Well, it's July. So, are we done celebrating sexual perversion now that pride month is over? Maybe not. Trans woman (which means confused man), Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said last week: "Happy Pride Month, and actually, let's declare it a summer of Pride. Happy summer of Pride." A day wasn't enough. A week wasn't enough. Now a month isn't enough either.
Believers, they are doing all they can to normalize sexual perversion. Through normalizing transgenderism and the making of "trans kids," the clear goal is to legalize pedophilia in America. Some people are attempting to exchange the word pedophile for MAP or Minor-Attracted Persons. They say pedophilia should be a sexual orientation and join the LGBTQ+ community. On June 23, NYC Drag Marchers chanted "We're here, we're queer, we're coming for your children." This is their goal.
The Journal of Sex Research found that homosexual pedophiles commit about one-third of the total number of sex offenses against children. This fact is particularly disturbing. Homosexuals comprise just two percent of the population, yet are responsible for 33% of all child sexual abuse. They offend against children at 16 times the rate of the normal population. The Archives of Sexual Behavior, in a study of 229 convicted child molesters, found that "eighty-six percent of offenders against males described themselves as homosexual or bisexual."
Their bottom line is to normalize pedophilia. I believe that the way we combat this degeneracy is by living out our God given roles. When we forsake these roles, we destroy the family as God intended it to be. So, in order to preserve the family, we need to be obeying the God given principles for the family.
In our last study in Ephesians 5, we presented the responsibility of husbands to love their wives. We only looked at one verse (Ephesians 5:25), so we have eight verses to go.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, Ephesians 5:25 ESV
The Greek word used here for love is agapao. It is portrayed as a self-sacrificing, caring commitment that shows itself in seeking the highest good of the one loved. Agapao is a present tense imperative indicating continuous action. It could be translated: "keep on loving your wife."
As I said last week, this exhortation to husbands to love their wives is unique. It is not found in the Tanakh, rabbinic literature, or in the household codes of the Greco-Roman era. Agapao love was radical, it was revolutionary! It was never heard of before. This is uniquely Christian!
How are we to love our wives? The model and ground of the husband's love for his wife is Christ's love for the church ("As Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her." I think that this is one of the most difficult commands in Scripture. We are commanded to continually love our wives "AS" Christ loved the church, which means we cannot love our wives without sacrifice.
John Chrysostom, who preached in the Fourth Century, and was called "golden mouth," writes on this subject: "Hast thou seen the measure of obedience? Hear also the measure of love? Wouldst thou that thy wife would obey thee as the church doth Christ? Have care thyself for her as Christ doth the church? And if it should be needful that thou dost giveth thy life for her and be cut to pieces a thousand times or endure anything whatever, refuse it not. Yea, if thou hast suffered this thou hast not done what Christ did, for thou doest this for one whom thou wert already united. But [Christ] for her who rejected him, and hated him. He brought her to his feet by his great care; not by threats, nor fear, nor any such thing. So thou conduct thyself toward thine wife."
If you feel this is impossible, you are right. In your own strength, it is impossible. We must keep the context in mind. All of these verses reflect the results of being filled with the Holy Spirit (5:18). Without the Holy Spirit's replacing our selfishness with His fruit, which begins with love (Gal. 5:22-23), we could never make progress in loving our wives as Christ loved the church. So, if you are having problems loving your wife, the issue is that you are not being controlled by the Spirit. And if you are not being controlled by the Spirit, you are not spending enough time in the Word of God.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes, "The real cause of failure, ultimately, in marriage is always self and the various manifestations of self. Of course, that is the cause of trouble everywhere and in every realm. Self and selfishness are the greatest disrupting forces in the world" (Life in the Spirit [Baker], p. 211).
I believe that the main responsibility for setting a loving climate in the home is on the husband. Husbands, you are the head and you are to lead in the area of loving. So, if there is a problem in the home, take the responsibility for it and fix it.
Paul now goes on to demonstrate what Christ's love for the church has accomplished.
that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, Ephesians 5:26 ESV
Paul here presents the purpose or goal of Christ's love for the church by threehina purposes clauses. The first one is"That He might sanctify her." The word "sanctify" here is the Greek wordhagiazo, which means "to set apart unto God for His purposes."
