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Ephesians 5:21-33 Vol. 6 – February 6, 2023

Hi this is pastor Ken and this is my Monday Marriage Message. The Right Questions…

Hi, this is Pastor Ken, Thank you for joining me once again for the Monday Marriage Message. I look forward to continuing in Ephesians 5:21-33. As we have made our way through the passage, I have been expounding on all the ways that the Apostle Paul wrote concerning how married couples are to submit to one another in the fear of God (Vs 21). To this point, we have been looking at how a wife is to submit to her husband. Today men, it is time for the direction of the spotlight to shine on us.

As I mentioned last week the focus of verses 25-28 are how the husband is to submit to the wife. You may remember about a month ago when we began this study I introduced Romans 12:10 into the conversation. There we read the instruction phrased to prefer one another. The content and context of that scripture and Ephesians 5:21 is quite similar. I shared that the words prefer and submit have incredibly close definition in these two scriptures. I bring this up again because as we move into verses 25-28 husbands are called to consider their wives as more important than themselves. In other words, the command to us men is to prefer our wives above ourselves.

Ephesians 5:25-28 says 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

Just as I did with the verses that spoke of the responsibilities of a wife, I am going to break down this passage one concept at a time. Today we will focus on verse 25. When we looked at the instruction to a wife, it began with the phrase Wives submit to your own husband. This verse begins with Husbands, love your wives. Just as we discovered that the word submit means to voluntarily place oneself under the authority of another, I hope to illustrate that in this context, the command for the husband to love his wife has much the same meaning. On the one hand, husbands are instructed to love in a specific way. They are to do so just as Christ loved the church. Husbands are not free to love their wives in any fashion they choose. They must submit to loving their wives just as Christ loved the church. This requires submission to Christ in the sense that we adopt His lead in terms of how to love correctly and authentically. God is love, and if we are going to love our wife as He intends, then we must do so His way. If a husband is going to truly love his wife, He can do no better than to willingly pass along or be a conduit of God’s love for her. That requires that husbands submit to being used by God to transmit His own immense and intense love for their wives.

Additionally, to love his wife correctly, a husband must submit to her. The example given is that a husband love His wife in a very specific way. He is to love her in the same manner that Christ loves the church. Paul wrote that the evidence of Christ’s love for His bride was that He gave Himself for her. Obviously, this means primarily that Christ died for the church. Many husbands, in their desire to be seen strong and courageous think they are rightly following Christ’s example by declaring that they too would die for their wife if need be, all the while knowing the need to prove themselves sincere will likely never arise. Yes, Christ died for the church, and if necessary as husbands, we should be willing to sacrifice our lives in the place of our wife or children’s lives. However when Paul was inspired to write the phrase “and gave Himself for her” there is much more to the love Christ had for us beyond going to the cross, that was but the culmination of far, far more.

When Christ came to earth as an infant, that was not His beginning. Jesus has always been. He says of Himself, “I am the beginning and the end”. The Apostle John wrote that In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made (John 1:1-3). Furthermore, it is recorded in 1Pet 1:19-20  19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Jesus coming to die for our sins had been the plan since before He laid the foundations of the world. What does all that have to do with a husbands love for his wife? Christ’s love for the church was all encompassing. It was not manifested in some things, but not others. It was totally complete, lacking nothing.

Jesus came from heaven to earth. He left a place that was heavenly and came to a place filled with difficulty and pain, much of it He endured personally. He did not plan for eternity past and then actually come and die for our sin because He had need to do so. No, Jesus came and endured the cross because we had need of Him to do so. It cost Him in every way. It hurt Him physically to be whipped and endure an agonizing death on a cross. It hurt Him emotionally to have those He was treating with love scream for His execution. It was spiritually excruciating. His Heavenly Father had been eternally inseparable from Him. But in that moment, The Father looked away from the Son in disgust. Our sin was covering Jesus and the result was that Christ was now intolerable to the Father. His pain at this recognition was evidenced by His outcry, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Jesus could not have done anything more to illustrate that He had decided that we (the Church…His bride) and our needs far superseded His own.

