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Instructions for Christian Households
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,
27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
29 After all, people have never hated their own bodies, but they feed and care for them, just as Christ does the church—
30 for we are members of his body.
31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
(Ephesians 5:21-33 TNIV)
Ever consider why so many marriages are failing now days? And that being especially since we are the most “Christianized” nation on the planet? The divorce rate among professing Christians has skyrocketed to meet that of the non-Christian. Why?
A cursory look at the above Scriptures should give us a clue – though it is much deeper than that. In time I will touch on that. However, for now, we’re focusing on the Scriptures above.
Those who confess and profess Christ as their Savior and Lord are to live out their Marriages in accordance with the above Scriptures. The reason is because they belong to Christ. Though we live “in the world,” we are not “of the world.” (cf John 15:19; 17:14-16) We are set apart unto holiness and our calling to live that holy life is evident by our confession and profession – or it should be. So what’s the problem, you ask?
We have an enemy. He is the source of all evil. He is the source of all that is wrong in this world – but most importantly, he is the enemy of our souls. He was a murderer… and “he is a liar and the father of lies.” (cf John 8:44) He offers that which is a counterfeit to the children of God and seeks to destroy that which God has ordained. He mixes the counterfeit with just enough Truth to make it look like that which is of God and he presents it to us as Truth and Light. He doesn’t have to seek to deceive those which are already his because they are his – for like their father, they are a son of perdition; they are already perishing. The goal of the enemy is to make every professing and confessing Christian a worldly, ineffective Christian. And in so doing, he succeeds in keeping those worldly Christians from being effective for the cause of Christ. If you think about it as it pertains to Marriage and the high divorce rate among confessing and professing Christians, the enemy is succeeding. Folks, as Christians, this shouldn’t be so! The attack on God’s Church is so evident it is seen in the destruction of Marriages and families — no matter their status in the Church. Who hasn’t seen it in the news? But seeing this, I can perceive how the enemy can deceive even God’s elect…
In The Beginning…
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
(Genesis 1:27, 31 NIV)
18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.
20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.
21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.
22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, for she was taken out of man.'”
24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
(Genesis 2:18-25 NIV)
In the beginning, God had in mind His creation and He spoke it into being. What’s more, there was no corruption found within it because He saw “all that He had made, and it was very good.” Out of the ground God formed all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. From the “dust of the ground” God formed a man and breathed into him the breath of life – but from the rib of man came woman. She is the only creation of God not to be formed from the dust of the earth.
In the beginning God created the man and the woman. He created the woman out of the man. This made them bone of bone and flesh of flesh – united in Marriage as one flesh. They felt no shame toward each other.
Enter in the serpent of old – who is the enemy. Enter in the depravity of the soul of man. Enter in corruption of what God said was good. Enter in all the worldly passions with its lusts and temptations. Enter in the destroyer of that which God ordained – the one-flesh union. Marriage.
Satan tempted Eve in the Garden by twisting what God had said to them and misrepresenting the Truth to Adam and Eve. They had everything. God provided for their every need. They could have anything in the Garden except the fruit of the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Temptation… What an evil, evil thing. Since that day in the Garden, we have seen the horrible consequences of the fall of man. And the break down and destruction of the God-ordained family. Marriage between a man and a woman has been torn asunder and replaced with many counterfeits.
Counterfeit is described as something that is a realistic copy of the real thing. A counterfeit is made in order to defraud and deceive people. A counterfeit of something is a bogus copy – a sham. The enemy has wreaked havoc on the God-ordained family unit by creating a counterfeit Marriage.
