Friday, September 18, 2009

Loving Husbands - Ephesians 5:25

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her..."

First it should be pointed out that the Greek word AGAPATE is in the imperative mood signifying that it is indeed a commandment. In other words, the husband is commanded by God to love His wife. What does this mean? It means that outside of God, the wife of the Christian Husband is the sole object of his affection. She becomes, again, outside of God, the center of his attention. He longs to see her, to hear her, to be the man by her side. It is his hand he wants in her hand and no other. She is at the very top of his list of VIP and no one else is even close. He is dedicated and devoted to protecting her, cherishing her, romancing her, and being all he needs her to be as her man. He longs to be her knight in shinning armor, the one who will protect and defend her against all enemies. He protects her from the cold, from the hunger, from the dangers of the uncertainties that life naturally brings all of us. Loving your wife like Christ loves the church means placing your wants, needs, and desires, aside so that you may be able to focus on her wants, needs, and desires. It means that if your need clashes with her need, her need subjugates your own. You place her before you and you become willing to make the greatest of sacrifices for her. Outside of God, your world revolves around serving her and making her feel secure, safe, and cherished. James Boice says, "Loving husbands, happy wives." Indeed he is absolutely correct. Calvin says, "If they are honoured to bear his image, and to be, in some measure, his representatives, they ought to resemble him also in the discharge of duty." We are to mirror Christ not only in all other aspects of daily living, we are to do so especially in this aspect of daily life. Hoehner writes, "Thus in this context husbands are to love their wives even when they may seem inderserving and unloving, in other words, unconditionally." How many of us actually obey this command of Christ. I will admit that I have fallen very short of this standard. In fact, I have argued that one cannot really obey this commandment because no one could love their wife as much as Christ loves the church. While that statement may be true, it has a fundamental flaw attached it and I did not realize it until very recently. And that is the second aspect of this article, the first being our command to love our wives along with how that behavior manifests itself in our attitude and in life.

What is the nature of this love we are to have for our wives. That is to say, is Paul speaking here in a qualitative sence, or a quantitative sense? As one examines the sentence once more, we find our answer. The answer lies in the Greek word KATHOS, which is rendered "just as" in many English translations. The word is a conjunction, adverbial, comparitive. This means when we think of how we are to love our wives, we are to compare it to how Christ loves the Church. Since the meaning here is one of comparison, it is safe to say that "love" here is in the qualitative sense and not the quantitative sense. Paul is not commanding us to love our wives as much as Christ loves the church. Such a task is indeed impossible because Christ's love for the church is infinite. What Paul is telling us is to love our wives in the same way Christ loves the church. And how did Christ love the church. He loved her sacrificially, despite her imperfections, her flaws, her sins, her short-comings. 1 Peter 3:7 says, "You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, 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." MacArthur writes, "A Christian husband needs to subordinate his needs to hers." A Christian husband must be humble and always, always show great sensitivity to his wife. Of her fears, anxieties, and concerns he must constantly be aware and doing all he can to offset them with his strong loving leadership and protection. As Boice said earlier, loving husbands, happy wives.

I will be the first to admit that this article is much easier to write than it is to live. In fact, I have failed at this task most miserably. I have placed my desires and needs above those of my wife on countless occassions for all sorts of reasons, selfishness being the most common. When she needed me to listen, I was too busy speaking. Oftentimes, when she needed my strength, she received my absence. And when she needed my reassurance, what she got instead was silence and uncertainty. God has a way of getting our attention and pointing out our sinfulness and I must admit He has managed to do the same with me. Some of us are more hard-headed than others and we have to learn the hard way. Christian husband, I emplore you to wrap your arms around that wife of yours as often as you can, look her dead in the eyes, and from the very center of your heart, with every fiber of your being, remind her often that she is the center of your universe and should you be called to die for her this hour, your love for her would move you to that end without flenching.

Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.


People LIVE what they believe, EVERYTHING else is just noise!

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