Men, that is our example. That brand of love is the exact kind we are to have for our wife. The instruction to us is to make our wife’s every need more important to us than ours are. We must lay down our desires to meet her needs. If our decisions are to be correct ones as they pertain to our wife, then they must be made out of the purest of selflessness just as Christ’s were in terms of the church. Is it possible for a wife to take advantage of that kind of love and care? Of course it is, as possible as it is for a husband to take advantage of her submission to him. The righteousness of something is never determined by how it is received…only in how it is offered. The brand of love shown to the church by Christ’s action required His preference of us. When we do the same for our wives, we are preferring them as we have been instructed to. This is one of those things that I like to say is difficult but is not complicated. It certainly is not easy to choose someone else above yourself in every instance and at every opportunity. However, it is not complicated at all to determine that a selfless choice is always superior to a selfish one.

Next week we will resume by discovering the reason why we should go to such lengths to put all of our wife’s needs above our own.

Questions to answer:

  • Gentlemen – Most husbands are totally on board with the idea of a submissive wife, what are your thoughts about being a subservient husband?
  • Ladies – In light of this scriptural instruction to your husband, does it impact your thoughts about the instruction to you to be subject to him in all things?

Actions to take:

  • Discuss how these two commandments; That wives are to be submissive, and husbands are to be subservient, interact with each other.
  • Consider together if you think they go hand-in-hand or counteract one another, additionally talk about your thoughts of their dependence upon one another.
  • In a judgement free manner, talk about how the two of you do well or need to improve in these two areas.
  • Pray together and ask God to help both of you make these commandments of His a priority in your marriage.

So now men, choosing to make your wife’s needs your priority just like Jesus did for you…Go be Awesome!

Jesus found it necessary to do two things for these Pharisees to help them have a better understanding of what they were asking. First He chose to take them back to the beginning. So often as was the case with these men, we want answers to our questions. What we don’t realize is that our questions are flawed due to our skewed perception and so an answer to our question as stated will simply propel our flawed thinking. Jesus understood this. The Pharisees were asking a question about divorce. Divorce is a result of flawed thinking, therefore any primary answer to that question would have served only to keep the conversation headed in a flawed direction. Jesus first had to correct the direction of the conversation and did so. How? He answered their question about divorce in terms of marriage. He made an attempt to steer the dialogue into a much more profitable direction by talking with them about their marriages. The second thing Jesus did here was to reorient the Pharisees in terms of their skewed thinking about marriage. They were looking at marriage as a temporary condition; Jesus reiterated that God, the inventor of the institution, saw it as a lifelong covenant.

Jesus illustrated for them in terms they well understood (the Old Testament scriptures) that marriage was intended to take two people and make them one, duplicating what had been done by creating Eve from one of Adam’s ribs. Adam and Eve were one flesh from the word go. Jesus was pointing out that through marriage, God re-creates that situation for every man and woman who marry. Jesus also made it a point that it was God who had married them to their spouses, and what God does we can’t figure out in our limited ability how to undo.

The analogy I like to use is that of a loaf of bread. The baker starts out with separate ingredients. Though he may add more ingredients than oil, water, yeast and flour, those are the necessary ones. After the ingredients are mixed and have had time to rise, the dough that is formed is thoroughly mixed through the process of kneading. The baker does this with great care until the dough is just right, a compliment of just the right amount of the incorporated ingredients. That dough created just as the baker wanted, with informed intent he shapes it into loaves and places it in the oven. A short time later, the dough emerges something new…bread. In the same way the baker has taken the multiple ingredients and made them one thing that we can’t figure out how to successfully separate again, what God has joined, no one should try to separate.

