Wives Submit to Your Husband to Be

 

We often hear the admonitions to wives about their proper roles and behavior. And one chapter in particular greatly extols the good wife. Today I want to apply the husband/wife relationship to the church/Christ relationship. On the individual level it is your relationship to Jesus. First letís establish the marriage relationship of the church (You) and the Lamb of God (Jesus).

 

*†† (2 Cor 11:2-4 NIV)I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.

Note this message is for you, the Church of God. 2 Corinthians 1:1 says in part, ďTo the church of God in CorinthÖ.Ē Continuing with verse 3:

*†† {3} But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. {4} For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.

And Matthew makes this point about Christ as the bridegroom.

*†† (Mat 9:14-15 NIV)Then John's disciples came and asked him, "How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" {15} Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

Here in Romans we are introduced to a very important point.

*†† (Rom 7:1-4 NIV)Do you not know, brothers--for I am speaking to men who know the law--that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? {2} For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. {3} So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man. {4} So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.

It was essential that Jesus died so that he and we could marry. As we will see in a little bit God was married to Israel in the Old Testament. But before we get to that letís continue in the New Testament. Now recall for a moment that in Genesis 2:24 when a man and a woman marry they become one flesh

*†† (1 Cor 6:15-17 NIV)Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! {16} Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh." {17} But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

Notice the numerous parallels drawn between and husband and wife compared to Christ and the church.

*†† (Eph 5:23-33 NIV)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, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, 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.

Now we will jump ahead to the actual wedding.

*†† (Rev 19:7-9 NIV)Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. {8} Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) {9} Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God."

Some people have misunderstood the next passage. But in light of what we have seen it is clear that the bride is the church; Not Jerusalem as some have ventured. There is no bible precedent for a marriage between a man and an inanimate object such as a city. All that is being said here is that the city was beautiful prepared to receive Christ and His bride.

*†† (Rev 21:1-3 NIV)Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. {2} I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. {3} And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

So we see the marriage connection in the New Testament. Letís look at the marriage connection in the Old Testament. This first verse explicitly says that God is the Husband of Israel and note also that the bride, although abandoned for a time, is redeemed eventually.

*†† (Isa 54:4-8 NIV)"Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. {5} For your Maker is your husband-- the LORD Almighty is his name-- the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. {6} The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit-- a wife who married young, only to be rejected," says your God. {7} "For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. {8} In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you," says the LORD your Redeemer.

Here in Hosea we see a marriage destined to last eternally. Such a marriage as was described in the Book of Revelations.

*†† (Hosea 2:15-23 NIV)There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. {16} "In that day," declares the LORD, "you will call me 'my husband'; you will no longer call me 'my master.' {17} I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked. {18} In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. {19} I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. {20} I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD. {21} "In that day I will respond," declares the LORD-- "I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; {22} and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. {23} I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called 'Not my loved one. ' I will say to those called 'Not my people, ' 'You are my people'; and they will say, 'You are my God.'"

And finally we see God actually divorced Israel but promised mercy. Mercy as we saw in the wedding of the Lamb.

*†† (Jer 3:6-14 NIV)During the reign of King Josiah, the LORD said to me, "Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. {7} I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. {8} I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. {9} Because Israel's immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. {10} In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense," declares the LORD. {11} The LORD said to me, "Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah. {12} Go, proclaim this message toward the north: "'Return, faithless Israel,' declares the LORD, 'I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful,' declares the LORD, 'I will not be angry forever. {13} Only acknowledge your guilt-- you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,'" declares the LORD. {14} "Return, faithless people," declares the LORD, "for I am your husband. I will choose you--one from a town and two from a clan--and bring you to Zion.

Now that we have established ourselves as the bride of Christ letís learn a few things from a very good wife. Listen.

*†† (Prov 31:10-31 NIV)A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. {11} Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. {12} She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. {13} She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. {14} She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. {15} She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. {16} She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. {17} She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. {18} She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. {19} In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. {20} She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. {21} When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. {22} She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. {23} Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. {24} She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. {25} She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. {26} She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. {27} She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. {28} Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: {29} "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." {30} Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. {31} Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Brothers and Sisters. Strive to be the wise virgins.