“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25 (ESV)
The Apostle Paul now shifts his attention to the husband of the family. Paul has already mentioned that 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. That responsibility is to love her. The word love (ἀγαπάω; agapao) is in the present, active imperative form. This means that God commands each Christian husband to self-sacrificially love his wife. This is a command each Christian husband must obey.
The example for such love is from Jesus Christ Himself. He loved (ἀγαπάω; agapao) the church (ἐκκλησία; ecclesia) or those who would become believers in Christ. Christ displayed this self-sacrificial love of the will when He gave Himself up (παραδίδωμι; paradidomi) or handed himself over to the governing authorities in order to be crucified.
Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is the example God sets for each believing husband. Paul’s emphasis is not on the husband’s responsibility to govern his family but rather on his responsibility to love.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Nowhere in the New Testament is Christ’s self-sacrificing love applied more directly to a specific relationship as a pattern to be emulated.”
It is interesting to note that wives are not directly commanded to submit to their husbands, but rather commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18). When a wife obeys God’s command and seeks the Spirit’s filling, a natural consequence will be submission to her husband (Eph. 5:22-24; I Peter 3:1).
However, God does directly command the husband to love his wife. As he is the head of the home, he displays godly headship by taking the lead in loving his wife. When he does so, the wife will more likely respond with submission as God intended.
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Though the husband’s authority has been established (vv. 22–24), the emphasis moves to the supreme responsibility of husbands in regard to their wives, which is to love them with the same unreserved, selfless, and sacrificial love that Christ has for his church. Christ gave everything he had, including his own life, for the sake of his church, and that is the standard of sacrifice for a husband’s love of his wife.”
Guys, how are you doing in loving your wife as Christ loved the church? If you are like me, you can only do better.
Soli deo Gloria!