We may have difficulty understanding our “one flesh” condition but it is our reality none the less. Paul certainly recognized this and called it a great mystery (Ephesians 5:32). Jesus said it though, “They are no longer two, but one flesh.” When we are walking comfortably in our new reality we have little problem accepting it, we experience trouble however when we see our oneness as a restriction instead of a blessing. In those times we can think, even if only momentarily that it would be easier if we were able to live, act and move singularly again. That is however no longer reality, nor is it even correct. Ecclesiastes tells us clearly that two are better than one. Learning to walk comfortably in our oneness with another at all times is what is best, and to some degree the learning curve is what God intends. He desires that as we learn to be one with our spouse, we will learn what it truly means to be one with Him.

Questions to Answer:

  1. What does being “no longer two, but one flesh” mean to you and your spouse?
  2. What ways do you feel as though you and your spouse are one?
  3. In what ways do you wish you noticed more oneness in your marriage?

Actions to Take:

  1. Pray together that God will help you to have a fuller understanding of your oneness and that you will be open to all that means.

So now, looking to Him to complete your understanding of the oneness you share with your spouse…Go be Awesome!

Ephesians 5:21-33 Vol. 5 – January 31st, 2023

Hi, this is pastor Ken, thanks for joining me for the Monday Marriage Message. Today we will continue with our in-depth look at Ephesians chapter 5 verses 21-33. This is our fifth installment in this series, and today we will be looking at verse 24.

For context, I will begin reading again in verse 21 and finish with our focal passage for today, Ephesians 5:24. Submitting to one another in the Fear of the Lord. Wives submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Now verse 24, Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

As you will remember, these verses and the ones to follow are in response to verse 21. Submission to, or preferring one another is a two way arrangement, but is not reciprocal. What I mean by that is that we are instructed in verse 21 to submit to one another. Submission is intended to go in both directions. When I mention it is not reciprocal, I mean that submission or giving preference is not an agreement between two people that if one submits when they should the other will act in kind when it is their turn. IF the command to submit came from one another, that arrangement might make sense. However, the instruction comes from God in His word, therefore we follow the instruction for Him and the actions or lack thereof from our spouse should have nothing to do with our desire to obey our Lord. So submission is intended to go both ways, but should not be looked at as reciprocal. This mistake has been made for all time and invariably leads to a breakdown of submission when we deem our spouse unworthy of our preference for one reason or another based on how they are interacting with us. It is impossible to carry out an intended selfless action from a selfish mindset.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, verses 22-24 are that instruction from God as to how women are to make themselves submissive to their husbands. Likewise, verses 25-29 are instruction as to the husband as to how he is supposed to prefer his wife’s needs over his own, to lift her up and make her most important in the relationship. We have all heard that marriage is a 50-50 relationship. This statement is not true. I have even heard that marriage is 100-100, that whoever needs to put 100% in does so, and then when the other spouse needs to, they will put 100% into the marriage. The second is closer than the first, but God’s word seems to indicate that both are to put 100% in, submitting to one another completely at all times.

Last week I spoke about the fact that the placement of husband as the head of the wife is simply to fill the requirement of order in the marriage. It does not indicate his superiority nor her inferiority in any way. Husbands and wives, men and women are created completely and totally equal to one another. As I illustrated last week, headship is simply in place to bring order, and leaves both parties with requirements to live up to. Wives are to submit to the headship of their husbands and husbands are responsible for the well-being, physical, emotional and spiritual, of their wives.

In light of all of that, verse 24 might seem at first glance as nothing more than a literary exclamation point on the earlier command. However, the original text leads to greater discovery about the original instruction to wives. The Greek word that we translate to Subject  has some important intimation. It does not indicate that wives are to be made subject to their husbands, but rather that they voluntarily place themselves under the authority of their husbands just as people who accept Christ (the church) voluntarily put themselves under His Lordship. When you came to that moment and gave your life to Christ, no one made you do so. It was a place in time where you came to the saving knowledge that you needed Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. As your spiritual eyes were opened you knew the best place for you was under His authority and Lordship. In recognition of who He is and in gratitude for what He had done for you, you made yourself subject to Him.

