22 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” (Ephesians 5:22-24).
Once again, the Apostle Paul cited that biblical submission was one evidence of the Holy Spirit’s filling (Ephesians 5:21). It is a personal and relational submission. Submitting (ὑποτάσσω; hypotasso) means to willingly obey, and be obedient (Luke 2:51; Eph. 5:22). It also means to bring oneself bring under control, and to put oneself in subjection (1 Cor. 15:27; Eph. 1:22; Php. 3:21; Heb. 2:5, 8). It is the Holy Spirit who does this work in the believer’s heart.
In other words, biblical submission is being responsible to and responsible for another believer. In the case of today’s text, it is the wife willingly seeking the filling of the Holy Spirit in order to being responsible to, and for, her own husband.
The reason for God instructing the wife to submit to her own husband is also given in today’s text. It is because the husband is the head of the wife. The word head (κεφαλή; kephale) means the one who has the supreme responsibility. This responsibility is solely on behalf of his wife. As we have already noted, the wife has a responsibility to and for her husband. The husband has an even greater responsibility to his wife. The husband’s responsibility will be examined in Ephesians 5:25-31.
The wife’s submission, and the husband’s headship, is comparable to Christ and the church. The church has a responsibility to Christ (Mathew 28:16-20; Acts 1:1-8) and Christ even more so on behalf of the church. This is because He alone is the church’s Savior and Lord (Acts 2:22-36; Phil. 2:1-11).
Paul draws a conclusion in vs. 24. As the church submits to Christ, so too should a wives submit to their own husbands in everything. It should be duly noted in the context that the word everything (πᾶς; pas) does not mean that the husband should expect, or even demand, his wife disobey the Lord. A godly husband would never demand this of his wife. A godly wife would never comply in this scenario to her husband.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Redemption in Christ restores the intimacy men and women were created to enjoy in marriage (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:18-25). A Christian wife is called to grateful acceptance of her husband’s care and leadership. In other passages on Christ’s headship in this letter, Paul speaks of the way Christ governs the universe and the church (1:22) and serves as the source of the body’s health and growth to maturity.”
When a wife fulfills her responsibilities in marriage, and the husband his, there is great and consistent harmony and blessing. The husband bears the greatest responsibility in fostering this harmony and blessing. It is to that subject we will examine when our study in Ephesians continues.
Soli deo Gloria!