The Covenant Family (1): Marriage
Ephesians 5:22–27 - Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 5:24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 5:26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 5:27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
Using Apps for Lent - We have finished our three-part Spring Training: faith is the victory (1), anxiety is defeat (2), and hungering for God (3). Now I will address a vital subject for our community life in three parts. The Covenant Family: Marriage (1), childrearing (2), and stewardship (3). Then comes Easter (Hallelujah!). Consider your family as an arena for the application your Lenten Spring Training. Practice faith, liberation from anxiety and spiritual hunger in your covenant family - like a smart phone, faith, freedom and desire are “Apps for Lent.”
Assessing the State of Your Union - Let’s me take your temperature, put you on the scales, pull out the stethoscope and diagnose our marriage health. If there are problems in these five areas then there is a problem with your marriage.
1) Communication - Do you and your spouse talk regularly about every aspect of your life?
2) Money-Management - Are there tensions relating to keeping track/using money, or your debt?
3) Values and Practices in Parenting/Children - Are there problems with your children’s attitudes and respect of one or either parent?
4) In-laws/Extended Family - Do you have happy, peaceful relationships with your inlaws/extended family? Do you and your spouse differ on time and relationships to ext. family?
5) Sexual Intimacy - If you were completely honest, are you fulfilled and if not, why not?
Experiencing Marriage Millennium - The picture of the role of husband and wife in Eph. 5 is familiar, as well as the duties of wives submitting and respecting their husbands and husbands sacrificially and tenderly loving their wives. I need not persuade anyone (here) of this. However, insight and inspiration can be gleaned from two profound (eschatological) considerations from the text. 1) A godly husband shows the glories of the complete salvation of Christ, The husband parallels Christ in all of Church history in maturing, beautifying and finally glorifying the Bride. Husbands who sacrifice themselves by initiating non-self-serving means of care imitate Christ. The stress is on the husband. 2) A godly wife shows the beauty of the whole story of redemption. The intentional obedience of the wife in righteousness is picture frame showing in a moment the grand story of salvation. Husbands are responsible for their wives, but wives are not responsible for their husbands. They are responsible to their husbands.
Exhortation: No husband or wife is equal to the task of living out the grand story of redemption. No husband is Christ. No wife is the glorified Church. This drives us back to faith in Christ, freedom from our fears, and deeper desire for Christ.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more