One might say, “But, Pastor Ken, my husband has not died for me like Jesus did.” I would answer, perhaps not, but by that same logic, if you don’t make yourself subject to him in everything, he shouldn’t be required to lay down his life for you. Obviously, when you look at both sides of that argument it becomes mute. In fact in the very next verse husbands are charged with making that very sacrifice for their wife. When we begin to look more closely at that next week, we will discover a man’s responsibility to consider his wife more important than himself is placed upon him by God, and his response will either be in obedience or opposition to his Lord. Likewise is a wife’s response to the call of her Lord to voluntarily place herself in submission to her husband in the same way that her fellow Christ followers subject themselves to Christ.

There are two considerations I think important to make at this time. First, that these commands to wives and the ones to follow that are directed toward husbands are no different than any other command given to us in God’s word. Even the Ten Commandments are voluntary, yet not optional. Every command given us by God Almighty is required of any who desire to be righteous. Yet, in light of the free will He perfectly saw fit to endow us with, obedience to any of His commands is a yielding on our part. We surrender our will to match His perfect will for our lives. In so doing we illustrate our love for God. Jesus said “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. In light of that statement, and this passage, it quickly becomes evident that when a wife voluntarily makes herself subject to her husband in everything as the church is to Christ, she is illustrating her love for God in a beautiful way. The same can be said for husband’s who voluntarialy lay down their lives for their wife, as we will read about next week.

Second, I think it important that we note that marriage is the illustration of the relationship God desires to have with us. I often say that marriage is the practice field where we learn to execute well on game day. For those of you who have not heard me use that analogy before, what I mean is that in marriage we learn all of the necessary actions and attitudes of one who will have a good and healthy relationship with God. It is in marriage that we practice giving ourselves to one only, just as God requires of us…He must be the only God in our lives. Marriage is where we learn to love another with all of our ability and resources. Why? Because God calls us to love Him with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind and all of our strength. Marriage is also the relationship where we practice learning to submit to and prefer one another, just as God requires us to do in response to Him. Marriage is the practice field in this life where repetitiously we become versed in how to be in relationship with our God on Game day…for eternity. Here again, the motivation for why we need to respond to our spouse correctly, is so that we can respond to God correctly.

My hope is that we eventually all come to the conclusion that our marriages aren’t nearly as much about the relationship we have with our spouse as they are the relationship we have with God. I believe whole-heartedly that is the reason God used marriage as the illustration of the relationship He desires to have with us in 66 out of 66 of the books in His word.

Questions to answer:

  • Wives – What does it mean to you that your submission to your husband is in actuality an act of submission to God?
  • Husbands – How does your wife’s answer to the question above adjust a past misunderstanding you may have held in regards to this scripture?
  • How might both of your hearts toward God and each other change in light of a closer look at this passage?

Actions to take:

  • Discuss what you think of the idea that your marriage is the practice field where you have opportunity to improve how you will execute on game day.
  • Ask God to help both of you look at your submission to one another as an act of love toward Him.

So now, recognizing that our obedience to any command we have from God’s word shows Him just how much we love Him…Go be Awesome!

Legacies – January 26th, 2023

Hi, this is Pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Legacies

This week I have attended several funerals. One might think that pastors get used to going to funerals…this one probably never will. It is the fact that I know that so many people are hurting in such close proximity to me that makes them difficult for me. Many people dislike funerals because they believe them to illustrate our frailty. My physical weaknesses don’t necessarily bother me. What is hard, is knowing there is nothing I can do or say for those experiencing the pain of loss that will be of any immediate comfort. I must admit, as a counselor, not having the right words of encouragement sometimes does leave me feeling quite frail. Some dislike funerals because they believe them to point out the fact that all of us are mortal. Its true that one day we will all be the focus of everyone’s attention at a funeral. Again, personally I am not bothered by that notion. As a Christ follower, I know and believe that this life is only a mist, I am here today and gone tomorrow. Others still find funerals difficult because they view them as indicating the end. I choose a different outlook…I subscribe to the perspective that they simply signal the beginning.

