Eph 5:25-28 “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.”
Paul continues to admonish those who are filled with the Spirit, revere God, and serve (submit to) one another (Eph 5:18-21). He has instructed the wives to submit to their husbands in this same vein of being filled with the Spirit and revering God. We should see in this that the marriage union is about grace and love instead of law and requirement.
He now addresses us husbands directly and commands that we love our wives. His admonishment further explains that we are to love our wives as Christ loves the church. The same admonishment that Jesus gave His disciples (“as I have loved you, love ye also one another” –Joh 15:12) is also at the root of husbands loving their wives. Jesus did not love the church for what He could get from her; He loved the church and gave himself for her. This is the way we are commanded to love our wives.
While we should be willing to give ourselves for our wives in every way we can, we must recognize that what Christ did for the church (in other words, for all of us, male and female, Jew and Greek, who are the called according to His purpose) is beyond our ability to do for others. Jesus has made us holy (sanctified); He has washed us with the water that rains down upon us (washes) from above by the word. He has, by His own might, caused us to be glorious and stands beside (presents) us. There is no blemish, no flaw, and no imperfection to be found in us because He gave Himself for us!
Although I cannot cause my wife to be any of these things, in the love of Jesus I can see her as being all these things in my life. I know that I have been blessed to have a wife that He has sanctified and cleansed; it is my responsibility to treat her as such. I should (and do) rejoice that I can stand beside her and declare with both word and action that this is my wife, and I will do everything in my power to protect her and do her good!
We do love our bodies. We exercise and diet to have an attractive and healthy body; if we don’t do these things then we sit and plan in our minds when we are going to start. We spend money on certain clothing styles in the hope that it will both flatter and protect our bodies. We keep first aid items in our homes because we love our bodies. When first aid and over-the-counter remedies are not enough, we go to the doctor. We buy lotions and creams and body washes because we love our bodies.
Loving our wives as our own bodies is not merely a suggestion. The word “ought” carries the idea of an obligation. Failing to love our wives as our own bodies is not just an “uh-oh;” it is a moral failure on our part and a sin before God.
The way we treat our wives is a direct indication of what we really think of ourselves. Satan will tell us that we are dirty and worthless. The word of God here tells us that we are washed and sanctified. We are not to call common or unclean that which God has cleansed, and that includes ourselves! I am not advocating that we think more highly of ourselves than we ought: I am saying that we should recognize what God has done in our lives and live accordingly.
May we set our eyes and hearts on Jesus as our example of how we should love our wives, recognizing all He has done for us!