Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.4. Manifestation in the Family-relationship
1. Wives representative of the Church (Ephesians 5:22-24) 2. Husbands representative of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-29) 3. The mystery: concerning Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:30-33) 4. Exhortations to children and parents (Ephesians 6:1-4)
2. Husbands representative of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-29)
3. The mystery: concerning Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:30-33)
4. Exhortations to children and parents (Ephesians 6:1-4)
The exhortations which follow concern the Christian family. The mystery concerning Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:32) is to be manifested in the family relationship. While before we have seen the Church as the body of Christ, here in these verses we see the Church in her love-relation to Christ. He loved the Church and gave Himself for it. The union of husband and wife is used as a type of the union of Christ and the Church. Wives are mentioned first: “Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” And why? For the husband is head of the wife, even as Christ is head of the Church; and “He is savior of the body.” The wife is therefore to be in submission to her own husband in everything, as the Church is subject unto Christ. Thus the wife in her submission is to bear witness to the blessed relationship of Christ and the Church. She has the blessed portion of being in subjection. The question arises, What, if the husband is not a believer? Is she to submit in such a case? The Word of God gives definite instructions covering such a case, and adds a promise (See 1Peter 3:1-2).
The husband is not to demand of the wife this submission, which is her place. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. He stands in the Christian family as the representative of Christ and is called to love his wife. And how did Christ love the Church? He came from heaven’s glory to be a servant. He served and is serving the Church. The husband’s love towards the wife is to be expressed in loving service in her behalf and giving unto her, as unto the weaker vessel (1Peter 3:7). Not the wife is to serve the husband, but the husband is to serve her in love, thus manifesting in a little measure the love of Christ for the Church. Beautiful is the description of the love of Christ for the Church. It is a love in the past: “He loved the Church and gave Himself for it.” Thus there is a present love: “That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word.” Then there is His future love: “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.” it is the love which passeth knowledge, the love which never changeth; the love which is eternal. Equally blessed is the truth contained in Ephesians 5:30-33. We are members of His body, and of His flesh and His bones.
That we have here a reference to Adam and Eve as the types of Christ and the Church is obvious. While Adam slept God built the woman out of his side and then presented her to him. “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh,” were Adam’s words. She was taken out of his body, shared the same life and was also Adam’s wife. Adam is the figure of Him that was to come (Romans 5:14). Eve is the type of the Church. We possess His life and are of Himself, bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. And the Church’s destiny is to have dominion with Him over the new creation.
Children are to obey their parents in the Lord. And the fathers are not to provoke the children to wrath, “but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” And how much wisdom this takes! Parents must show constantly to the children the love and patience of Christ and bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Then the promise will be made good. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31).