One of the things I’ve grown to love about preaching is preaching through books of the Bible. By doing that, you get a larger picture of what is going on in a passage. It may seem obvious, but preaching through Ephesians, seeing the identity piece, how much Paul talks about the love God has for us through Jesus, put a different spin on Ephesians 5 and the topics of dating, marriage and submission.
This gets missed a lot in the discussion, I know I’ve missed it when I preached on it in the past.
Paul uses the word love 6 times in Ephesians 5:22 – 33. The idea of a unconditional, irreversible love. In our culture though, love is an emotional, uncontrollable force. Thankfully, Jesus does not love us in an emotional, uncontrollable way. The church in Ephesus, much like us knows that Jesus loves the world, we read that in John 3:16, but we struggle to believe that He loves me individually. Because of that, what Paul calls us to in Ephesians 5 does not feel like love or freedom, instead it feels like slavery.
This flows right into Paul stating for us that marriage is a picture of the gospel. That in a marriage, the world around us should be able to see how Jesus loves us and how we should respond to Jesus. This is why Scripture takes what many see as a hard stance when it comes to homosexuality, sex outside of marriage and divorce. The reason is that they are distortions of the gospel. The world around us is not able to see a clear picture of the gospel when we distort it with sin.
With this backdrop of the gospel, Paul lays out what a husband is to be like and what a wife is to do in response to that. Next week, I’ll talk about men, but this week I spent the majority of the time talking about what submission is and is not in a marriage.
What submission is not…
- Submission doesn’t mean putting a husband in the place of Christ.
- Submission doesn’t mean giving up independent thought.
- Submission doesn’t mean a wife should give up efforts to influence and guide her husband.
- Submission doesn’t mean a wife should give in to every demand of her husband.
- Submission is not based on lesser intelligence or competence.
- Submission does not mean being fearful or timid.
- Submission is not inconsistent with equality in Christ.
What submission is…
- Submission is an inner quality that affirms the leadership of the husband.
- Submission acknowledges an authority that is not totally mutual.
- Submission is seen in respect.