Monday, September 6, 2010

The Loving Husband: A Portrait of Christ

Jodi is fed up with her husband. She refuses to cater his every need and put up with his abusive treatment any longer.“My husband has been a dominating spouse since the day I met him,” Jodi says. “Frank treats me like a slave.”
Frank complains,“I don’t understand why my wife just won’t obey me like she said in her wedding vows. I’m the man. She’s the woman. It’s her job to serve me, and I’ve got the Scripture to back it up.”
Sadly, stories like Frank’s and Jodi’s are common in our day. A controlling husband drags his wife to the Bible and rubs her nose in his favorite passage—“Wives, submit to your own husbands.” But if Frank had continued reading, the Scripture would have dealt a death-blow to his sinful attitude—“Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Eph. 5:22).
Frank’s domineering, chauvinistic attitude is the experience of many women who feel more like their husband’s doormat than the beloved, cherished bride of Christ. Even worse—beyond the damage to husband, wife, and children—a bad marriage is a poor testimony about Christ and the church.
By God’s design, marriage presents to the world a picture of Christ’s relationship to His bride, the church. But marriages like Frank’s and Jodi’s sinfully distort that portrait into a gross misrepresentation. Is Christ a petty tyrant like Frank? Does His abuse turn the church into an embittered spouse like Jodi?
Wives, maybe you’ve never viewed your marriage from that perspective. God intends your submission to your husband as a living illustration of the church’s submission to her Lord. That is precisely the reason Paul commanded wives to submit: “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (Eph. 5:23-24). So, here’s a probing question: Wives, what message are you sending to the world? What does your submission to your husband say about the church’s submission to Christ?
Husbands, your turn.
Husbands, are supposed to be a living illustration of Christ, who “loved the church and gave Himself for her” (v. 25, italics added). Notice that the stress is entirely on Christ’s sacrifice and service for the good of the church. Take a look at the passage again:

That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 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. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 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. (vv. 26-33)

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