Home Bible Study

"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Friday, August 17, 2018

Ephesians 5:22-33 (Lesson 30)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

Established November 2008                                                 Published Weekly on Friday

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (1Timothy 2:3-4)

Ephesians (5:22-33)                                                               (Lesson 30)

Welcome to Home Bible Study. 

To get the most out of your investment (marriage) the husband and wife must invest in it.”

  God’s design for marriage (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:21-33) has been hotly contested (challenged) and maligned by individuals within and without the church since the first century.  For example this particular passage under study is often proof-texted to sanction male control in the home.  It doesn’t take much effort to turn the writings of scripture around to suit an individual’s personal agenda.  This too has been occurring since day one.  However, if you’ll consider the complete context of this passage you’ll discover Paul didn’t say “the husband is the head of his wife and she is subject to his every whim.”   Context remains king.  Paul’s initial command be filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18 is vitally important to this passage of scripture and must be included if were to appreciate and understand the commands that follow:   

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 

Here we find Paul’s broader theological concern, live life in the Spirit, thus the first principle he’s asserting is the husband and wife are to “Be filled with the Spirit. Let’s be clear, Paul’s not talking about an out-of- body experience, babbling in an incoherent  language, or rolling around on the church floor as though you’re having an epileptic episode; instead he’s saying “be led by the Spirit; under His control.”  In verses 5:21-33 he explains how the husband, wife, and their children are to apply this principle to their marriage, their family, and their workplace. 

Since this section of scripture is particularly misinterpreted and misunderstood, I decided to park on it to ensure all the saints in Christ are in harmony with God’s Word.

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Please open your Bible to Ephesians 5:23-33.

Marriage is Like Christ and the Church

Husbands love your wives, (how) just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Why), so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the (one true) church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy (set apart) and blameless.  So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.  FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH (Genesis 2:24).  This (what) mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.  Nevertheless, each individual (member) among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

Let’s begin with the basics; the risen Lord (and not Paul) commands wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord (5:22) For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, (5:23). 

The Koine Greek word for headship is (Kephale).  It doesn’t mean “shared authority” it means, “Leadership; one-directional authority.  We find this word elsewhere in scripture and it means the same thing:

For the Son of Man is Lord (Kephale) of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8).

…and in Him you have been made complete, and He (the risen Lord) is the head over all rule and authority; (Colossians 2:19).

But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman… (1 Corinthians 11:3a).

For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of His church (5:23).

There are more Bible verses expressing the same message.  I chose these because the principle being denied, misinterpreted, and questioned is communicated in plain language.  Now, people are prone to insert their opinion into these statements and others, but God’s Word is not altered, ever.    

So, here’s the thing, headship in the home does not mean the husband is to run it like boot camp; where he says, “Jump,” and his family responds, “How high” while trembling in fear.  Those who believe this are not being led by the Spirit of God.  They’re led by the flesh and that’s rarely if ever a good thing.  Biblically speaking, “headship” involves displaying the “fruit of the Spirit:” beginning with sacrificial love.  The offshoots of agape love are:  joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  All these spiritual traits should be visible in the Believer’s home along with accountability, compassion, and management:

He (the husband of one wife) must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (Why) but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God (1 Timothy 3:4-5).

Here Paul is addressing Timothy’s concern re:  the qualifications of those who were being considered for eldership in the local church.  Paul said, “He must be able to manage his own household.”  The Koine Greek word for manage is Proistemi (pro-is’-tay-mee), Verb, Strong’s Greek #4291, meaning:  to be over, to superintend, preside over, or to care for. 

Ultimately the husband is responsible to provide food, clothing, and shelter for his family (1 Timothy 5:8); but the list doesn’t end there.  As I said earlier, he is to love his wife sacrificially.  He is to be dedicated to his wife (5:31); he is to be faithful to his wife (Matthew 5:28); he is to be kind to his wife (Colossians 3:19); and he should always bear in mind the wise counsel of King Solomon “An excellent wife who can find?  She is more precious than jewels” (Proverbs 31:10).

