Realizing our Riches | Ephesians:28-33
Ephesians 5:28-33 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Paul's first instruction to spirit filled husbands is to love their wives as Christ loved the Church, which seems spiritual and unachievable, but we know it is possible because it has been asked of us. Now Paul, by the Holy Ghost, gives us an instruction that sounds more practical and brings our minds out of the heavenly realms for just a moment and says, "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies." Loving your wife as Christ loved the church puts us in mind of how our heavenly groom loves us and it is spiritual. Love your wife as your own body puts us in mind of ourselves and it is physical. These two instructions are two sides to the same coin. Just like everything that is complete, there is a spiritual and physical side. This should be the case in our marriages. Our marriage is spiritual, or it should be. Men we are the spiritual head of the home and the weight of prayer and Bible reading and family altar should be among the list of our duties as the "priest of our homes." Ladies, Submission to your husbands and rearing children and keeping (being the heart) of the home should be amongst yours. The children should see Mom and Dad engaged in prayer, engaged in thankfulness to the Lord, they ought to be "Trained up in the way they should go." Bringing our children to Christ by our actions and our sharing of the Gospel with them, these are just a few of the Spiritual things that take place in the home. C.H. Spurgeon said "“When home is ruled according to God's Word, angels might be asked to stay a night with us, and they would not find themselves out of their element.”
Just as sure as there is a spiritual side of our marriage there is a physical side that should not be forsaken as well, which is what Paul is dealing with in verses 28-31. Is there anything that you like? I have asked this question to us husbands and without doubt something came into your mind that you enjoy, but this should be the question we ask our wives. "Honey, is there anything you like?" How often do we think about, pursue and indulge in the things that we like? Now, how few times do we think about, pursue and endeavor to do things that our wives like? I have examined myself and I am ashamed to admit that I pursue my desires more often than I do hers. The text here says that if we love our wives, we are in turn loving ourselves, after all we are one flesh and no man hates his own flesh but nourishes it and cherishes it. As we submit ourselves one to the other, we should also be endeavoring to serve one another and care for one another. Husbands, if there is something that your wife likes then endeavor to notice and do it. Wives, if there is something that your husband likes, endeavor to notice and do it. Nurture and cherish your wife and you will find in turn that you have nurtured and cherished yourself.
In the last part of verse 29 Paul points us back to Christ and His Bride, The Church. "Even as the Lord the church." Does Christ not nurture and cherish us as his bride? Of course, He does. He fulfills his spiritual duties as our head and the High priest of His bride, and He also cares for the physical needs of His bride. When we need comfort, he comforts us, when we need joy, He fills our hearts. It is in our intimate times with the Lord that our relationship with Him is strengthened. I can go to him in prayer and pour my heart out to him, and he comes in those sweet times of fellowship and brings peace and joy and comfort that is felt spiritually and physically, and it is in those intimate times with the Lord that new life is produced. Intimacy with the Lord is the key to a fruitful Christian life. Vance Havner said "God doesn’t have favorites, but He does have intimates." Just as a man and women can never expect to have children if they are never intimate, so can we never expect to have fruit in our Christian life if we forsake our intimate, private time with the Lord. Make time to get away from everyone and open up His Word, to pray, to pour out your soul to the lover of our souls, you will begin to see the benefit of intimacy with the Lord in the fruit that is born out of your life. This spiritual illustration gives way to our physical lesson today and as sure as Christ and His Church need spiritual intimacy, husbands and wives need physical intimacy. Make time to care one for the other. Husbands, have her interest in mind. Wives have his interest in mind. It is for this cause a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife and they become one flesh. Paul here is speaking of the physical unity of marriage, "They two shall become one flesh." I've been reserved with my language because we have a mixed crowd reading this but I trust that the married people understand the subject being spoken of. We have spoken to a few couples over the years and without fail, when the physical relationship started falling apart then the home started falling apart. Be sure to "maintain the fire" and the whole house will benefit from its warmth. Now Paul in this relationship between man and wife has revealed unto us one of the church age mysteries of Christ and the Church. Ultimately, our marriage ought to be a reflection of Christ marriage to His bride. He concludes his instruction to the husbands and wives with a reminder of each ones duty; “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." Nevertheless, meaning "If you didn't hear anything I said, hear this." Love your wife as yourself. This is a fulfillment of Christ second great commandment "Love thy neighbor as thyself." And also a fulfillment of the old saying "Happy wife, Happy life." That is the heavier duty that has been placed on the husbands, to love as Christ loved the church and to love our wives as our own selves. Wives, the conclusion comes down to reverencing your husbands, or let him lead. Reverence implies trust and Men be sure that you are some one she can trust. These are the duties of husband and wife and all of this is possible if we are filled with the Spirit which was the first instruction given in this discourse on Spirit filled relationships. All of this is impossible if we are not filled with(controlled by) the Spirit. So, be filled with the Spirit and your marriage can be typical of Christ and His Bride. According to the Riches of His Grace!