The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them
to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
October 14, 2012
1) Ephesians 5:23-27 (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
by Tom Edwards
In Ephesians 5:23, Paul gives the principle for why the wife should
be in subjection to her husband: "For the husband is the head of the
wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the
saviour of the body."
Thayer shows that the word "head" is used metaphorically to mean
"anything supreme, chief, prominent." It is the same Greek
word that is used in referring to Jesus as the "CHIEF corner stone"
(Matt. 21:42). And we can also easily see how this word
expresses supremacy in Colossians 2:10 where Jesus is spoken of as
being "...the HEAD over all rule and authority."
The headship of the man over the woman is also set forth in 1
Corinthians 11:3: "But I would have you know, that the head of every
man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of
Christ is God."
This doesn't mean that the husband is to serve as some type of
iron-fisted tyrant. But, rather, the husband should learn of
his rule over his wife from Christ's rule over the church. For
"...as Christ gave himself to save his body, the church; as he
practiced self-denial and made it an object of intense solicitude
[deep concern] to preserve that church, so ought the husband to
manifest a similar solicitude to make his wife happy, and to save
her from want, affliction, and pain. He ought to regard himself as
her natural protector; as bound to anticipate and provide for her
needs; as under obligation to comfort her in trial, even as Christ
does the church. What a beautiful illustration of the spirit which a
husband should manifest is the care which Christ has shown for his
'bride,' the church!" (Albert Barnes).
Notice, too, that Jesus is referred to in Ephesians 5:23 as being
"the saviour of the body," which is defined in Ephesians 1:22,23 as
being the church: "And He put all things in subjection under His
feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is
His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all."
Therefore, the church is the saved; and anyone who is not a part of
the church is not a recipient of God's salvation. For,
according to Acts 2:47, it is God Himself who adds the saved to the
We can also note that because there is this similarity, between the
husband and his wife and Christ and the church, that the church is
also referred to figuratively as being the "bride" of Christ.
For instance: "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself
ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen,
bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the
saints" (Rev. 19:7,8).
We often hear of couples today referring to themselves as being
"made for each other." But as we think more about this special
relationship of husband and wife, note what we see in the latter
portion of 1 Corinthians 11:7: "...the woman is the glory of man."
Paul then goes on to explain this in verse 8: "For man does not
originate from woman, but woman from man." Since Paul says
"man does not originate from woman," then he is not referring to the
birth of males; but, rather, God's first creation of man. For
Eve, that first woman, came from the rib of Adam; so she came from
man. Notice, too, what Paul then says in 1 Corinthians 11:9:
"for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for
the man's sake." This is also seen in God's explanation of the
woman: "Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be
alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.' Out of the
ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird
of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call
them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its
name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds
of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was
not found a helper suitable for him. So the LORD God caused a
deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of
his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God
fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and
brought her to the man. The man said, 'This is now bone of my
bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she
was taken out of Man.' For this reason a man shall leave his
father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall
become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and
were not ashamed" (Gen. 2:18-25).
The NASB, NKJV, and various other Bible translations refer to Eve as
a "helper," which the KJV renders as "help meet." It is from
the Hebrew word "ezer," meaning an "aid" (James Strong) -- or, as
seen in Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions, as "one who
helps." In all that God had made, no creature would be able to
serve as a better aid to Adam than Eve -- since she was also of
Paul then says in Ephesians 5:24, "But as the church is subject to
Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in
In the previous verse, we read that Christ is the head of the church
which also implies the need for the church to be subject to the
Lord, just as the members of a physical body -- such as legs, feet,
arms, and hands -- are subject to the body's head.
One major difference, however, is that the members of our body do
not have a choice. If the head, therefore, wills to walk, the
legs will move (unless they are physically impaired). But as
members in the body of Christ, we must each be willing to comply
with what the Lord wills. Then, by obedience, we will be
cooperating as smoothly as the members in a healthy, physical body.
Paul says that this subjection of the wife is to be to her husband
"in everything." This, of course, does not mean that she must
comply with any demand. For though she must also be in
submission to him, she cannot obey any demand that would be contrary
to God's word. Notice, for example, the command in Colossians
3:18: "Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the
Lord." The term "fitting" implies that which is proper.
This can be likened to the instruction that Paul gives concerning
children: In Colossians 3:1, he exhorts the children to "be obedient
to your parents IN ALL THINGS...."; yet in Ephesians 6:1, this is
qualified. There, Paul states that the children are to "obey
your parents in the Lord...."
What does that phrase "in the Lord" denote? Does it mean that
if the parents are not Christians, then the children do not have to
submit to them or obey them? As we have seen in 1 Peter 3:1,
wives are to submit to their husbands even when those husbands are
"disobedient to the word." The phrase "in the Lord" implies
anything the parents would demand of the child which would not be a
violation of God's word. When that is the case, the child is
We can also note in Colossians 3:22 that slaves are to obey their
masters on earth "in all things." But again, this does not
mean they are to violate God's word to do so. Rather, what they do
is to be done unto the Lord and with the proper fear of Him; and, as
Paul shows Titus in Titus 2:10, bondslaves are to be showing "all
good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in
every respect." To adorn the doctrine of God expresses their
adherence to the truth.