Therefore, the excellent wife and her husband will make decisions together.  The wife’s advice, suggestions, and warnings need to be considered in the decision making process.  What’s more, they should be carried out if they hold merit.  The husband and wife will discuss the problem, whatever that might be, and make a decision as to the proper course of action to take.  But there will be times when the husband and wife disagree.  When this occurs, the husband is to have the final say.  Why? He will be held accountable at the Judgment (Bema) Seat of Christ for everything that transpires in their home; the good and the bad:

So we aspire to please Him, whether we are here in this body or away from it.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive his due for the things done in the body, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:9-11).

So, I pray you understand this is serious business.  Paul’s saying the Lord will hold husbands accountable for their actions and their inactions in the marriage relationship. 

Spiritual Leadership

It’s not true in every case, but the area where most husbands reveal their weakness is in setting a good example for their family in regard to spiritual matters.  By the way, my mother assumed this role.  Dad was wrapped up in himself.  We’d never attend church if it wasn’t for mom’s prodding.  So let’s be clear on this matter it’s the husband’s role to lead his family to church, in Bible study, and in prayer.  A godly man provides an environment where each member of the family can grow in grace and biblical knowledge of their Savior, rightly divided, of course (2 Timothy 2:15).    

Except for an occasional prayer before meals, I never saw my parents pray together.  I know my mother prayed, after hours, when she was alone, but I didn’t see my father pray at any time.  They were married but living separate lives.  We would come together as a family for special events or an outing at the lake, but these were rare.  My mother took care of the home and us children, and dad cared for himself, except for those duties he assigned to my mother.  After 25 years of marriage she discovered dad was cheating on her, so because of these indiscretions and other issues in their relationship, she filed for divorce.   My father didn’t contest it; he remarried a year later and moved to Georgia.  My mother had suitors (male friends) but she never remarried.  Mom understood marriage is about two people deciding to be united for a life time, per scripture, and she honored this command: 

But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried; or else be reconciled to her husband – that is kiss and make up), and that the husband should not divorce his wife… Only as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk.  And so I direct in all the churches (1 Corinthians 7:10-17).

Divorce is not an option for true Believers; instead they are to reconcile their differences.  Think about this.  If God can reconcile the human race to Himself after all the horrible things mankind has done in the flesh, why can’t a husband and wife forgive reconciling their beloved?  That being understood, clearly, a couple should give considerable deliberation to the sanctity of marriage before they “jump in with both feet.”  After all, you’re not joining a gym; God said marriage ends only when either the husband or wife dies.  The unconformed world holds a different view, but this does not negate God’s will for you and your marriage.   

Men and women are equal in that they are both created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).   But in the partnership of two spiritually equal human beings, the man bears the primary responsibility to lead their partner in a God-glorifying direction.  This is what Paul is teaching the Ephesians (and us).  He uses the model of the Lord’s headship of the church, who gave Himself up for her, (5:25) to steer us in the right direction.  Evangelical feminism argues God created man and woman as equals in the sense that excludes male leadership, but these folks tend to overlook what the scriptures say.  Returning to the beginning in Genesis 3, we find male headship/leadership being imposed upon the woman by the Creator God Himself because she was deceived by the serpent; the LORD judged her and she was penalized for this: 

For Adam was formed first, then Eve.  And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman who was deceived and fell into transgression (1 Timothy 2:13-14). 

So, once again, we have these different roles in marriage because God designed it this way.  Furthermore, the role of the husband and his wife has not been rescinded.   That being said, although men and women are equal in that both were created in God’s image, they do not possess the same abilities.   Most people recognize the fact that men and women are not the same.  However, some people will argue the point, but I’ve yet to see a man nurture a child in their womb for nine months and then give birth!  Studies have shown men and women are different in many ways.  They think differently, they process emotions differently, they make decisions differently, and they absorb knowledge differently.  Women have been found to utilize both sides of their brain, while the man uses only one side of his.  Despite these differences and others when men and women unite in marriage they complement one another, and it’s a beautiful thing. 

From this we learn “Two heads are better than one” in the marriage relationship.  If man could have accomplished everything on his own, the LORD God would not have created the woman.  The LORD God said, “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a helper (help meet) suitable for him (Genesis 2:18).  Up to this point in time God had declared everything “good” or “very good,” but look again at what He said here, “It is not good for man to be alone…”   If all the man needed was friendship, the LORD could have blessed him with a Labrador retriever.  But the man’s emotional and physical needs exceeded friendship.  This is why the LORD made him a suitable helper.  The other thing worth your consideration is both the man and woman were designed by the LORD to be social (communal) creatures.  This was necessary to fulfill the LORD’s command “multiply and fill the earth.  The man certainly couldn’t accomplish this alone. 