Traditionally, sanctification is categorized into three aspects:
Positional Sanctification. This happens at the moment of salvation. It is that state of holiness imputed to the Christian at the moment of their conversion to Christ. Yahweh sets us apart for Himself. Paul writes:
To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Yeshua, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Yeshua the Christ, both their Lord and ours: 1 Corinthians 1:2 ESV
Progressive Sanctification. Most of the church views this as our personal growth in Christ. But biblically, progressive sanctification is the process by which Yahweh was forming the first-century church into the image of Christ.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
If you look at the context, this is talking about the Old Covenant glory and the New Covenant glory.
For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 2 Corinthians 3:9 ESV
These are the two glories, and the transition saints were moving from one to the other. Those who lived from 30AD to 70AD were being transformed into the image of Christ:
in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Ephesians 2:21-22 ESV
We see in verse 21 that the building is still in the process of construction. It"grows into a holy temple." The present tense verb shows the continuance of the growth process, indicating a living organism that continues to increase. Verse 22 talks about the ongoing process of the building being built. This growing process can only be understood by someone who understands fulfilled eschatology. Only he knows what time it is. This building is no longer being built. It was finished in AD 70, and Yahweh moved in. Most see this as a process that is still happening. But this transformation was complete in AD 70.
Ultimate sanctification. According to tradition, this is said to be that state of holiness that we will not attain to in this life but will realize when we are finally in the presence of God. This is also called glorification. It is the church's being made completely holy at the moment of Christ's return. This happened in AD 70 and was made manifest by the destruction of Jerusalem. Every aspect of this sanctification is done by Christ. All believers have been sanctified—we have been set apart for Yahweh.
This verse is giving us Christ's goal in loving the church and giving Himself up for her. Paul is using Christ as an example of love. A Christian husband who loves his wife will guard the exclusivity of his relationship with his wife. He will set his wife apart; he will sanctify her. In practical terms, men, this means that you must put a protective fence around your love for your wife. There is no place for flirting with other women. I think it is dangerous and inappropriate for a married man to continue or to form friendships with women other than his wife--unless his wife is fully included. The man that discipled me drilled this into my head almost to the point that I was afraid to talk to women. But it has protected me from harming my marriage. In marriage, the husband is set apart for the wife, and the wife is set apart for the husband, and any interference with that setting apart is sin!
Sanctification, (set apart for Yahweh), therefore, is the positive aspect. In the phrase "Having cleansed her," we find the negative aspect, (being cleansed from defilement of sin). This cleansing takes place at the moment of salvation. Both the actions of the sanctification and of the cleansing occur at the same time. This might be better translated "in order that he might sanctify her having cleansed her."
This cleansing is effected"By the washing of water with the word." Some of you may be asking, "Isn't the church cleansed and sanctified by the shed blood of Christ?" Yes, the Scriptures teach this.
knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Peter 1:18-19 ESV
But Scripture also uses the imagery of "washing" in relationship to our salvation, or our cleansing from sin.
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Yeshua the Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11 ESV
Many commentators understand"the washing of water with the word" to refer to baptism and the word of consecration that accompanies the ritual. But there is nothing in the context to indicate baptism. The term "word" is used nowhere else in the New Testament in connection with baptism.
Paul says the washing of water is with the word (Eph. 5:26). The Greek word used there for "word" isrhema. It means "the spoken or preached word," and it probably refers to the Gospel. This "word" is not something additional to the spiritual cleansing; it is the means by which it is accomplished. It is through the word of the Gospel that we are cleansed and set apart unto Yahweh. Yeshua told His disciples that they were clean because of the word which he spoke to them.
Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. John 15:3 ESV
The Gospel is a cleansing agent, for it is the good news of Christ's atoning death at Calvary. The Word is a cleansing agent also for sanctification.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17 ESV
That's why it's important for us to read and study the Scriptures; they are a cleansing agent in our lives. It's amazing what the Word of God will do with people when they read and study it.
When Paul talks about this washing, he may have been thinking of Ezekiel 16:8-14, where Yahweh describes how He entered into a marriage covenant with His bride Israel.
"When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord GOD, and you became mine. Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. Ezekiel 16:8-9 ESV
The Targum (an ancient Aramaic paraphrase or interpretation of the Hebrew Bible) explains this of the time of redemption of the people of Israel out of Egypt. Yahweh set apart and cleansed Israel and entered into a covenant with her. This is what Yeshua has done for the church.
