Ephesians 5:25-27 (NKJV) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 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.
I am blessed to have been married to my best friend for almost two decades. We have five amazing kids and a precious grandchild. Our home is filled with peace and a respite from the hardship and chaotic adventure called life. We have endured through blending a family and cancer together. I tell people all the time that this would not be possible outside of Jesus Christ. We partnered with Him on our wedding day and He has been One who has made a family out of our messes.
I have read Ephesians 5 many times over the years. The constant reminder of order in our marriage and family under the Lordship of Christ. Yet today as I read it, I find that I may have missed the point somewhat in its careful demonstration. It’s funny how our flesh and human nature works. We look for ourselves in the Word of God rather than searching for Jesus. Over the years, submission has been challenging as a strong and independent person bent on having her own way has been fully supported by a selfish and stubborn nature. Ephesians 5 reminds me of the proper order to things. It is not just for those in an earthly marriage but those who boast to be the Bride of Christ. Male or female, it is not about our gender or responsibility in life but rather about our marriage to Jesus Christ. Maybe it is written in relatable relational terms to catch our attention. It has certainly grabbed mine today.
Just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word…
As I continue to study the process called sanctification, it is relevant that Jesus is the one who sanctifies and cleanses us. To set apart and then scrub off the sin that keeps us from that which God the Father intended all the time. He begins to revive, restore and renew us again under the intimate and careful love of a husband. Christ loves the church (His Bride). He gave Himself (all of Himself) to have His Bride. To sanctify and cleanse her. Why is this so important? It is the start of a successful relationship. We must put our life in order. To be set apart from the unhealthy relations of the past and to enter into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ that moves from the altar of public display to the private quarters behind the veil. It is only in such a place of total transparency that the Lord can begin to complete us from the inside out.
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.
The work of sanctification in our life is a process of holy consecration and healing. It is to remove the spot or wrinkle or any such thing marked sin and shame to release the fullness of His Glory reserved for His Elect. Those who God calls Children and Christ calls His Bride. There must be a relationship formed from the beginning or we miss the mark altogether. Faith is an intimate act of trust that does not rely on the world or earthly expectations to meet the inner longings and deep desires of the heart but decides to fully invest in the process of sanctification reconciling our life to Jesus (who is the Word) line by line and precept by precept. Not in religious overtures but in radical love that begins with complete submission like a new bride to her husband.
Ephesians 5:28-29 (NKJV) So husbands ought to love their own 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 the Lord does the church.
There are some who will have trouble relating to what the Lord is saying today. Maybe you are a man who doesn’t understand the role of submission. A man who is not in submission to Christ will not be effective in his role as leader in life and home. Perhaps you are a broken woman who has been abused or neglected by someone who doesn’t love you like Christ loved us so you choose to hide behind a barrier built of betrayal. Let Jesus in today. He will meet and exceed you expectations. To those who are single. Embrace your oneness today and focus on letting Jesus wash you in His Word and be your all in all. The point of this life and race called faith is to make it to the end and receive your prize. His Name is Jesus. It begins and ends in Him. He is the One who will nourish you with His Word so taste and see that the Lord is good! He cherishes you. He was looking forward to living life with you after He endured the Cross. You are worth dying for in the heart and mind of Jesus. We must learn to submit to Christ as our husband in order to have happy, healthy relationships anywhere else. To receive His Grace will allow me to lavish it on all the other relationships in life and live in love with Christ from now until He comes. He is enough.
Revelation 22:16-17 (NKJV) “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.