Let’s look at verses 5:26-30.

So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,

Here Paul’s saying husbands are to love their own wives with a sacrificial love.  They are to care for their wives and protect her, as Jesus Christ also does his church.  He goes on to say husbands are to nourish and cherish her as he does his own body.  I’ve heard the phrase “love, honor, and cherish” included in the marriage vows, and the couple both responded, “I do.”  However I don’t believe they know what this means.  Nourish means to grow and cherish means to warm.  Thus, love, honor, and cherish isn’t based on your spouse’s behavior or subject to one’s emotions (1 Corinthians 13).  A Believing husband should do his best to nourish and cherish his wife in the love of  Christ, as he would his own body, and tend to her emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual needs 24/7/365 (5:29; Colossians 3:19). 

It’s not true in every case, but Paul’s saying if the husband dedicates this type of attention to his wife, she will naturally reciprocate by following his spiritual leadership.  Even though his wife may be equipped in biblical knowledge, the various church doctrines, their application to life, and teaches these things to her children, a husband must be diligent to oversee and guide the spiritual training of his family (Ephesians 6:4).   

Let’s move on to verses 5:31-32.

… because we are members of His body.  FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH (Genesis 2:24).  This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

The American home is the bedrock of society, government, and the Church, of course.
If the home is under attack, whether from within as a result of conflict (sin) or from without due to Satan’s evil intentions, it will negatively affect every facet of human relations.  The family’s problems become the world’s problems.  If you dismiss this information without so much as a thought, consider the state of the USA today before you exit:  AIDs, abortion, addictions, a bloated federal government that spends trillions of dollars annually accomplishing very little, division, drugs, hate groups, juvenile delinquency, immorality, physical and sexual abuse, swollen welfare programs, and teen suicide; to name a few.  Consider the Roman Empire the most powerful and feared nation on this planet in its day; it wasn’t conquered from without; moral decay from within was its downfall.
   
American families have tried to succeed without God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit in their lives and it simply isn’t working folks.   All we’re doing is repeating Rome’s fatal mistake.  There is only one way to turn our nation around.  It needs to return to the biblical principles this nation was founded on, in awe of God, especially the foundation fundamentals of God’s original design for the family. 

Preparation for Marriage

The lost world’s procedure for selecting a mate goes something like this:  appearance, compatibility, education, and let’s not forget their financial status; are they living with mom and dad or are they industrious, self-supported, or better yet, rich!  Unfortunately, this concept has infiltrated God’s one church.  Even the Believer will stop and consider these same factors, picturing a successful marriage with all or most of them accounted for.    
But when your child is crying at 0230 hours, one’s appearance is a non-factor.  What matters is who will sacrifice sleep by getting up out of bed to take care of the infant.  The other thing is even though this nation spends billions of dollars annually on products that will help people beautify themselves, remain looking young, looks are the first thing to disappear from this list.  No one can stop the aging process.  So, you’d better have more than appearance going for you.   

There is also nothing wrong with compatibility, i.e. both people enjoy the beach, dancing, and going to the movies, and to church.  But do things matter when the husband returns home early with the news he’s been laid off from work, or has been seriously injured on the job, and there’s a stack of unpaid bills on the counter.  I don’t have a money-tree in my yard and I’m quite sure no one else does.   Infidelity is responsible for the failure of most marriages in this nation, but money concerns follow a close second. 

So, in a nutshell, these human traits aren’t necessarily bad, however, the couple should consider whether or not they are going to build their future together based upon God’s revealed will, or on the shifting sand:

"And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:25).

In short, Believers, in Christ Jesus should begin their search for a life-long mate according to the pattern of God’s Word.  The four essentials for a Christ-centered marriage are:  salvation, spirituality, convictions, and the desire to solve life’s problems biblically.  People are not to be unequally yoked:

Do not become unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness?  Or what fellowship has light with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14).

