Matthew 6:33.

Husbands, love your wives.  Love them… how?  Just as Christ loved the church and GAVE Himself up for her.  That’s a lofty commitment that is called for from men.  Love the wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.  He died for the salvation of the church, not just a local body of believers obviously but all those who are truly born again, they constitute the true church of God.  The word 'love' there in Ephesians 5:25 there, in Greek, ‘agapao’ (ag-ap-ah-o).  It doesn’t imply perfect love as only God can show, rather it implies a higher love than merely a romantic infatuation type of love.  This is not a casual love that we are called to.  This is an intense love that compared to the world is radical and crazy and absolutely unheard of.  It is a love that is committed regardless of any other factor.  Practically speaking, our love for our spouse should be such that we seek to model that type of devotion towards the brethren.  Men, we are to commit to love our wives period.  Scripture gives no allowance for withholding or reducing that love because they don't do something the way we want.

Then Paul goes on to say that He [Jesus] gave Himself so that He might present the church in all her glory… spotless… blameless… holy… We are to love them above ourselves.  Do whatever it takes to lead her towards Godliness (Matthew 6:33) and away from sin and temptation.  So that we keep her (in as much as it depends on us) spotless, blameless, holy… before the Lord.  That’s a tall order of love.  It involves sacrificing our desires and comforts to love them with all we are.  And again we do so because it is a living illustration of the Gospel.  And God who saved us did not withhold any good thing from us but loved us, adopted us as His children, redeemed and forgave us, sanctified us, and will one day bring us into His presence in Heaven and glorify our sin marred bodies so that they are perfect and we are perfect.

Again we go back to the principle for both the husband and the wife, if God so loved us that He gave Christ, how can we who are not innocent fail to ‘so love’ our spouses knowing that we too are every bit in as much need of God’s grace every moment of every day.

Again, none of this is to be taken in an accusatory way.  I don’t have all the details for your specific situation.  I can’t (nor would I try to) force you to do anything.  You have to decide for yourselves.  I am also not claiming that I am the expert with a perfect marriage.  Marriage (as you well know) is work.  It is a continual journey.  If not for our sin natures that still creep in and tempt us with selfishness, we’d all be able to love one another perfectly.  Then again, if we could do anything perfectly we wouldn’t need Christ.  Since we do need Him, we must also trust Him in all things.  I am absolutely 100% in love with my wife and it probably takes much more forgiveness on her part to love me than it does me to her because I know that I do not always love her as Christ loved the church.  I am selfish and I put myself first far too often.

As I said, I’m not perfect, nor do I claim to be the expert.  I can only relate what Scripture says and tell you that as I've seen these principles for marriage in His Word it has been a convicting time where He has revealed that I don’t always love my wife as I ought to either.

Prayerfully, as Christians, we all can walk together in this and hold one another up and help one another so that we, together, can edify one another in the Lord.  Spurring one another on to healthy marriages and healthy lives that all point back to the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His saving Grace that was displayed on the cross!  The life that is not lived in a Christocentric fashion is the life that is wasted and that applies to all areas of life.  Keep that in mind as you move forward.  Pray and seek the Lord’s strength and wisdom in all things.  Know that I am here for you if needed and will do whatever I can to help.

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