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.
(Ephesians 5:26-27 ESV)
Husbands should care about, and take actions that lead to, their wives’ spiritual growth. This spiritual growth is achieved by spending time in God’s word (the Bible). We learned this yesterday.
And as we learned a few days ago, the marriage relationship is meant to be a picture of Jesus’ relationship with all those who belong to Him. In today’s verse Paul is using a metaphor to refer to these two relationships. The word “she” and “church” are referring to both wives and all believers. The words “he” and “himself” are referring to both husbands and Jesus.
In either case, it is God’s truth that cleanses us and sanctifies us with the result being that we are without spot or wrinkle or any such thing and are holy and without blemish. Anyone who has been born-again and who now belongs to Christ [John 1:12-13; John 3:3] is viewed as perfect – without sin – by God Himself. God sees our sins no more [Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 43:25; Micah 17:9] because the penalty for them has been paid-in-full.
Jesus came to earth and died for the very purpose of removing our sins. He did this by taking those sins, and their accompanying punishment, upon Himself [1 Peter 2:24]. His life was one of complete sacrifice. He gave of Himself every minute He was on this earth, living entirely for our benefit. His focus was never on Himself; it was always and only on us.
This is exactly the way God is calling a husband to live towards his wife. He is not to live for self. He is to always live for her. Golf is not the priority. Climbing the corporate ladder is not the priority. The priority is his wife with the goal of seeing her become more holy as her relationship with God deepens. Everything a husband does should be for her spiritual, eternal benefit.
To achieve this the husband needs to ensure that God’s word is the preeminent influence in the home because, as we’ve seen, this is where holiness begins. But there are other steps a husband should take as well. He should only speak kindly to his wife. He should compliment and encourage her. He should be concerned about her reputation and do nothing to damage it. He should sacrifice his desires for her needs.
This is exactly how Jesus lived when it came to humanity. He gave up His place among perfection in heaven and dwelt on earth among sin. An analogy might be someone who lives in Beverly Hills voluntarily deciding to give up all they have to move to a shanty town of South Africa in order to help the people there.
Jesus’s life was one of total sacrifice and is the incredibly high standard God is calling husbands to.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.