 Although it is not a biblical prerequisite that a marriage partner possess all these graces, they do provide the means through which the marriage relationship will function smoothly and thrive.  I’ll give you one example of this:  if a young woman is a Bible believing Grace Believer and marries a devout Baptist, who fully intends to die a Baptist, he naturally will express a strong conviction about the church they will attend.  She has her convictions and he has his, but this matter becomes even more complicated when the little ones arrive on the scene.  Which church will they attend? 

The wife could compromise her beliefs, but this runs contrary to her convictions, which run just as deep as her Baptist husband’s.  They could attend different churches, but this divides the family; so that’s not a good thing.  One other option is to stay at home, but this choice runs contrary to scripture which clearly says:

Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:25). 

Do you understand what this book is saying?  If you’re unequally yoked, your marriage will not thrive and the consequences are likely to be dire if not devastating.  And yet, the world-at-large continues to pursue unconformity and the lusts of the flesh either due to ignorance or hardheartedness re:  God and His Blueprint for a Successful Marriage.

(To be continued)

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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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Friday, August 10, 2018

Ephesians 5:25-33 (Lesson 29)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

Established November 2008                                                 Published Weekly on Friday AM

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (1Timothy 2:3-4)

Ephesians (5:25-33)                                                               (Lesson 29)

Welcome to HBS.

Last week Paul explained God’s design for the family and the role of the believing wife.  I mentioned the joining of a man and a woman in marriage is actually the union of two sinners, saved by faith (alone) in Paul’s gospel (Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  So, people should not be surprised when they experience disagreements, disappointments, and disputes in their marriage.

Ladies, you’re not always going to see Christ Jesus in your husband; that’s a given.
But instead of criticizing him and giving him the silent treatment, remember what the Apostle Peter said:  In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.  Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God (1 Peter 3).

Even if your husband is disobedient to God’s expressed will, you are to win him without a word by your chaste and respectful behavior and your encouraging prayers.

I continue to point out, it’s all about keeping the Main Thing the Main thing as you walk worthy of the calling with which you have been called.  Paul has taught these folks in Ephesus (and us) the Lord is the head of the church thus we are to submit to His one-directional authority, in all things.  This new life we have in Christ Jesus is not about us, it about bringing glory and honor to God, which is your reasonable act of service (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:20).

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light (Colossians 1:9-12).

He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.  For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven (Colossians 1:18-20).

Therefore what is the Church’s proper response to God’s expressed will?  The answer:  Amen (So be it).  Your Word is truth!”  This is more than just knowing about God and His Son and understanding Pauline (church) doctrine, we’re to live out our lives according to the God’s expressed will 24/7/365:

He made known to us the (what) mystery of His will, according to His kind intention (Deuteronomy 29:29) which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration (dispensation – KJV) suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, in the heavens and things on the earth (Ephesians 1:9-10; Proverbs 1:5, 25:2; Colossians 1:27).

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Marriage is like Christ and the Church

I opened this lesson talking about repentance because our Apostle Paul has been stressing the need for change (changing one’s mind) in order to walk worthy (or their present sanctification) since the start of chapter 4.  Continuing with that thought, at 5:22 thru 6:9 he shows the Ephesian saints three areas where their faith is to be lived out:  their marriages, their homes, and in the workplace, in the fear of Christ.  Paul’s not saying the Ephesians (and us) are to live in fear of God.  He’s saying they are to recognize the authority of God with awe and reverence (in Hebrew – this word is Yare, meaning:  to fear, be afraid, or to revere) along with complete submission to His expressed will:  Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28-29). 

In short, considering all Jesus Christ had accomplished for the saints in Ephesus (through His sacrificial death - Colossians 1:13-14), a reasonable response would be to live out the one faith (4:4-6) relying on the Holy Spirit’s power to walk obediently in all His commands.  After all, if Believers aren’t being transformed by God’s revealed will in their homes, there’s a good chance they won’t positively affect those they meet outside the home (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).  Evidently this church was not making a positive impression on their pagan counterparts, thus these instructions are to bring about change.

So now we’ll pick up where we left off last week.  Here Paul’s teaching the believing husbands how they are to walk blamelessly in marriage.  Clearly the husbands needed to hear this message about changing their thinking re: their role in the marriage relationship. 

Husbands love your wives, (how) just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Why), so that He (God) might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the (one true) church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy (set apart) and blameless.  So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.  FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH (Genesis 2:24).  This (what) mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.  Nevertheless, each individual (member) among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband (Ephesians 5:25-33).

