Lesson 24: Wives and Husbands - Page 3 of 4 (series: Lessons on Ephesians)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

27 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.

“THAT HE MIGHT PRESENT IT TO HIMSELF A GLORIOUS CHURCH, NOT HAVING SPOT, OR WRINKLE, OR ANY SUCH THING.” In verse 27, the church will be presented to Christ… a glorious church, a spotless church, a holy church, a church without wrinkle or blemish; blazing white holiness, purity, righteousness, and godliness will be on display when the church is presented to Jesus at the marriage supper in the sky. What a picture! What a tremendous truth. What a glorious fact. I am so glad I am a member of that body! And dear reader, if you are not a member of that body, you can be right now, this moment, if you will bow your head, close your eyes, and put your trust in Jesus. He will save you.

“BUT THAT IT SHOULD BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLEMISH” This is the goal for the church. This is what the apostles constantly worked at (2 Corinthians 11:2; Colossians 1:28). All instruction is aimed at enabling Christians to be morally pure individuals that glorify God (Ephesians 4:25; 2 Corinthians 7:1). The true church must always be striving to present the moral standard that God endorses (1 Peter 1:14-15; Romans 12:1-2; 1 John 2:15; James 4:7-10). These verses infer that God will not tolerate any defilement in the heavenly kingdom (Revelation 21:8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:6). Unrepented sin or false doctrine will defile us (2 John 1:9-11; Galatians 1:6-9). Note what is "glorious" to God; a morally and doctrinally pure church is glorious in the sight of God. “HOLY AND WITHOUT BLEMISH” (EPHESIANS 1:4.) “WHAT BRIDE DOES NOT TAKE THE GREATEST CARE TO AVOID ‘SPOTS AND WRINKLES OR ANY SUCH THING’ UPON HER WEDDING GOWN? SO THE CHRISTIAN IS TO BE EXCITED ABOUT SEEING THE LORD COME. HE IS TO AVOID ALL MORAL OR SPIRITUAL STAIN AND DEFECT” (1 JOHN 3:1-3). So the church is terrified by the idea of appearing before Christ as immoral, indecent, immodest, hypocritical, full of hate or unforgiving”

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

“SO OUGHT MEN TO LOVE THEIR WIVES AS THEIR OWN BODIES.” In verse 28, Paul goes further with his illustration. MEN OUGHT TO LOVE THEIR WIVES AS THEIR OWN BODIES. A man should protect his wife just like he would protect himself. He should love his wife like he loves himself. A man and wife are one. People who are married in the Lord are not two people—they are one flesh. They love alike, they live alike, they think alike. They rejoice together, and weep together. That is the way Christian marriage ought to be—and if God joined more people together the divorce courts would be out of business! No man hates his own flesh. We feed our flesh, we cherish our flesh… and we look after ourselves. We should do the same for our wife.

Notice, they are to love them, not as they love their own bodies, but as being their own bodies. Husband and wife belong together as complementary parts of one personality, so that it can be said that “HE THAT LOVETH HIS WIFE LOVETH HIMSELF.” Verse 29 explains this: “FOR NO MAN EVER YET HATED HIS OWN FLESH; BUT NOURISHETH AND CHERISHETH IT, EVEN AS THE LORD THE CHURCH.” To clench his point Paul quotes genesis 2:24, laying all the stress on the last clause, “THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE” (5:31). And this leads him to the theological speculation of verse 32, which has puzzled so many.

(1) She is one with him, and their interests are similar.
(2) He really promotes his own welfare, as much as he does when he takes care of his own body. A man‘s kindness to his wife will be more than repaid by the happiness which she imparts; and all the real kindness which he shows to make her happy, will come to more than it costs. If a man wishes to promote his own happiness in the most effective way, he had better begin by showing kindness to his wife.

29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

“FOR NO human being EVER YET HATED HIS OWN FLESH.” FLESH as used here is nearly equivalent to “body,” but was probably chosen by the Apostle, because he already had in mind the quotation (Ephesians 5:31), which refers to the institution of marriage before the fall; this of course excludes any ethical reference.

That it is natural to love oneself is evident from the way in which most people care for themselves and especially for their bodies.” The fact that some people have abused themselves or even have committed suicide, demonstrates how “weird” and pathetic such tendencies really are. To God "suicide" and other forms of self-inflicted pain and abuse to one’s body is to live by a standard that even the unbeliever rejects as "immoral".

“BUT NOURISHETH AND CHERISHETH IT, EVEN AS THE LORD THE CHURCH.” The Lord Jesus is looking after His church, praise God! He looks after His little children. I am glad the Lord is my Shepherd. He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul, He leads me in the paths of righteousness, He prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies, He anoints my head with oil, He makes my cup to run over, and He will give me goodness and mercy all the days of my life and then He will give me a place in my Father’s house forever. Hallelujah! What a savor! What a shepherd!

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Why does Jesus do all this for us? Verse 30 has the answer: We born again children of God are members of His body. Think of it! We are united to His body. In the spiritual aspect we are NOW members of His body. WE ARE NOW MEMBERS OF HIS FLESH AND OF HIS BONES. Those of us who are born again believers did not join the New Testament church by filling out a card. We became part of the body of Christ by faith in His blood. The Holy Spirit united us, welded us, put us into the body. No wonder He looks after us! You, father or mother, look after your little children if you are the kind of mom and dad you ought to be. Jesus is the kind of Savior He ought to be, and He looks after his own. Praise his name!

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Verse 31 is a quotation from Genesis 2:24―“FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND HIS MOTHER, AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE; AND THEY SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.” Paul here refers to the relationship that existed in the Garden of Eden between Adam and Eve. That first couple is a figure of the future union of Christ and the church as Bridegroom and brides. Eve was created to be a helpmate for Adam. She was taken from his side, not molded from the ground as were the animals. Adam was incomplete until they were together. God fashioned her, and I think she was the loveliest thing in creation when God brought her to Adam. One wag has said that she had to be better looking than man because God had practiced on man but He had experience when He made woman. She was a helpmate for Adam. She compensated for what he lacked. She was made for him and they became one. In the Hebrew the word for “man” is ish and for “woman” it is isha. The word is almost the same—she was taken out of man.

Paul refers its Paul referred to the creation of Eve and the forming of the first home (Genesis 2:18-24). Adam had to give part of himself in order to get a bride, but Christ gave all of Himself to purchase His bride at the cross. God opened Adams side, but sinful man pierced Christ’s side. So united are a husband and wife that they are “ONE FLESH.” Their union is even closer than that of parents and children. The believers union with Christ is even closer and, unlike human marriage, will last for all eternity. Paul closes with a final admonition that the husband love his wife and that the wife reverence (respect) her husband, all of which require the power of the Holy Spirit

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