Sunday, October 31 2021
God created man, male and female, and designed them to come together in marriage (Genesis 1:26–27; 2:24). He has the answer for every struggle in marriage and family. To accept God’s answers, one must begin with humility before the Creator and Designer of the home. For the church family, Christians are to humble themselves before one another in reverence of Christ (Ephesians 5:21). This is what the apostle Paul means by commanding believers to submit to one another. The Greek word behind “submit” means to set oneself below others, to subordinate. The instruction to put self below others is a command to humble oneself. In his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul taught, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3–4). This is selfless subordination.
With the instruction for Christians to subordinate and humble themselves before other Christians, the apostle Paul instructed wives to subordinate to their husbands “as to the Lord” in everything (Ephesians 5:22–24). In other words, wives are to humble themselves before their husbands as they do before Christ without exception. Women may have various reasons for not wanting to behave humbly toward their husbands, but God commands humility in marriage to affect the husband (cf. 1 Peter 3:1–6). In Genesis 3:16, God predicted that woman will long for her husband but he will rule. In other words, those who rebel against the humility that God commands will not be victorious and will not accomplish what one wants. Unless wives humble themselves before their husbands, they have not yet fully submitted to God. Furthermore, humility is essential for women to obey God’s command to respect their husbands (cf. 5:33). Christian women need to respect their husbands in front of family and all people.
What about husbands? God instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25). As Christ gave Himself for the church, husbands are to give themselves for their wives, and thus husbands are the head of the wife for the purpose of keeping her holy (5:26). Husbands are not the head of wives as dictators but as servants (cf. Mark 10:42–45). The apostle Paul noted that Christ makes the church holy with splendor and without spot and blemish (5:27). Therefore, husbands imitate by seeking and leading their wives in pure and holy living.
Husbands are to imitate Christ by loving their wives as their own bodies nourishing and cherishing her (5:28–30). In other words, he is to provide and be warmly affectionate to his wife. God assigned this role of the husband from Genesis 2:24 as the apostle Paul noted, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31). The apostle concluded by instructing, “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33). God has provided a basis for the husband and wife in the home according to His original plan. Children need to see their father’s affection and care in loving his wife, and children need to see their mother living respectfully toward her husband. This is the only way to maintain the home, restore marriage, and secure their children going forward.
Furthermore, the apostle Paul instructed children to obey their parents and so honor their father and mother (6:1–2). This command comes with the original promise from God that those who honor their parents will do well in life and live long (6:3). The apostle concluded with commanding fathers not to provoke their children to resentful anger but rather to discipline and train them according to the Lord (6:4). Fathers are essential to establishing discipline and training children according to God’s way. The greatest influence of the faithfulness of children is the faithfulness of their fathers to the Lord.
Thank God for designing the home and giving Christians instructions for marriage and raising faithful and holy children. The Bible is the ultimate book for life that gives the answers all people need and can use to live with increasing love, joy, and peace.