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It’s one of the most shocking realities in all the Bible: men of God are called to emulate Jesus Christ and gladly lay their lives down for their wives. We husbands boggle at this call. We are to love our wife “as Christ loved the church” (Eph. 5:25)? This is preposterous. It’s too much for us. It’s too great for us. It’s beyond us.
Yet this is precisely what the apostle Paul teaches in Ephesians 5:25–28.
Passage - Jewel - Section - Paul - Headship
In this stunning little passage, this jewel of a section, Paul shows us what manly headship means. It doesn’t mean that a husband sees his wife as inferior. It doesn’t mean that he has any justification to raise his hand against her. It doesn’t mean that he can put his own interests first. Biblical complementarity inspired by the Spirit and preserved in God’s inerrant, authoritative, sufficient, and final word means this: husbands lay down their lives for their wives. This is a call to come and die. It is a call to put one’s wife first relentlessly. It is a call to seek her spiritual good continually. It is a call to lead daily. It is a call to do nothing less than emulate and imitate Jesus Christ, who gave his life to atone for the sins of his bride (25).
There is no marital teaching on God’s green earth that comes close to the glory of this command from an apostle. There is no religion that offers a comparable view. There is no worldview that more calls a man to maturity, leadership, and selflessness. There is no idea that more counters a man’s sinful instinct to lord his (on average) considerably greater strength over his wife. If you want to see where abuse goes to die, look no further than at the Bible’s most extended teaching...
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