I COMMIT TO YOU (An explanation of Ephesians 5:21-28) Part One
I am not so much of a movie fan. I know that’s surprising because I’m a writer, but somehow I don’t really like movies. I hardly watch movies unless it’s comedy or a movie with captivating story line. Watching an episode of a series recently, there was something that really got to me and I want to talk a little about it.
There was a lady and a guy who were getting married. They had been through a lot. They both had an accident which left the guy paralyzed yet the lady stood by him. It got to a point where things got messy, so they broke up. It was actually as a result of something the lady did. However, the guy was later able to forgive her and they came back together.
Now they were getting married. As they stood before the congregation, their minds went as far back as when they first met. They reminisced on all they had gone through and their final words to each other were “I commit to you.”
“Wow”, the word left my mouth. I couldn’t believe hearing that. That was what they vowed to do and that was actually all they needed to do: to commit to each other.
The words ” I commit to you” caught my attention because I had seen the same admonition to married people in the bible. I don’t mean to draw an inference from a movie. No! The Word of God is what instructs us. I just want to use the “commitment scene” to brings our minds to something very important.
In Ephesians 5, when Paul gave instructions for married men and women, I’m sure he didn’t mean it to be a text to be used to “condemn” or rub in the face of husbands and wives anytime there’s a relationship talk or a marriage ceremony.
He didn’t mean for it to be used in an argumentative way where the man is told “Love” and the woman is told “Submit”. As a matter of fact, he wasn’t even spelling out different roles for wives and husbands. He was communicating the same role for both of them; commitment.
Be patient with me here. I want us to look at this carefully. Now, before we delve into the text, let’s note that he used Christ and the church to talk to the believers about marriage. We know how God so loved the world and sent Jesus to save us. The bible says that when we were helpless, Christ died for the ungodly (Rom. 5:7). He decided to stick to us even when we were ungodly. He was made sin with our sin. He took our shame, yet he didn’t give up. He decided to complete the work needed to give us salvation. He did the work needed to perfect us.
What do you see in all of these? I’m sure you see commitment. Christ showed so much commitment to us. As the head of the church, he laid down his life. Such irony! Why should the head be one to go down? Is the head not supposed to be up, giving instructions all the time? Well, that’s how we think of headship in our natural world. But Christ, though, the head came down. He laid his life for us because that was what we needed.
Now having received him, we are admonished to behold him only, seek the things above and not things on earth (Col. 3:1-2). We are to renew our minds and yield to his promptings and workings in us so that his life is seen through us.
We are to continue in the knowledge of Christ no matter the circumstances. We are to do the good works that we are created to do.This is because he is still at work in us giving us the desire and ability to do all that he wants us to do.
What again does this spell concerning what the church is to do? Don’t you see commitment? We are to stick to Christ no matter and not yield to cunning lies that exhibit morality but aren’t based on Christ.
So using the Christ and the church as an inference, Paul talks to the married men and women.
submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
The word “submit” here means to yield, to subject, to arrange under. When he told both the man and woman to submit to each other, he was actually telling them to take a certain position concerning each other. This is a position where they give themselves to each other. That’s yielding or submission.
Now this giving of themselves to each other should be in fear or reverence to God. So the man and woman are to give themselves to each other considering their identity in Christ and the purpose of God for their lives.
He goes further to explain what he meant by them submitting to each other in the fear of God. He begins with the woman.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord. As the church is to yield to Christ or offer herself as a living sacrifice, so is the wife to do so to her husband. The wife is to give herself to her husband just as she has given herself to the Lord. This talks of commitment or devotion to the husband.
The husband is the head of the woman as Christ is the head of the church. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives be in every thing. We know headship refers to leadership and the bible talks of the husband as the head of the woman as Christ is the head of the church. Then he talks of submission as a result of this.
Using the analogy of the head and the body, a working body means that there’s yielding or devotion from both parts. Here, talking to the women, he tells them to be yielded or devoted to their husbands in all things. That means that she is to take a position where she always seeks the good of her husband.
Now “Head” doesn’t only refers to leadership but also source. Let me touch a little on “source”. Remember that Eve came from Adam. In Genesis, God mentioned that the two shall become one. Because the woman came from the man, the two can only work in fulfilling God’s purpose when they are one.
This is same with the church. Because the church came out from Christ, we can only work together when we are one. Through redemption, we have been made one with the Lord (1 Cor 6:17). Now we are to yield to him so that he works with us. In the same way, through marriage, the man and woman have become one. So they are to yield to each other so that together they can fulfill the purpose of God for their lives. So he tells the wife, submit to your husband in all things. That means yield or be committed or be devoted to your husband in all things.
This is the position the wife is to take. She is to be devoted to the husband all the time. That means that she is to seek his good, stick by his side and love him unconditionally with the ability of Christ in her.
Paul, then, talks to the husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church. That means show the same commitment to your wife, that Christ showed to the church by becoming one with her in sin, cleansing her and presenting her as a glorious church. So the man here too is to be devoted to his wife, seek her good, stick with her and love her unconditionally by the ability of Christ in him.
He mentions that men ought to love their wives as their own bodies. Here again, the oneness of the husband and wife is identified. The husband being committed to his wife is actually he being committed to himself. Because the two have become one, commitment to his wife shows commitment to himself.
To be continued…
You are deeply loved