To Our Homes: Part 1

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their 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 Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. – Ephesians 5:25-33

This famous passage about marriage is centered on the idea of mutual submission and sacrifice. According to Paul, a properly-functioning biblical marriage is one in which both husband and wife put the needs of their spouse above their own. This is not an endorsement of blind submission, but a blueprint for how marriages are supposed to operate.

The principle upon which marriage is to be lived out, according to Paul, is the principle of Christ’s love for a lost world. Out of love, Christ gave himself up for us, so should we do for our spouses. And single people, before you tune me out, this principle is not bound to marriage alone. Indeed, it is to be the basis upon which we relate to anyone. In the Ephesians passage, Paul is applying to marriage the ethic of Christ’s “new commandment” in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” Christ’s model of sacrificial love is to be the basis for how Christians love those around them: roommates, parents, spouses, children, etc. Whatever your home situation might look like, this is the principle by which we are to relate to one another.

One of the best ways to see Christ come into your home is to live out Christ-like love within it. Pray fervently for those you live with, implore God to shower his blessings upon them (even if you’re at odds with that person. Rom 12:14). Show love through practical acts of kindness. Oftentimes, marriages and other home-sharing relationships can become competitions for self. How do I find time for me? How do I get my way? But the ethic of Christ means we are to, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,” (Philippians 2:3). Note: This doesn’t mean to be a doormat for those who would take advantage – doing so is actually not in the other person’s best interests or yours. That being said, in a relationship where each member is seeking to promote the best interests of the other: needs are met, love is felt, there is unity rather than competition, and the love of Christ for the world is modeled. As Jesus goes on to say in John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

The best way to see Jesus in your home is to act like Christ in it.

“In sharp contrast with our culture, the Bible teaches that the essence of marriage is a sacrificial commitment to the good of the other. That means that love is more fundamentally action than emotion.” – Timothy Keller: The Meaning of Marriage

Sean's Picks

The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller - When I was thinking of asking Suzy to marry me, God brought this question to my mind, "What is the point of marriage anyway?" I knew I wanted to marry her, but all of a sudden I longed to know God's true purpose for marriage. I told this to a friend who recommend this book. Keller taught me the truly biblical vision of marriage. Whether you're unmarried and hoping to be, have been married for ages, somewhere in between or asking the question I was asking, this is worth a look. Click the image below for more:

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