“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. The man, you see, is the head of the woman, just as the Messiah, too, is head of the Church. He is himself the savior of the body. But, just as the church is subject to the Messiah, in the same way women should be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as the Messiah loved the church, and gave himself for it, so that he could make it holy, cleansing it by washing it with water through the word. He did this in order to present the church to himself in brilliant splendour, without a single spot or blemish or anything of the kind – that it might be holy and without blame. That’s how husbands ought to love their own wives, just as they love their own bodies. Someone who loves his wife loves himself. After all, nobody ever hates his own flesh: he feeds it and takes care of it, just as the Messiah does with the church, because we are parts of his body. ‘That’s why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two become one flesh.’ The hidden meaning in this saying is very deep; but I am reading it as referring to the Messiah and the Church. Anyway, each one of you must love your wife as you love yourself; and the wife must see that she respects her husband.” – Ephesians 5:22-33
What does marriage have to do with Ephesians?
If you were to sum up the book of Ephesians in one word, what would it be? I know mine: deep. You’ve been in the book for a while and are reaching the end, and I'm certain you would agree with me that “deep” just about sums it up. In chapter 1 you have heavy Biblical and theological teachings like God’s absolute sovereignty in all things, predestination, foreknowledge, adoption, eternal security, and glorification. In chapter 2 you have justification, total depravity, unconditional election, and reconciliation. And chapters 3, 4, 5 and 6 can be summed in a word: sanctification. Sanctification isn’t hard to understand in Ephesians: it is putting into practice everything Paul has written about in chapters 1 & 2. Simply put: what does your life look like when you've been foreknown, predestined, elected, justified and adopted into the family of God through the person and work of Jesus? And, by the way, what it looks like is not squeaky-clean living, otherwise why would Paul even need to write this stuff to Christians? Sanctification is a messy process for messy people: it is you, the sinner, becoming who you already are, a saint, in Jesus Christ. For the most part it's a slow process, but every now and then you may receive a fast, miraculous, breakthrough in one area of your life while in another it could be painfully slow.
I'm not saying that those who don't share this lifestyle have illegitimate marriages, but I am saying that they don’t have the full blessings of marriage.
It is my belief that we just might possibly be in the deepest section of Ephesians. You can be the judge of that - I might be speaking purely subjective here. I can only say that I’ve preached on quite a few different topics before: God’s sovereignty in all things, predestination, miracles and physical healing, election, eternal security, death, and even Hell. But this is my first sermon on the topic of marriage and it almost broke my brain.
No command can be truly followed unless it is first correctly understood.