Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Fountain of Love (Ephesians 5:25-33)

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her" (Eph. 5:25).

Many people wrongly assume that Paul focuses on love as the primary duty of the husband because it is needed to balance his authoritarian role. While this may be one aspect of the command, it is not the primary factor. Paul does not see love and authority in opposition.

Because love is the basis of successful family life, it is the husband’s responsibility to perpetuate love in the family. B. M. Palmer best explains how love is the primary duty of the husband: “In the order of nature this love begins with the man. He is the chooser; which explains the peculiar language in Genesis 2:24: ‘For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.’ It is not put the other way.… it is not her place to take the initiative. Woman must impose a restraint upon her affections, until she is challenged. Like the violet, she hides her sweetness beneath the leaf, until the hand is stretched to pluck her from concealment. She may arouse the love which shall draw forth her own in absolute response; but that love must first speak from another’s lips, of which her own is but the echo. Since, then, this love is first cherished by the man, is first recognized and is first uttered by him, he represents it in its active and controlling power throughout life. His love must always go in the front. As he began, so must he continue to be its exponent and representative. It pertains to his office, as the husband, to lay the foundations of the new society and communion in love; and he is the organ through which it speaks its great commands.”

The continuation of love in the family is put on the shoulders of the husband. This does not mean that in some cases the wife will not rebel, as covenant children rebel against the Lord even to the point of apostasy. But, just as Christ is the well-spring in the Christian life, so the husband is the fountain of love in the family. If he is unloving, the family is filled with bitterness, chaos, and strife. Love is the law of the husband’s life “and is the spring of all his actions toward her who by that love has been won to his embrace,” Palmer wrote. “He is constituted the guardian of that in which all true marriage has its life and being.”

Read Deuteronomy 32:10; Malachai 3:17; Zechariah 9:16; John 13:1; 15:13; Romans 8:35; and 1 John 3:16. Using these verses, describe the love God has for His people. How should a husband reflect this kind of love for his wife? Pray for the husbands in your church, that they would love their wives as Christ loves the church.