“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. HE that loveth his wife loveth humself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the lord the church: For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones” (Ephesians 5:25-29)
These are tremendous words! Look at what they say:
. The love of Christ makes possible a pure and faithful love of husband and wife, “strong as death.”
. When husband and wife become “one flesh” they are joined by such love which comes from Christ. He is the only source from which such love can come!
. There is a stronger love than selfish sexual passion. To “nourish” and “cherish” your spouse means a tenderness and fidelity that is unworldly; it is from above. Again, it is not original with us poor sinful humans. It is “even as the Lord [nourishes and cherishes] the church.” We learn that kind of love from Him, not from the world!
. The one who believes the Good News of God’s grace becomes an actual member “of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.” This is better than being a loveless millionaire, for, as Solomon says you can’t buy real love for all the money in the world. The love of Christ enriches the love of husband and wife-and lo, here is happiness like heaven on earth! If you have a friend who is discouraged about his/her marriage, get him to read these words in Ephesians!
The Old Bible idea seemed to be that the wife is the servant of her husband. She called him “lord” or “master”. Eve’s name signified “mother of all living” (Genesis 3:2);the idea was that woman is the womb, for the existence of offspring. There are few people in the world, and they wanted many children. Every Hebrew mother hoped she might become the mother of the promised Messiah. But now that the Messiah has been born in Bethlehem, a new vision has come. Woman has ceased to be merely the “womb” of humanity or the “garden” in which to sow seeds to increase the tribe. The song of songs celebrates a higher love between the husband and wife. What binds them together is love, not merely a population-increasing function like a factory.
Such love takes us back to the Original purpose of our creation as male and female before sin ruined it and resulted in woman being punished by being placed subservient to her husband. The song of songs describes the kind of love that Christ gives to marriage. Yes, ‘husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church,” and wife is to “submit” unto him; but “as unto the Lord.” She is no longer to be a slave or an object of property, she stands by the side of her husband in a new relationship of trust and respect as his full equal “in Christ.” The new woman “in Christ” is free to develop herself to achieve the almost infinite capabilities God has implanted in her. “There is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). They are now equal. “heirs together of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7).
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