Tuesday, December 13, 2011

5 Ways Husbands Can Sanctify Their Wives

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
-- Ephesians 5:25-27

1. Put Her First
Sacrifice is in view here, as is the understanding of "sanctify" in the sense of "setting apart for special use," as in consecration. Husbands honor their wives not among others, but before and above others.

2. "Gospel" Her
Yes, I know it's not a verb, but you get my meaning here. The passage says Jesus sanctifies the church by "washing" her with the water of the word. The understanding of "sanctify" as "cleanse" is in view here, and a husband who wants to sanctify his wife will share with her the word of God, speak to her the word of God, remind her who she is in Christ, forgive her sins, give her the opportunity to forgive his in word-driven repentance, and in general make sure she is gently, lovingly covered in the Scriptures.

3. Protect Her

Husbands will present their wives in some way to the Lord when that roll is called up yonder as an evidence of their own faithfulness to him. Do we want to be proven true children of God, full of faith in Jesus and his gospel? Then we will show the fruit of faithful husbanding, which is a wife "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing." No, we cannot sanctify our wives the way the Spirit does, and no, neither our salvation nor our wife's salvation is contingent upon our perfect husbanding (thank God!), but manhood is responsibility-taking, and this means taking the responsibility to shield our wives from sin and its temptations, accusations, attacks, unnecessary burdens, hurtful expectations and assumptions, and the like. This can mean everything from taking on housework so she gets to rest or go out with friends to warding off or rebuking people who take advantage of her. It also means no verbal, emotional, or physical abuse. It means no pornography or sexual exploitation. It means treating her and ensuring treatment of her that is gentle, loving, and edifying.

4. Serve Her
How did Jesus the King position himself over the church as its head? By becoming its servant, sacrificing to the point of death in loving service to her betterment.

5. Lead Her

This encompasses all of the above and more. Male headship requires repetitious repentance, deep humility, desperate God-reliance, and a high, passionate commitment to the grace of God for the glory of God, not the gratification of self for the glory of self. Lead, don't push. Set an example in speech and conduct. Show yourself flawed but trustworthy but God as failproof. Refuse to make excuses or pass the buck. Shoulder the burdens and take responsibility.

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Coming up: 5 Ways Wives Can Encourage Their Husbands

5 comments:

Jordan said...

Sorry to go all "John MacArthur" on you here... but...

The word sanctify here is not speaking about a progressive sanctification... in fact the word for sanctify (verb or noun) is only used progressively in the NT two or three times. The concept of progressive sanctification is rather communicated in large part by phrases and pictures. This particular passage does not lend husbands to "sanctify" their wives... it is rather a tangent that Paul goes off on, speaking about what Christ did for the church. If this were directed to husbands at this very moment, then they would indeed need to present their wives as holy and blameless... which is impossible. Only Christ can do that. Paul resumes the discussion on husbands in verse 28 when he speaks to them about loving their wives "in this manner," thus suggesting that husbands should love as much as Christ does. Christ is set forth as the example and his actions in sanctifying the church are not the prescribed method as much as an example because the husband does not have the ability to present his wife as spotless, without a wrinkle, holy, or blameless.

However, your points in this are well done - all things that are wise for the husband to do - just not from this text per say.

Jared said...

Jordan, respectfully disagree. Paul would not have introduced the thoughts with "Husbands love your wives as Christ ..." and put this theological excursion into the context of instruction to husbands and wives on godly marriage if he did not mean us to find a correlation between what Christ does for the church and what a husband does for the wife.

Of course I agree a husband cannot do for a wife what Christ can in the same way Christ can. Thus, please re-read this sentence from my post: No, we cannot sanctify our wives the way the Spirit does, and no, neither our salvation nor our wife's salvation is contingent upon our perfect husbanding. I am guessing you missed that.

My point is that the husband's care for the wife is a sanctification that reflects/resembles the way Christ sanctifies the church, not in a way that is synonymous or identical with it. And I believe Paul made this connection so that we'd see this connection, not deny it.

Joanna said...

Jared, Hope you don't mind, but I just copied and pasted your two posts on marriage - with links back to you, of course - over at my website. Thanks for your posts.

As a wife - getting bogged down in Pauline theology and etymology of "sanctification" aside - I know what I want more than anything is to stand beside my husband on Sunday mornings as we sing and worship in the word together and rest emotionally and spiritually in the thought: "He did his best for me all week. Showing up here today is so natural and easy after the way we've spent time together, spoken to each other, and lived the gospel through our service for each other this week."

I mean, that was Paul's way of explaining the Christian life to people wasn't it? Getting rid of the dichotomy of sacred v. secular.

I thought about it, and the miracle of water turning into wine at a wedding banquet makes so much sense as a depiction of the gospel: Change, reclamation, sweetness, fellowship, intimacy, fulfillment. This is what Christ offers. This is what a marriage founded on Christ's person and gifts offers. And this is what such a marriage has to offer the world.

Good stuff. Good stuff.

videos cristianos said...

Eph. 5:23-32 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything. And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God's word. We must Love each other as our Lord Saviour loves us. God bless

Spencer said...

Jared, I would really appreciate if you could expand on what #2 looks like in the context of an unbelieving (and resistant) wife