Thursday, 3 November 2016
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. Ephesians 5:33
This last verse of the chapter begins with “Nevertheless.” It is an indication that Paul is returning to the practical aspects of the husband/wife relationship. He has been speaking of the mystical union of Christ and the church, of which the husband and wife relationship is a pattern. In order to “get back to the basics” from this high and lofty analogy, he brings it back down to a practical level with this word.
In the human economy of marriage, this final admonition begins with, “let each one of you in particular so love his wife as himself.” This doesn’t mean that a man is to love his wife as much as he loves himself, but he is to love her as if being his own self. This goes back to verse 31 which says that “the two shall become one flesh.” There is to be a love for the wife that maintains this united essence.
Next, Paul says, “and let the wife see that she respect her husband.” The word translated as “respect” here is phobeó. It actually means “to fear.” This is the reverential fear that a person might have towards God. It is used in Matthew 9:8 concerning the fear of the people when Jesus healed a paralytic. It is this type of reverential fear which is referred to. The wife is to give way to her husband in decisions and to submit to his authority with a reverence that is appropriate to his position as the human authority of the household.
Life application: When the admonitions of Paul concerning the husband/wife relationship are ignored or undermined, the family unit will inevitably fail to work properly. Each has been given a place by God, and all must adhere to that placement for the benefit of the family and to the honor of the Lord.
Lord God, Your word makes certain distinctions within the family hierarchy which are expected to be adhered to – the father, the wife, and the children. When they are not, dysfunction and disharmony will be the inevitable result. Help us, as men and women of Your flock, to be obedient to those distinctions and to apply the admonitions of Scripture to our devotion to You, and to our placement within the family structure. Surely with this You will be pleased. Amen.