I have often wondered what does it really mean when Paul (one who was gifted in single-hood and swore celibacy) says to the married couples that husbands love your wives, just as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for her.
This is a big assignment to the men no matter which way you flip it. If you consider that believers make up the congregation, church. Here, I do not think Paul is talking about the body of Christ but the bride of Christ, as John puts it in Revelation 19:7-10, the Lamb’s wife.
The believers who make up the church can make it very hard for them to be loved, as I mentioned in Help! My partner is cheating. Regardless of the unfaithfulness and the imperfect partner, Christ still chose to die for us on the cross. A love that we have tried to explain fictitiously and haven’t come close through Romeo and Juliet love story.
Jesus Christ loves the church unconditionally despite:
- the many times she falls into temptation like King David
- the many times she denies Him like Simon Peter, ‘the Rock’
- the many times she betrays Him like Judas Iscariot
- the many times she mocks Him together with others like one of the thieves crucified with Jesus
- the many times she doubts Him like Thomas, the doubting disciple
- the many times she criticizes Him like the teachers of the law, pharisees and Sadducee
- the many times she runs away in fear from evil men like Prophet Elijah from King Ahab and Jezebel
God still loves us when we come back to Him and seek for forgiveness. When we humble ourselves before Him and repent of all our wayward and sinful ways, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Pride is one thing that kills us as human beings. We do not want to admit we are wrong even when wrong and the word is in capital letters on our foreheads. If death won’t kill you, pride will surely be your downfall. Paul says, humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up. EGO destroys relationships.
Are we able to look at each other and say, I forgive you for what you did to me? In fact, way before even you came to me, I already forgave you. No matter how many times – relationships is not one place to say, strike one, strike two …. oh you don did it now, THIRD and FINAL STRIKE. Surely, even us as forgiven partners should be quick to learn what offends the other and appreciate the forgiveness since like for Christ that gift of grace did not just come like that, He had to be crucified on the cross – blood was shed – so that Jesus could say, “It is finished.”
Ephesians 5:22-33New King James Version (NKJV) Marriage—Christ and the Church
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
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. 30 For we are members of His body,[a] of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
May I have the, “As Jesus loves the church” kind of love.
Lord God, thank you for sending your son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross. May you help me to realize that you created each and everyone unique in their own way because you love diversity. Lord Jesus, help me to respect my neighbor and to love my spouse and partner as you love the church. For I pray this in the most holy name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, AMEN
© Caleb Bett and living water and bread of life, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Caleb Bett and living water and bread of life, 2016 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Photo credit: The Words of Man via photopin (license)