First, let’s remember Paul’s subject is the marriage walk, in love and this is more about glorifying God in what Believers do and say than it is about them.  Remember Paul’s statement none of this is possible unless the Believer renews his or her mind, (changes the way they think) while being controlled by the Holy Spirit (5:18).  This is in keeping with what Paul said in verse 5:17:  So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  

Previously we learned God commanded the wives to be subject to their husband’s headship (authority).  Here, God said the husband’s chief responsibility in the marriage relationship is to love his wife, as Christ also loved the church.  Paul mentions this three different times in this section of scripture. 

Love her as Christ loved the church (5:25)

Cherish her as you would cherish your own body (5:28)

Love her as you love yourself (5:33)

According to God’s plan for a successful marriage, if the husbands fulfill their chief responsibility in marriage, the wives will fulfill theirs.   Think about it.  What woman wouldn’t want a husband’s love that truly mimics Christ’s love for His church?  Of course, if she does not respond lovingly to your Christlike love, there is something terribly wrong and this must be addressed. 

Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her (5:25) – Note Paul did not say husbands control your wives, treating them as subordinates.  The flesh isn’t supposed to be driving this bus (in control), remember?  If you’re Spirit-filled, He’s in control (Galatians 5:16-17).  And if the Spirit of God is in control and you’re dependent on God’s Word Paul said you’re worthy walk will be recognized by the fruit of the Spirit, and the first item on this list is sacrificial love, followed by:  joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control 

For “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh (our old man) with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also (do what) walk (controlled) by the Spirit (Galatians 5:24-25).

Then there’s this comment from Paul “…and gave Himself up for her.  The Lord Jesus Christ willingly laid down His life for the church.  There is no greater expression of love than this, which is why certain writers of scripture comment on it (John 15:13; Romans 5:8).  But here’s the thing, do husbands really love their wives in this manner.  Not so much.  The best a man can say is, “I’m trying.”  Of course, wives know their husbands are very trying.  Even though this book says all true Believers are perfected in Christ Jesus (Colossians 2:10), and this is how God sees us, husbands and wives should know on this side of glory we’re not going to see this.  Thorns, thistles, and strife are representative of all corruption in this world through Adam’s disobedience (Genesis 3:16-19).    

According to the eternal purpose of God, Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it to which Paul adds:  so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 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 (set apart to God) and blameless. 

Here Paul gives the purpose or goal of Christ’s love for the church in three distinct clauses:  1) so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 2) that He might present to Himself the church (ekklesia) in all her glory, 3) that she would be holy and blameless…

The Koine Greek word for sanctify is Hagiazo (hag-ee-ad’-zo), Verb, Strong’s Greek #37, meaning:  separation of the Believer from evil; or to set apart for God’s purposes.  There are three types of sanctification in scripture.  First, there is past sanctification, which happens the very moment you believe the gospel.  This is the state of holiness imputed to the saints (Believers), in Christ:  To the church (ekklesia) of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified (past tense) in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours (1 Corinthians 1:2; Romans 6:11, 14, 16:17-18). 

Then there’s present sanctification.  Some people refer to this a progressive sanctification, but either or, this takes a life-time to achieve.  As we gain more knowledge of God and His Son, we grow in grace.  We are steadily readjusting our thinking re: what God said and becoming like Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).  Paul’s talking about a process of daily spiritual renewal:  and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him (and her) – Colossians 3:10).  Our Apostle Paul stated he had not yet reached perfection, but he “pressed on” to attain the goal of becoming like Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 3:12).  

The third and final stage is future sanctification.  When a Believer dies, their spirit goes to be with God in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).  Now, it’s a biblical fact that no unclean thing can be in God’s presence (Revelation 21:27), so the Believer is perfected at that point.  The whole person, our body, soul, and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23) will be fully complete when the Lord Jesus Christ returns at the Rapture.  This is when Believers will receive glorified bodies (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:39-49).

So, in practical language, sanctifying your wife means the husband must erect a protective fence around your love for your wife.  God wants His church to be all it can be, given the present circumstances, and husbands are to see that their wives become all she can be, in Christ Jesus.  This means you only have eyes for her; flirtation with other women is prohibited.  This includes friendships with other women at work or elsewhere that don’t include your wife.  They are a bad idea because although they may seem harmless to you your wife may hold the opposite view.   Point blank:  anything that might interfere with your marriage is to be avoided. 