In addition, how about the phrase in Ephesians 5:24 that shows the
wife's submission to her husband is to be likened to "as the church
is subject to Christ"? Would Christ ever demand of the church
anything that would be contrary to God's word? Of course not.
So since the church is in submission to Christ to do only those
things that are in harmony with God's word, that same harmony needs
to be maintained in the wife's submission to her husband.
But even without these qualifying passages, couldn't we infer from
elsewhere in the Scriptures that the Christian is to always be
obedient to the Lord and should never violate God's word for anyone
-- and even if it be the elders of the church who would want
to steer the congregation in a wrong direction?! Sadly, I once
knew a man who began attending a non-conservative church that
practiced some things that the man viewed as being wrong; but he had
also mistakenly believed that he would not be held accountable for
it, since he was simply obeying the elders.
In Ephesians 5:25, we see how the husband can make it easier for his
wife to be in submission to him: "Husbands, love your wives, just as
Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her."
There is no greater love than that. Christ's love for the
church is a sacrificial love that was carried out very
willingly. As the Lord states in John 10:11, "I am the good
shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep."
And in speaking of His life in verse 18, Jesus declares, "No one has
taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative.
I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up
again. This commandment I received from My Father." The
Lord's willingness to go to Calvary is also implied in Matthew
26:51-54, on the night of the Lord's betrayal and arrest: "And
behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his
sword, and struck the slave of the high priest, and cut off his
ear. Then Jesus said to him, 'Put your sword back into its
place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the
sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and
He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of
angels? How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it
must happen this way?"
When the Hebrew writer exhorts the Christians to "run with endurance
the race that is set before us," he also cites the example of Jesus,
whom we need to fix our eyes on, "who for the joy set before Him
endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the
right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:1,2). So this, along
with the previous passages, makes it clear that Jesus truly did go
to the cross willingly; and, as seen elsewhere, He was motivated to
go through that torturous suffering, due to a very deep love He had
for humanity and their salvation, as well as His love and total
loyalty to His Father in heaven.
What wondrous love we see at the cross of Calvary; and that highest
of all loves is also what the husband is to have for his wife.
In describing this, J.W. Shepherd writes, "The love here required of
the husband is not of passion, but of the soul in its spiritual
purity and from its innermost depths. It should be Christlike,
patterned after God's love, self-forgetful, self-sacrificing, and
self-devoting, even unto death."
Notice, too, how the idea in Ephesians 5:25 is expressed in
Colossians 3:19: "Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered
Something else we can say about this love for the wife that is
modeled on Christ's love for the church is that it "is the ground of
Christianity's having raised woman to her due place in the social
scale, from which she was, and is, excluded in heathen lands"
(Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown). In other words, instead of
treated merely as the property of the husband, who could pay little
regard to her, she is to be loved, cherished and cared for, as much
as Jesus loved the church.
In Ephesians 5:26,27, Paul shows why the Lord loved the church to
the extent of giving His own life for her: "that He might sanctify
her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that
He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no
spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and
The meaning of "sanctify" is to make holy, to set apart.
Thayer defines it as "2) to separate from profane things and
dedicate to God... 3) to purify...free from the guilt of sin."
Sanctification is made possible by Jesus, but there is also a need
for the individual to submit to the gospel in order to receive that.
For instance, consider these following passages: "Sanctify them in
the truth; Thy word is truth" (Jn. 17:17). "And for their sakes I
sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in
truth" (v. 19). "Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from
these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to
the Master, prepared for every good work" (2 Tim. 2:21). "By
this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body
of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 10:10). The Lord told Paul
that his mission would involve proclaiming the gospel to others in
order "to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to
light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may
receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have
been sanctified by faith in Me" (Acts 26:18). And that faith
comes by hearing God's word (Rom. 10:17) and is made effectual when
we obey it (Jms. 1:22- 25; 2:14-26). So we see of the need for
Jesus, as well as our own cooperation, in order that sanctification
can be acquired. But, by far, the Lord has accomplished the
biggest or most difficult part of making it possible.
Therefore, may we each always submit whole heartily and thankfully
to His will. For what wonderful benefits anyone can have who
will do so -- and not only for now, but especially for all
News & Notes
Let those of us who are Christians continue to remember in prayer
Pam MacDonald who is having serious back trouble; Linda
Lefort (Harris Lefort's sister-in-law) who has cancer and is
on hospice care; Bill Barfield (Virginia Fontenot's brother)
who has been hospitalized in a step-down unit for the last several
months; Jean Calloway who is a diabetic with a foot
problem; Shirley Young, for her continual trouble with
fibromyalgia; and Cheryl Crews, for her various health
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in
Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith;
for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet.
CHURCH OF CHRIST
9923 Sunny Cline Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70817
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 6 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)