Christ's Definition of Husbandly Love
The sledge hammer
This is another popular verse many women like to trout out when they feel that their husbands do not love them as they think they should be love. But like the verse in John 13 where Jesus said love one another as I have loved you, this verse is often misunderstood and misapplied.
Ephesians 5:25 is often pulled out of its context to sledge hammer different husbands into behaving as their wives want. It is rarely used to compel or inspire men to love their wives as Christ would want.
Given our lack of understanding of many biblical concepts it is easy to see why people misunderstand and misuse this passage of scripture
How Christ loved the church
To get a full understanding of how men are to love their wives, we must first understand how Christ loved the church. His love went beyond encouragement, acceptance and support.
His love for the church is much deeper and he set the example of how men are to love their wives when he was here on earth. He made it very clear and easy to see the depth a man must have for his spouse.
#1. He told the church the truth
Jesus did not lie to the church. He gave it all the information they needed to know. It would hard to say that he sugar coated some elements as he was not the sugar coating type of person
#2. He rebuked the church
When it was wrong or lacked faith, he let them know that they were lagging behind and off on the wrong track. He made sure they understood where they were supposed to be and helped them get there.
#3. He taught the church
He did not teach the church just anything. He made sure that it knew the difference between true and false teaching.
#3. He forgave the church
When the people of the church did wrong and correctly repented of their sins, he did not hold those sins against it. Instead he forgave them and continued to teach it his ways.
#4. He gave wise counsel
Jesus did not just tell the church any old thing. He made sure that the church got the right advice so that it could function properly and stay in obedience to his words
#5. Jesus stayed true to the church
If a more attractive doctrine or religious organization crossed his path, he did not lust after it or cheated on his church. He stayed true to the church no matter what was sent his way.
He did not use the philosophy, ‘I am not dead yet’ to justify sinful action and betray his church
#6. Jesus was patient with the church
Throughout his time on earth and even now while he is in heaven, Jesus used patience to help his church get on the right path and live correctly. He made sure that the church knew what he wanted and gave it time to change accordingly.
#6. He provided understanding to the church
Jesus did not make the church fit into narrow roles that demanded perfection every moment of the day. He understood that the church was only human and would falter at different times. He used understanding to help get the church back on the right track.
#7. Jesus forgave the church
When the people of the church sinned, then asked for forgiveness through genuine repentance, he forgave it. He also did not hold those sins over the head of the church when it benefited him. He let them go so that the church could grow properly without being reminded of past failures.
#8. Jesus educated the church
He did not leave it in ignorance nor made fun of its lack of knowledge. He made sure the church could stand up intellectually against the strategies of the unbelieving world. He gave the church knowledge and instructed them to gain more knowledge.
An ignorant church is easy to lead astray and destroy.
#9. Jesus corrected the church
When the church made an error, Jesus did not laugh at it, humiliate it, or even embarrass it. He corrected it so that it would be a genuine intelligent reflection on him. Also, he corrected because a church in error lets in more errors and gets destroyed.
#10. Jesus loved the church
He gave his life for it and made sure that it got the truth in love. He did not abandon it, leave it weak or without instruction. He made sure the church knew what was right and wrong along with good and evil and moral and immoral.
The church was prepared to live life when Jesus was not always physically present.
Some final words
Women may complain that they are given a whole chapter on how to be a virtuous women, Proverbs 31, and that men only get a single verse to help them love their wives. Yet, as you can see, that solitary verse packs a lot of information for men to follow.
The example of Jesus is very deep and it doesn’t take much to see what is meant by Ephesians 5:25. We just have to look at Jesus’ life and see what he did for the church.
Besides the one verse in Ephesians 5, men are told to love their wives in 3 other books of the New Testament. I Peter 3:7, Colossians 3:19 and Ephesians 5:28 all give men instructions on how they are to love their wives.
These instructions do not provide women with permission to live as they please. The Bible tells them how they are to love in return. But loving a spouse is not limited to just these few passages of scripture.
The verses do unto others, return good for evil, love your neighbor and more all apply to marriage and family. Spouses and children are not excluded from what these passages of scripture teach everyone.
Your wife and children are your neighbor just like the family living next door or across the street. Love is more than a warm hug, a peck on the cheek or a great night in bed together. Love is deeper and more fulfilling than people realize.
© 2019 David Thiessen