Christians know these things to be true. We hold fast to the belief that when our mortal bodies cease to function, our eternal life begins. We believe that because of the faith we have confessed in Jesus Christ as the one and only Son of God, in light of our acceptance of the fact that He died on the cross for our sins, specifically that we might live with Him forever…we will do just that. We understand that His word tells us that when we die here, we live there…in the twinkling of an eye, we will see Jesus, face-to-face. The bible tells us that in Heaven, there is no more pain or sorrow. All of our weakness will be gone forever. We know that there, we will live forever in His presence and in His power.

However, that is not the only reason I don’t think of frailty, death or an ending of life when I attend funerals. There is another consideration that addresses each of these concerns and unlike the truths I mentioned a moment ago, they occur here in this world as well as in Heaven. When a genuine Christ follower draws his or her last breath here on earth, they are able to experience the following scripture in a way we can only imagine. In 2 Timothy 4:6-8 Paul wrote of what was for him yet to be experienced, but for the ones we honored at the funerals I attended this week it is their current reality. That scripture says; For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. The two men I am referring to today, Bill and Gary, fought the good fight, they each finished their race and finished it well. What does that mean? It means they lived as best they could the way Jesus wanted them to. It means that their acceptance of His free gift of life and forgiveness of their sin had the effect on their lives that Jesus desired when He gave his life in exchange for theirs. It means that the outcome of their lives was the joy set before Him that enabled Him to endure the cross…It means they each left an amazing legacy.

Each of their legacies will live on here in this world. When we consider legacies, we often think of the few largely notable things that a person may have accomplished in their lifetime that will stand to help others. When I think of a legacy, I ponder the smaller multitude of things done in their lives that illustrated the image and likeness of God. I think of the daily investments in others, starting with their own families that built their legacies. I think of how these two men fulfilled the legacy building actions found in Deuteronomy 6:5-7; You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

Both Bill and Gary went home to be with the Lord in the space of a week’s time, but that was not their only similarity. They were different men to be sure. They had different occupations, lived in different towns, but they served the same God, and lived their lives empowered by the same Spirit. Both of them loved God with everything they had. They weren’t perfect…just being perfected, but the commandments of their Lord were on their hearts. They did pass them on to their children and their children’s children. They did talk about their relationship with their Savior everywhere they went and with everyone they met. The Jesus they showed to and shared with others impacted many lives, lives that will go on to show and share Jesus to with others, who will do the same. That is a legacy that lives on…here and in Heaven. That is a legacy that illustrates the power of Christ…which knows no weakness. That is a legacy that is strong, never frail…and that legacy will never die!

These two men left amazing legacies. Each of theirs began when they accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives, and they built them one day at a time…for the rest of the time they were given on this earth.

Each of us will also undoubtedly leave a legacy. Ours will be remembered as examples of what a person should do…or not do. Bill and Gary knew what to do and they did it. They have heard those coveted words “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.” Their joy is now full and complete. Their legacy lives on here as it changes lives going forward, and in heaven as they are able to gratefully and lovingly place the treasure they stored up there at the feet of Jesus.

So how can we ensure we have a legacy like Bill and Gary get to enjoy? First and foremost, be in constant, close relationship with Jesus but then carry out the example of the Apostle Paul recorded in Philippians 3:12-14. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

So now, following Jesus and living a life that will produce an amazing legacy like the ones Pastor Bill Sammons and Gary Bollinger left us…GO be awesome!

Ephesians 21-33 Vol. 4 – January 23rd, 2023

Hi, this is Pastor Ken and I want to welcome you to the Monday Marriage Message. For those who may be joining me for the first time, we began an in depth study of Ephesians 5:21-33 several weeks ago and today is the fourth installment in that series.