The husband’s love for his wife should parallel the love Jesus Christ has for His church.
That is a standard impossible to attain unless you are walking closely with the Spirit of God.  You’re not going to get there on your own power, in other words.  Husbands love your wives not because she’s the most attractive woman you’ve ever met, she does great things for you, or because she’s an intelligent partner.  As wonderful as those things are, the chief reason you’re to love her exclusively is because God has placed this command in your heart. 

Of course, everyone is a bit unlovable now and again, but this is where Paul’s statement “and gave Himself up for her” comes into play.  Men, it’s not about what you view as being right or wrong.  From time to time you’ll have to swallow your pride in order to make those necessary sacrifices.  Remember the words of Paul:  “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each one of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

having cleansed her (how) by the washing of water with the word – at the last supper Jesus began to wash His disciples feet in the upper room (John 13:1-17).  Peter objected when the Lord came to him saying, “Never shall You wash my feet!”  Jesus responded saying, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”  To which Peter answered, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”  Jesus then explained the true meaning of being washed saying, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 

Our salvation is once and done, we do not need to be saved often.  However the life long process of present sanctification is one of washing from the stain of sin experienced as we go about walking in this world.  Peter and the rest of the apostles were saved; they belonged to Christ, but Judas was not counted amongst them.  All of our sins were taken away by Jesus sacrificial act.  But we all, including our wives, need the continual washing of water with the Word of God.  Husbands, you are the spiritual leader in the home.  Should your wife be an unbeliever the daily washing of water with the word, along with your Christlikeness in all things pertaining to the one faith, may just be the ticket that draw her away from the world and towards Jesus Christ:  This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (1Timothy 2:3-4)

… 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 (set apart to God) and blameless.  

Holiness does not mean perfect; it means separate, set apart for God’s purpose, and husbands have a role to play in this.  As the spiritual leader in the home, husbands are to lead their wives to church, in personal Bible study, and in prayer (not just before meals).   The husband’s spiritual walk is to mimic Christ’s (5:1); again this isn’t possible unless you are allowing the Holy Spirit to control your thinking, your actions and your words (4:25-32). 

Ephesians 5:28-30

So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.

I understand some people are not satisfied with their body.  Our culture promotes beauty and not ordinary.  The multi-billion dollar cosmetic industry testifies to this truth.  I’m not saying, a person should not paint the barn door every now and again, but to be obsessed by beauty and those things that beautify without tending to the needs of their spirit and soul is a bit foolish.  Given that, I don’t know of anyone who truly hates their bodies they just desire it to be better than it presently is.  So, Paul’s said nourish and cherish the marriage relationship just as Christ also does the church. 

Paul again brings in the example of Jesus Christ at the end of verses 29-30.  He cares for His church because we are members of His body.  A husband is to care for his wife because she is a part of him – united as one, now flesh of my flesh.  I’m not sure why Paul repeats this quote from Genesis 2:24 again in verse 31:   FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. 

He does say, “This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and His church.”  So, this probably has something to do with his statement in verses 28-29:  Love their own wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his own wife loves himself; cherish her as Christ also does the church.

Paul’s third command to love your wife is found in verse 33.  He must know men seldom pay attention, so he repeats husbands love your wives the third time:  Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.”

The arguments here are basically the same.  Everyone loves themselves.  One of the more foolish things being promoted by psychologists and our society is the notion about the importance of self-esteem – the idea that for you to accomplish something you have to feel good about yourself.  In reality the term as used by modern society is nothing more than another word for sinful pride.  Certainly there is importance in developing confidence in order to reach certain goals, but that confidence does not have to be in you.  It could be in someone else.  As true Believers, our confidence needs to be in God that He is able to accomplish His will through us – as feeble and failing as we may be.

There is no lack and has never been a lack of self-esteem in the human race - “Pride goes before the fall.”  Instead it is just the opposite.  Humans are by nature self-centered and proud.  We love ourselves.  The Bible uses that fact as a prod to get us to understand we need to love others.  The general command given by Jesus in several different passages is we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Here Paul applies that directly to every husband.  You are to love your wife as you do yourself.

(To be continued)

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