This metaphorical expression of salvation, "washing of water," most likely also evokes the imagery of the bridal bath. In Palestine, before a bride was married, before she went to the ceremony, she passed through the ceremonial purifying waters. She was made clean before she united with her husband. This prenuptial bath in Jewish marital customs reflected the imagery of Yahweh's marriage to Israel in Ezekiel 16.
The reason He sanctifies and cleanses His bride, the church, is
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 5:27 ESV
"That He might present the church to Himself in splendor"—this is the second purpose clause, which shows us the purpose of Christ's death. In this context Christ presents the church to Himself. He has done everything necessary to achieve this goal.
This presentation of the church in all her glory probably reflects the imagery of Ezekiel 16:10-13.
I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus, you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. Ezekiel 16:10-13 ESV
Here is the bride in all her glory.
Let me ask you something. When does Christ present the church to Himself? Most see this as happening at the Parousia, and I would agree. But they see the Parousia as a future event to us when it is not.
Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, "Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb." Revelation 21:9 ESV
The Lamb is Christ, and His wife, the bride, is the church. So, the angel says "I will show you the bride.
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, Revelation 21:10 ESV
So, would you say that the holy city, Jerusalem, is the bride?
Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. Galatians 4:24-26 ESV
So, the bride is the New Jerusalem, which is the New Covenant Church. When was it that Christ was to take His bride? Look what Paul told the seven churches in Asia Minor.
"And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book." Revelation 22:7 ESV
And he said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Revelation 22:10 ESV
At the time of Paul's writing to the Ephesians, the time when Christ would present His bride was "near." So, to us it is not near, in fact, it is far in the past.
Oriental marriage was characterized by three things:
1. The Betrothal
As a rule, the parents arranged this. The father would arrange the marriage for his daughter. And the marriage was a legal marriage when the betrothal took place. For example, if a man died, having been betrothed, then the woman was regarded as a widow, even though they had never lived together. That was the beginning of the marriage, legally.
The period is also called " kiddushim," meaning "sanctification" or "set apart." This word really defines the purpose of the betrothal period—it is a time in which the couple is set aside to prepare themselves to enter into the covenant of marriage.
Following this betrothal ceremony, the groom would return to his home to fulfill his obligations during the betrothal. But just prior to leaving, he would give his wife a bridal gift, a pledge of his love for her. Its purpose was to be a reminder to his bride during their days of separation of his love for her, that he was thinking of her, and that he would return to receive her as his wife. Yeshua left his bride a bridal gift of love. What was it? In (Eph 1:13-14) Paul tells us that this pledge or gift was the Holy Spirit, a promise of love, and assurance that He would return for them.
During betrothal, the groom's responsibility was to focus on preparing a new dwelling place for his bride and family. In biblical times this was most often done not by building a new home but by simply adding additional rooms to the family's existing home. Is this not what Yeshua said He would be doing?
In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:2-3 ESV
He is fulfilling His part of the betrothal.
During this time the bride would consecrate herself and prepare holy garments for the upcoming marriage.
2. The Marriage Feast
At a certain time, a time determined by the father, the bridegroom, having prepared his own home for her, would come with his friends to the house of the bride, and she with hers. He would take his bride to his house and there they would have a marriage feast. It was much more than just a sit-down dinner for all the guests. It included seven full days of food, music, dance and celebration.
3. The Consummation
In the final stage, the marriage is consummated and the couple begins living together.
These three stages are all seen in the relationship of the church to Yeshua. We were selected by the Father to be His Beloved Son's loving, precious bride (Eph. 1:4). And Yeshua bought us by His blood. We belong to Him. He is our husband, and we are His wife. At His ascension, Jesus left to prepare a place for His bride. This is where most of the church is today—still waiting for the bridegroom to return. He has been gone two thousand plus years. If the bride is the first-century church, is she still waiting? No, she's dead and dust. Notice again what Yeshua said.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:3 ESV
Whom is He talking to? His first-century disciples. The "you" in this verse is His disciples. If He did not come back in the first century, then He didn't keep His promise. But He did return—in AD 70. He came back to take His bride and to celebrate the marriage supper.