We have covered the truth found in verse 21 that we are to submit to one another in response to our relationship with Christ. Last week we began looking at how wives are instructed to submit to their husbands. I established that the wife’s submission is not due to her being inferior to her husband in any way. Since the beginning, God created men and women of equal value, differing from one another, but both necessary to the other to fulfill their purpose of reflecting God’s attributes and character traits. Verse 22, which we looked at last time is simply put, the instruction to the wife as to how she is to carry out her responsibility for verse 21. Today I will pick up where we left off with the continuation of that instruction in verse 23.

Ephesians 5:23 says For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the savior of the body. Again, allow me to reiterate, a husband is not created superior to his wife in any way. With this knowledge, (which we saw scripturally last week based on Genesis 2:18) we can reject any interpretation of this verse that would require that fallacy for its understanding. So, if the husband is not greater than his wife, if he is not superior, nor more valuable in God’s eyes, what was meant when Paul wrote that the husband is head of the wife?

I believe that Paul, writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16-17) was simply noting the order of the relationship. I think it critical to recognize that Paul is writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit or else we might conclude incorrectly; that at best his words were simply indicative of the culture at that time, or worse yet, that Paul himself held and intended to promote a chauvinistic view. I believe that is why this scripture uses the simile that “The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church”. Logically we cannot say that our culture has evolved past the idea that the husband is head of the wife unless we are also willing to say that there is now no need for Christ to be head of the church. Every relationship requires order and consequently there must be those in authority and those in submission to the authority. Paul makes the point in 1 Corinthians 11:3 that this is true even to the extent that it is exercised within the Godhead. There he wrote: But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Jesus Himself made the point that authority and submission were the modus of operation within the Godhead. It is recorded in John’s Gospel that Jesus noted that He did not do anything or say anything unless explicitly told to do so by the Father, found in chapter 5 verse19 and chapter 12 verse 49. If we are to read the scripture in Ephesians 5:23 and take it to mean that the husband’s authority is derived from his superiority, then we must also say that because Christ submitted to the authority of God the Father, Jesus must be inferior to the Father. That is preposterous. Jesus said that “All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Me” (Matthew 28:18) this would not be a possibility if he were inferior to the Father. I reference all of that to simply say that authority does not always indicate superiority and submission does not assume inferiority.

God ordained this system of authority and submission for the purpose of bringing order to our lives. This does not mean that selfishness and distrust in God’s precepts cannot infiltrate His plan for order. When these character flaws enter into His design there are undoubtedly negative consequences felt by all involved, but these are indicative of the misuse of authority not an indictment against the plan. The design for order is never the problem though it can be carried out selfishly and with abuse. In those cases, selfishness is the deficiency, God’s design is perfect.

This is easy to see when we look at government. God’s word clearly indicates that He placed governments in authority over the citizens they govern. His word also states that as Christ followers we are to place ourselves in submission to our governmental authority even if it is infiltrated with evil, godless leaders. The only time we are permitted to take opposition to our government is when it explicitly instructs us to act in direct opposition to God Himself. Other than those few times we are to submit to maintain His prescribed order. The only alternative to order is anarchy, which is always valueless.

It is no different in the marriage. Order is not only prescribed it is absolutely necessary. Man (Adam) was created before his wife (Eve) and is for that reason positioned the head. As we have already determined his headship is not a result of being faster, better, smarter. It is not so much a position of being placed in charge over her as much as it is that he has been charged with her…well-being, safety, and provision. The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church; and He is the savior of the body. How does Christ exercise His headship of the church? He is the savior of the body. He (as the husband) is savior of the body (His bride). The term savior in this context means the preserver or the one who meets every need in order to preserve. When applied this means that the husband is given charge of the wife so that he may meet each of her needs so she might be preserved. By doing this, he fulfills his responsibility for her before God who placed it upon him. The wife must put herself in submission to her husband to afford him the opportunity to meet this God-given responsibility.

