Today we studied Ephesians 5:21-6:9, continuing to see what God’s Word teaches about relationships by discussing marriage. Before we can dive into “wives submit to your husbands” and “husbands love your wives” we have to understand the purpose of the relationship.  In verse 32 Paul writes, “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” I believe that Paul is teaching us that marriage is not nearly as much about men and women as it is about the gospel, about Christ and the Church. Bart Box once said “marriage is intended to be a parable of the gospel.” Have we ever stopped to consider that God may be using us, as husbands and wives, how we live in marriage, to display a real life picture of the gospel of Christ? Have we ever considered that wives living in submission may be a picture of the church living in submission to Jesus and that husbands loving wives may be a picture of Jesus’ relationship to the church?

In both commands, submission and love, the key and the uniting point is the Lord. Wives are to submit to husbands “as unto the Lord”, meaning that submission to husbands is not about husbands but rather an act of worship to God. Husbands are told not to merely love their wives, but instead to love their wives as “Christ loved the church and GAVE HIMSELF for her.” The love that God requires husbands to have for their wives is a costly, humble, selfless love. The submission that wives are called to have is a humble, trusting, selfless submission. The reality is, in my mind, that these callings are the same, they are calling to servanthood and obedience to the Holy Spirit within us.

My questions for today is simple, are we using our marriages as tools to witness for Christ? Are we living in marriage in such a way that those around us are seeing the gospel of Christ, day in and day out in the way we treat each other? The last one is not as easy to answer but probably the most important, are we willing to choose to use our marriages for the gospel? The reason this question is difficult is that then we have to decide that the ultimate goal of our marriages is not happiness, security or success but to picture the union of Christ and the church. I believe that this relationships is about much more than you and I, it is about Jesus and His love for us and it is about the world around us and God’s great desire to show them His love. In His magnificent wisdom and grace, God has chosen that one of the greatest gifts He gave us (marriage) is also one of the greatest tools for the salvation of the world around us. I challenge us all today to put our eyes on the purpose of marriage and to surrender ourselves to being used by God, in marriage, for the spread of the gospel. Scripture is clear, we have callings in our marriage, I pray that we will obey God’s Word and fulfill those callings, for wives to submit to husbands as unto the Lord and for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.