Saturday, 29 October 2016
So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. Ephesians 5:28
There is debate as to what the word “so” is referring to. Is it speaking of that which is before, or that which follows? The answer is, “To that which is before.” To understand, the entire thought must be presented (note the underlining) –
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 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. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.”
The intervening verses were an explanation of how Christ loved the church, and they were also an explanation of what the result of that love would be. With the example given, the admonition with its explanation then follows.
Christ loved the church so much that He gave Himself for her. This is something one would do as if their own body. So the husband is to do for his wife, because the wife is truly one flesh with him (see Genesis 2:23). The pattern was set at the beginning and it should, naturally, follow through in all subsequent humans. However, sin entered the world. With that came disharmony, dissatisfaction, and divorce. But this was not the original intent for a man and his spouse (see Matthew 19:1-10).
With the work of Christ complete, we are to consider our marriages as being under the original pattern which was intended by God. Men are to love their wives even as if the two are one, because they are one. It would be illogical to not protect oneself, and therefore, “he who loves his wife loves himself.”
Life application: If a man wishes to promote his own happiness in the most effectual way, he had better begin by showing kindness to his wife.” Albert Barnes
Lord God, Your word is rather clear on the issue of marriage and all that it entails, especially concerning the issue of divorce. And yet, we would choose rather to follow our own personal mores and reject what You have ordained. But You have said that husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. The two are now one and so he who loves his wife loves himself. It comes down to this, “Do we despise what You have created in us so very much that we would cut off a part of who we are?” Help us to think clearly and rationally about our marriages and what they mean in Your presence. Amen.