So often in our society, women want to circumvent this protection and preservation out of a desire for autonomy noted by God in Genesis 3:16. They resist coming under the headship of their husbands because they want to make their own decisions. They believe they are acting in opposition to their husbands for any number of “well-thought-out” reasons, but are actually acting contrary to God who is simply attempting to position them in a place of order and  blessing for their lives. The second reason women often try to be their own authority is that they have decided that their husband does not have their best in mind. They choose to remedy this problem by discarding God’s design because their human husband is not acting in accordance with His will. God’s word is clear that this is not wisdom and has zero chance of positive impact on the marriage. Instead, in 1 Peter 3:1-2 wives are instructed; In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate, not as inferior, but out of respect for the responsibilities entrusted to husbands and their accountability to God, and so partnering with them] so that even if some do not obey the word [of God], they may be won over [to Christ {and His ways of acting as head of the church}] without discussion by the godly lives of their wives, when they see your modest and respectful behavior [together with your devotion and appreciation…—love your husband, encourage him, and enjoy him as a blessing from God]. (As read from the Amplified Version)

Again, this call from God for wives to submit to their husbands is His plan to bring order within the marriage as well as to bless wives by placing the responsibility to protect, preserve and provide for their well-being squarely on the shoulders of their husbands. As such, if a wife resists this call on her life, it is not her husband she resists…it is her God.

Peter concluded his teaching about the wife’s responsibility to submit to God by submitting to her husband even if he is not doing his part in verses 5-6. Again from the Amplified Version: For it was thus that the pious women of old who hoped in God were [accustomed] to beautify themselves and were submissive to their husbands [adapting themselves to them as themselves secondary and dependent upon them]. It was thus that Sarah obeyed Abraham [following his guidance and acknowledging his headship over her by] calling him lord (master, leader, authority). And you are now her true daughters if you do right and let nothing terrify you [not giving way to hysterical fears or letting anxieties unnerve you].

Peter purposefully used Sarah’s marriage to Abraham as the example. Peter ministered to the Jews, his audience of readers would have well known the story of Abraham and Sarah from the scriptures. Not only was Abraham the “Father of the Israelite Nation” he was also on record as being the worst husband of all time. Not once but twice he schemed to posture himself as Sarah’s brother rather than her husband. (Genesis 12 & Genesis 20) His purpose for doing this was to preserve his own life instead of hers. Twice while traveling through foreign lands he knew that because of her beauty the rulers of those lands would want to take her (sexually) for themselves to enjoy. If Abraham were thought to be her brother, they would simply take her and leave him unharmed. However, he believed if they thought him to be her husband, they would kill him and then take her and add her to their harems. Because of this, on both occasions, he twisted the truth and instructed Sarah to claim he was her brother (she was in fact born of Abrahams father’s lineage, but not by his mother). She was instructed by Abraham to say this in order to deceive those asking that he was not her husband, which he absolutely was. As I said a moment ago, Abraham committed this atrocity not once but twice and apparently did not teach his son the error of his ways because Isaac repeated this sinful behavior toward his wife Rebecca when he was older as recorded for us in Genesis 26.

As I said moments ago, the readers of 1 Peter would have been well aware of this history and the fact that Peter used Sarah and her choice to treat Abraham with respect in light of his reprehensible and unrespectable action toward her, made the example that much more impactful. Certainly, the female recipients of his letter would likely not find themselves with a greater reason for disrespecting, and shirking their responsibility to submit to their husbands than Sarah had. For the same reason, this example stands for wives even today.

Ephesians 5:23 is predicated on a God determined need for order and His desire to bring blessing, and cannot be excused or discarded because the people involved do not always act in accordance with the other good plans He has for us.

Questions to answer:

  • What have your thoughts in the past been in regards to this scripture and the statement that the husband is head of the wife?
  • How might this study change your view of this scripture if at all?

Actions to take:

  • In light of your understanding of this scripture, discuss together what impact it should have on your marriage.
  • Ask God to help both of you follow His design for order in your marriage and to do so in ways that reflect and please Him.

So now, recognizing that God’s design for order in the marital relationship is an attempt to bless you, take advantage of His desire for that blessing by accepting His design for your marriage…and go be awesome!

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