In our message, MARRIAGE- CHRIST AND THE CHURCH (Eph. 5:22-33), we looked at how being filled with the Spirit manifests itself in marriage.
Marriage was established by God “at the beginning,” and it is a covenant- not a contract- “a great mystery” on display for all to see reflecting God’s love to those who will come to Him by grace through faith (John 3:16; Eph. 2:8-9; 5:31-32; Matt. 19:4-6, etc.). The Bible shows us all people “image” God, whether they know Him or not, and this is true also in marriage (Gen. 1:27-28; 2:24, etc.). But unlike the rest of the material universe which “declares the glory of God,” the institution of marriage actually pictures the Father’s love throughout His world by reflecting “Christ and the church” (Ps. 19:1-2; Eph. 5:31-32, etc.). Those who know God, as part of this “mystery,” can image this truth better because they possess God’s Spirit and can be filled with Him- overflowing with His undying, gracious love through forgiveness and submission to one another (Eph. 4:32; 5:21, 32; 2 Cor. 11:2, etc.).
The Creator God orders things for His glory, and in marriage the wife pictures the church while the husband is to picture Christ (Eph. 5:22-32). The wife, when “filled with the Spirit,” then willingly submits to her “own husband, as to the Lord… in everything” because “the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church” (Eph. 5:18, 22-24; Col. 3:18; 1 Pet. 3:1-6, etc.). A person filled with the Spirit will submit to the authorities God has established out of reverence to Him (Rom. 7:8 vs 13:1, etc.). It is important to note, however, the wife’s submission here is to her “own husband,” and it is also out of her service and reverence to the Lord Jesus (Prov. 9:10; Eph. 5:15-22, etc.). If something is contrary to the Bible, Christians are all called to “obey God rather than men” (Acts 4:18-20; 5:29, etc.).
Husbands, likewise, have authority over them and responsibility in the marriage covenant (1 Pet. 3:7, etc.). They are called to “love [their] wives, just as Christ… loved the church” (Eph. 4:32; 5:25, etc.). This self-sacrificial God love (Grk agapáō) manifests itself in seeking their wife’s highest good and can only be accomplished by dying to oneself (i.e. that is, being “filled with the Spirit” of God- Eph. 5:18, 25b; 1 Pet. 3:7; 1 Cor. 13:5; Song of Sol. 2:3; Eph. 5:29; Mark 8:34; Gal. 5:17, etc.). Just as Christ “sanctifies” the Church with His Word, each husband is “sanctified” (that is ‘set apart’) for his wife in the marriage covenant, and each wife is set apart for her husband- exclusively for life (Eph. 5:26-27; Mark 10:9; John 17:17; Luke 4:4; James 1:27; 3:17, etc.). In the same way we are set apart for Christ knowing one day all Christians will be presented before God as “a glorious church” (Eph. 5:27; Rom. 8:30; 1 John 3:2-3, etc.).
In the meantime, each Christian husband is to “love his own wife as he loves himself” and each Christian “wife must respect her husband” to reflect Jesus’ love well to the world around us (Eph. 5:33 NLT; John 17:20-21, etc.).