Notice what He says about the bride. She is"without spot or wrinkle or any such thing." This is not talking about a wrinkle as in clothes, but a wrinkle as on the face. It is a word picture that describes the body of Christ as not being worn and weather-beaten. I think a two-thousand-year-old bride would have some wrinkles!
The bride can do nothing to make herself beautiful. It was Christ's work upon the cross, as He gave Himself for the church, that made her washed, cleansed, glorious, without spot or wrinkle, and set apart to Him.
"That she might be holy and without blemish."—this is the third purpose clause. By the terms "holy and without blemish" is Paul referring to the Church's position or her practice? Is he talking about the believers' standing before God, or is he referring to how we live? To answer this wrongly is to cause great confusion. This is talking about the church's position.
In the Old Covenant, these two adjectives, "holy and blameless," were used to describe the unblemished animal set apart for Yahweh as Old Covenant sacrifices. Also, we see that unholy men could not approach Yahweh but only stand at a distance. There was always a physical separation between sinful men and a holy God. Being made holy and blameless makes it possible for us to dwell in His presence because our sins and uncleanness have been removed.
Commenting on these verses, John MacArthur writes, "You, as a husband, have the responsibility to wash your wife with the Word of God, to provide continual washing with the truth of holy Scripture, so that all the stains are taken away."
I can't make my wife holy and blameless. These verses are not giving the husbands responsibility, they are talking about Yeshua's love for the church. And He did all this for His bride before the wedding. Now Paul addresses the husbands.
In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. Ephesians 5:28 ESV
"In the same way" here ishoutous, meaning "in the same manner." It points back to the love of Christ described in verses 25-27. The primary obligation of the husband is to imitate Christ by sacrificially and tenderly caring for his wife.
In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. Ephesians 5:28 ESV
"In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies"—the head, Christ, loves the body, the church; so "in the same way" husbands ought to love their wives who, as it were, are their own bodies. The word "should" stresses obligation.
This reference to love for one's own body is not a new and novel thought. It is rather a reality which is taken for granted, and which is referred to by our Lord in the Gospels.
And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39 ESV
I believe that Paul's words in our text are a further commentary on the words of our Lord in the Gospels. Neither Paul nor Yeshua is encouraging us to learn to love ourselves so that we can love our wives! That is modern psychobabble. Rather, he is pointing out the fact that normal people love their bodies, as seen by the way that we care for our bodies and protect them from danger. His point is that your wife is a part of your body, just as we (the church) are members of Christ's body (5:30). A husband and wife are one flesh (5:31). When you love her, you are loving your own body. This has profound implications for Christian marriage. For one thing, if your wife is hurting, you are hurting!
"He who loves his own wife loves himself"—Paul is probably going back to the creation of Eve, who was not created out of the dust of the ground as Adam was. Rather, she was taken out of his body, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh (Gen. 2:23).
Husband and wife are not just two people rooming together. Their lives actually do blend into one another. They actually become one. It is, therefore, true that what hurts the wife damages the husband. It cannot help but do so. Or we could put it this way: "Husbands, if you are not loving your wife, you are hurting yourself":
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, Ephesians 5:29 ESV
"For no one ever hated his own flesh"—it is natural for people to regard their own bodies as important. Now there are some eccentrics who have engaged in self-mutilation, and ascetics have sometimes regarded it as beneficial to make their bodies uncomfortable; people normally don't act in this way.
You take care of yourself. That's a given. A man may not like the way he looks or may hate his personality, but he does cherish his body. He'll go to great lengths to cool his body when it is hot, and warm it when it is cold. He avoids pain whenever he can, and he feeds himself and attempts to satisfy all his appetites. A husband is called to love his wife with the same devotion.
"But nourishes and cherishes"—the word "nourish" actually comes fromektrepho, which means "to feed." It's a word used in the Bible primarily of nurturing children, providing nurture, providing a climate of growth and development.
The word "cherishes" is from the Greekthalpo, which means "to brood, i.e. (figuratively) to foster" (Strong's Concordance). We use the word "brood" to describe a hen incubating an egg at a great cost of time and comfort to herself. The word means "warmth," and pictures a mother tenderly holding her infant against her to keep it warm from the cold. Paul uses this word of a mother in 1 Thessalonians 2.