A counterfeit Marriage is represented in a re-marriage after divorce; the marriage of a man to a man and a woman to a woman; swinging married couples; as well as people living together as if they were married. Sound harsh? Know this: It IS Written. There is absolutely no Biblical allowance for remarriage EXCEPT through the death of a covenant spouse! (cf: Romans 7:2-3; 1 Corinthians 7:10-11)
Temptation toward the counterfeit comes through the twisting of God’s Word into the lusts of the flesh. If a Christian has a specific bent toward pornography for example, the enemy can take that lust of the flesh and bring it into the Christian bedroom. Don’t get me wrong! God Himself created sex and within the confines of a one-flesh union, God saw that it was good. But what is wrong is seeing another engaged in the act and imagining and fantasizing about another engaged in the act in order to bring it into the one-flesh bedroom. It is a cheap imitation and reenactment of what the porn industry says what sex is. It is NOT what God created and ordained. Bringing pornography into the one-flesh union opens the door to a whole new realm of demonic influence that otherwise would not have been there if it hadn’t been dabbled in. Some would say “but it’s just a little look” or “I can control it!” Why would you sacrifice your relationship with God and your relationship with your spouse over something that you “think” you can control? If you have already given in to the temptation to try it once, it is well on its way to having a hold on your life – no matter what it is. You have just swung that door wide open to enemy and invited him into your home. Husbands and Wives – now is the time for repentance and seeking the face of God within your Marriage for the answer to the problem that causes you to be tempted in this manner – or any other. Now is the time to replace the counterfeit with that which is Real. If a professing Christian is following exactly the steps found in the Ephesian, Chapter 5 Scriptures above, there is no room for the temptation toward the counterfeit. Why? Because their submission is to their professed and confessed Savior and Lord of their lives and Marriage – first; and then to each other as husband and wife. Think about it. If your focus is on Jesus Christ and His precepts and you are truly seeking HIS will above ALL else, then while the tempter of our souls may come, he will quickly be recognized and his counterfeits destroyed because we are living in and through the power of the Blood of the Lamb.
If the Christian Wife is not submitting herself to her own husband as she would do in her personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then she is not in full submission as unto her Lord.
If the Christian Husband is not loving his wife as he knows his Christ loves the Church, then he also is not in full submission to his Lord – Who is Head over him.
God has created a universal order for everything. His order places Himself over His Son Jesus; the Son over man; and the man over his wife. While there is an order, it is important to recognize that the husband and wife are BOTH to be in subjection to God as one flesh because they are one with each other AND they are brother and sister IN Christ as joint heirs to the throne of Christ Jesus. That makes them equals in the Kingdom of God. Amen.
The Non-Christian Marriage
What about the non-Christian Marriage? How are they supposed to live? Unfortunately, they don’t really know how they are supposed to be living within the confines of their Marriage in accordance with the Truth – because they don’t KNOW the Truth. A non-Christian husband and wife are basically winging it! Does it mean that they can’t have a successful relationship in their Marriage when they aren’t Christians? Actually no. While the “goodness” of man is not ever enough to take them through the gates of heaven, their “goodness” toward each other is guided by the principles within each. Those principles are their consciences and those are God-instilled within every human being – though mankind has been given the ability to choose. On the positive (if it can be called that), most people will not intentionally mistreat another.
Know this: ….. the non-Christian couple ARE still subject to the precepts of the Bible and will be judged accordingly. ALL mankind is subject to the judgment of God to an eternal destiny because God has given to each the responsibility of finding the Truth.
If a non-Christian couple divorces and remarries another, they are still held accountable to God by the same precepts and laws in God’s Word that the Christian couple is. Because they don’t know Who God and His Son Jesus Christ are and do not possess the Holy Spirit – these do not negate them from their most important and eternal responsibilities nor does it save them from the coming judgment on all. Ignorance of the Truth is not an excuse. (cf: Romans 1:20; actually the entire first chapter of Romans is an excellent read with regard to our responsibility and also with regard to the cause of the depravity of man)
The next time temptation comes creeping in – no matter the form the enemy presents it – it’s time to take a trip through Ephesians, Chapter 5, Verses 21-33 and proclaim them over your Marriage. You both do this because of who you are IN Christ.
© 2009 Celia Ann. All rights reserved by Celia Ann and The Ephesian Marriage unless otherwise stated. All other symbols are the trademark of their respective owners.