25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
If there is not a practical application from the husband of the love of Christ in the home, then he isn’t fulfilling his role as the spiritual leader God called Him to be. Where does the husband go to find out what true love is? Does he watch Romeo and Juliet or another so called “love” story? No! He must observe how Christ loved the church.
Human love has limits. It isn’t self-sacrificing unto death, and it is full of selfishness. In our own strength, we’ll only love someone if we believe they’ve been good to us. “If ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?” Matthew 5:46. With this type of love, if someone does us wrong, we’ll stop loving them. This is entirely opposite of God’s love. “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7, 8. Even though Christ hates sin, He always manifests a love for a wrongdoer’s salvation that is greater than life itself. Like Christ, when husbands truly desire for their wives to be saved from all their sins, they will have a love that is concerned for their wives’ salvation irrespective of their past or current mistakes.
This is a high calling, but it’s not a novel concept. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” If we realize that all have sinned—including ourselves—and come short of the glory of God, we will be better prepared to exercise the same love and compassion towards others. Romans 3:23. The closer great men of God came to the Lord, the more they realized their own sinfulness and need of a Savior. Isaiah 6:5; 1 Timothy 1:15. However, the great failure in marriage is the refusal to see Christ’s love as the foundation of the home. As a consequence, the home becomes built on human love, which only lasts as long as a spouse does everything right in the eyes of the other spouse. Contention is sure to follow in that Christless home. It is ignorance of Christ that makes men so uplifted in their own righteousness. Luke 18:9. What happens when we’re uplifted in our own righteousness? “Only by pride cometh contention.” Proverbs 13:10. For example, when one is responded to with angry passion, human love will disappear, but if one has Christ’s love, he will refuse to respond in an unChristlike spirit. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9.
In addition, Christ wants husbands to set the standard of what love looks like in the home. The reason why the church is supposed to love Christ is “because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19. Similarly, husbands are to take the initiative in demonstrating and modeling this love to their wives even before it is reciprocated to them. How can husbands have such selfless love? Daily, they must ask Christ to take selfishness out of their lives so that Christ can reign supreme in their hearts. They should desire the experience each day of Galatians 2:20 in order to fulfill their role. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
What should be felt first by a wife: her husband’s love for her or his sanctifying influence upon her? It is clear from Ephesians 5:25 that the wife is to experience Christ’s love from her husband first. A careful reading of Ephesians 5:25-27 show us that love is the influence that will help her to respond and desire to have no spot or wrinkle in her character. If the wife doesn’t see the love of Christ from her husband, then he shouldn’t expect to lead her to sanctification. How important it is to have a relationship rooted upon Christ! Whether or not a husband abides in Christ can impact his wife’s salvation! With this in mind, how earnestly should the husband seek to know Christ each day? With such a solemn responsibility to be the spiritual leader of the home, can a husband feel free to live without Christ’s character in him at any moment?
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
This text shows that our belief in the Bible must impact our daily life. “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” 1 John 4:20. How husbands treat their wives show whether or not they love Christ.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
What does it mean for a husband to nourish his own flesh, his wife? Ephesians 5:29. First of all, in order for a husband to nourish his wife, he must have something to give her. Also, in a physical sense, people eat at least two solid meals a day; typically, one doesn’t just eat one meal in a week. This word “nourisheth” is connected with “bring them up” in Ephesians 6:4 in the Greek. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” How often throughout the day were children supposed to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:6, 7. Similarly, husbands are to seek to spiritually feed their wives the Word of God. They can only feed their wives if they have themselves been daily feeding upon the Word of God. Their role is not fulfilled by just taking their wives to church each week and hearing the Word of God from the preacher. Their role is not fulfilled by just having morning and evening worship each day. Their role can only be fulfilled when Christ is abiding in their hearts daily. Then wives will see that the words their husbands utter are consistent with their lives, and it will have meaning. Then they will be spiritually nourished upon the Word of God as much as they are fed upon the living word of God seen in the example of their husbands. Husbands should be living epistles, “known and read of all men.” 2 Corinthians 3:2.
How can a husband cherish a wife? Paul, the same writer of Ephesians 5, defines the word cherish in 1 Thessalonians 2:7: “But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children.” What type of nurse is the Bible referring to? The New King James version says, “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.” Is there ever a time when the typical nursing mother forgets to show her love and support to her sucking child? It is so unusual that God uses that example for man to have a small glimpse His love. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” Isaiah 49:15. Looking at the illustration of a nursing mother, we have to conclude that cherishing a wife cannot be a one time occurrence in the day. If a nursing mother only paid attention to her child during one part of the day, it could become sickly. If she only cherished her baby during one day out of the week, the baby could die. God is calling for husbands to show Christ’s love to their wives throughout the entire day. She needs to feel that she is treasured much more than the most costly jewelry each day. “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” Proverbs 31:10.
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