But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 1 Thessalonians 2:7 ESV
Herethalpo is translated as "taking care." The words "nourishes" and "cherishes" in this verse are interesting. They are terms usually associated with raising children. Nourishing and cherishing implies that a husband cares about his wife's total well-being, and he exerts himself to provide for her in every way.
"Just as Christ also does the church"—you clothe your body, you bathe it, you protect it from discomfort, pain and harm, and your survival depends on it; and that is what Christ did for His church! And husbands this is how we are to love our wives, just as Christ loves the church:
because we are members of his body. Ephesians 5:30 ESV
The conjunctionhoti is casual introducing the reason why Christ takes tender care of the church, that is, because we are members of His body. What has been said so far about Christ's care for the church applies to all believers. And the way that Christ cares for us, loving, forgiving, protecting, giving all, is how we are to love our wives.
"Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." Ephesians 5:31 ESV
This was written about Adam and Eve, neither of whom had a mother or father! So, it was given for our instruction, to show us that a man must be mature enough to leave his parents before he enters into marriage.
"Leave" in the Hebrew text is "azab," and it actually means "to leave, leave behind, depart from, let alone, abandon, forsake, to desert, to let alone" (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament). The Hebrew word for "hold fast" is "dabaq," and it means "to cling to, to stick to, keep close, stay close, follow close and be joined together," "to be glued to." (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament).
Paul here teaches that husband and wife are one flesh. Thus, the husband is compelled to love his wife as his own body.
When Yahweh instituted marriage, it was between a man and a woman and not between two people of the same sex, which is an abomination to Him.
This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:32 ESV
"This mystery is profound"—is the Greek wordmusterion. The Greek word occurs twenty-seven times in the New Testament, three of which are in the Gospels (where it's used in the same context in Matthew, Mark and Luke) and four in Revelation. The remaining twenty occurrences are all in Paul's letters where he uses this word with different shades of meaning in different contexts. But the basic meaning is that it refers to God's revelation or disclosure of something that formerly was hidden.
A mystery is something undiscoverable by human reason, the knowledge of which could only be attained by revelation. This is a truth that has never been known before. It's a secret that is now being made open. The key idea in the mystery centers on God's eternal plan of bringing all things together in the person of Christ.
The mystery that Paul is referring to here is not marriage itself; it is the union of Christ and the church. This is made clear by the next statement:"I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church."
This first marriage was a prototype of the ultimate marriage—the marriage of Christ and His church. As Eve was created out of Adam's side, the church was begotten through the wounding of the Lord Yeshua. This union of Christ and the church is to be reflected in a Christian marriage.
In the Old Covenant, marriage is used topologically of the relationship between Yahweh and His covenant people Israel. Yeshua took over this teaching and boldly referred to Himself as the Bridegroom. He presented Himself in the role of Yahweh in the divine marriage with the covenanted people.
However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33 ESV
Here the order is reversed, beginning with the husband and ending with the wife. So, he starts and ends with the wife.
"However, let each one of you love his wife as himself"—throughout our study of Paul's instructions to the Christian husband, the terms for "leader," "leadership," and "authority" have not been mentioned. The key word which sums up Paul's exhortation for husbands is not "leadership" but "love." Just to clarify what he means by love, let's consider 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV
Now you know, so now flesh it out!
"And let the wife see that she respects her husband"—wives, the word "respect" here is the Greek wordphobeo. This word is used in Matthew's Gospel when Yeshua heals the lame man. Yeshua said, "Get up, pick up your bed and go home." And he got up and went home.
When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. Matthew 9:8 ESV
Phobeo is here translated "afraid" the NASB translates it "awestruck This is the same word we see in Ephesians 5:21,
submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21 ESV
"Reverence"—reverence for the Lord is always demonstrated by obedience to the Word of God":
By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil. Proverbs 16:6 ESV
This verse tells us that the fear of Yahweh promotes holy living. As we are all to reverence Christ, women are to reverence their husbands. The woman who truly reverences and respects her husband as she should will not do anything that brings disgrace, dishonor, or pain to the heart of her husband.
Please remember that it is only as we are "filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18) that we can and will love our wives and submit to our husbands, "in the Lord."