Being a Good Wife 101: Paul’s Love-triangle of GRACE

Ephesians 5:21-28

It is Christ’s empowering GRACE that holds a MARRIAGE together… the result… is a MARRIAGE that REFLECTS the GLORY of GOD.

Someone suggested to me the other day that the Lord of the Rings had a love triangle… I didn’t pick it at first but there is definitely some love triangulating between Frodo, Golem and The Ring. Love-triangles end in disaster. Someone always gets hurt. Especially in The Lord of the Rings… Frodo loses a finger, the Ring is finally destroyed and Golem ends up medium to well-done.

But would you believe me if I told you that Paul tells us that there is a love triangle that should be in every marriage? Paul teaches that each marriage should have a healthy, biblical love triangle with GRACE as its foundation. It’s Jesus Christ’s GRACE that enables husbands and wives to love each other.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. (Eph 5:22)

Paul is teaching that in order that wives submit to their husbands they must first submit to Christ. That wives should submit their husbands as to CHRIST. So what does submitting to a husband as to Christ look like for a woman?

The problem is this … two of the three people tangled in this love triangle are self seeking, greedy sinners. And the third, well He is nothing less than PERFECT!

It’s pretty unfair that wives are asked to submit everything to someone who is going to continually let them down. Let me use myself to paint a picture: I am often late. I am easily angered. I am tempted and often fall into sin. I am forgetful. (That’s my wife’s pet hate: My forgetfulness)… [Pause] Rarely I fail to love my wife but Often I fail to love her just as Christ loved the church. The list of my shortcomings is endless. What’s incredible is my wife is asked to submit everything to me as she would to Christ… now that is massive. The husband is not Christ. I am not Christ. Christ is perfect. The husband is a sinner. So why does Paul ask wives to submit to sinful husbands?

The answer is Grace. Undeserved forgiveness. A wife has to show her husband GRACE when he fails. GRACE empowers the wife to submit to her husband even when he is unworthy of submission. Christians we are supposed to reflect the image of God. And in our marriage it’s no different. By showing GRACE to her husband a wife reflects the GRACIOUS glory of God.

What does this mean? What does it mean to show your husband GRACE? Well just because a husband is a dirty-rotten sinner, it doesn’t mean that his wife no longer has to submit to him. What Paul doesn’t say is ‘wives submit to your husbands while they are doing a great job at reflecting Christ’s glory’ but rather ‘just as you submit to Christ, also submit everything to your husband’.

You see it’s like this. Wives need to experience Christ’s grace toward themselves, and REFLECT that GRACE to their husbands. Did you get that? Wives need to submit to Christ, experience His grace towards themselves, and reflect that GRACE to their husbands while also submitting to them.

It is Christ’s empowering GRACE that holds a MARRIAGE together… the result… is a MARRIAGE that REFLECTS the GLORY of GOD.When a woman places herself at the foot of the cross, it makes her husband’s job ten times easier. When a woman first trusts the Lord, only then she can then fully trust her husband. If she doesn’t fully trust the Lord then she will be bitterly disappointed when her husband continually lets her down. But if she trusts and submits to the Lord, she is then empowered to reflect Christ’s mercy to her husband when he inevitably fails. Let me say that in another way. A wife’s job is to reflect Christ’s mercy and grace to her husband.

Being a Good Husband 101: Paul’s Love-triangle of GRACE

Ephesians 5:21-28

It is Christ’s empowering GRACE that holds a MARRIAGE together… the result… is a MARRIAGE that REFLECTS the GLORY of GOD.

Would it surprise you that unlike the popularised unhealthy love-triangles we see in the media, Paul teaches that each marriage should have a healthy, biblical love triangle with GRACE as its foundation.

In Ephesians 5:22 (and following) Paul is teaching how husbands and wives should relate to each other. Jesus Christ is supposed to be the head of every marriage. And it’s Jesus Christ’s GRACE that enables husbands and wives to love each other.

So what are men told to do? Well it almost sounds easy… Paul says LOVE YOUR WIVES. But how does our love as a 21st century men compare to the perfect example of love that’s found in Jesus? Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… (Eph 5:25)

Do you ever imagine your wife being attacked and you boldly standing up for her. Or a car veers off the road and you push her out of the way to be crushed yourself? I do. But how often do we get the chance to love our wives like that? If taking a bullet for our wife isn’t what Paul’s on about, then what does he mean by lay your life down for your wife?

One of the biggest misconceptions that men take into marriage is that it’s the man’s job to change his wife. And it’s simply not true. Blokes have an in-built desire to control everything.  Paul teaches that men must love their wives to the point of giving themselves up. AND THAT’S ALL. Love your wife as you love yourself Paul says. Paul doesn’t say, Love your wife while she is perfectly submitting everything to you… but he simply says Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”

So practically, how are we supposed to love our wives? Well it all comes back to Paul’s love triangle of GRACE. Men, you need to first learn to be loved by Christ. Experience His gracious love for you. Then and ONLY THEN can you show that love to your wives. As husbands we need to reflect on Christ’s love for us, and deflect that love toward our wives.

We need to take a vertical experience with God, and shoot that out as a horizontal experience with our wives. Men need to submit to Christ, and learn how to rely on his GRACE and MERCY. Then once you experience that gracious love of Christ, you can reflect it to your wives.

We can find the perfect model for love and submission in Jesus Christ. And that model is best displayed His relationship to the church. Christ is supposed to be the head of the marriage union. I urge you all, whether married, soon to be married, or hoping to one day be married. Keep the word of God at the center of your life, and continually submit yourselves to the Lord, and love the Lord because He is the head of the church, and your marriage. It is Christ’s empowering GRACE that holds a MARRIAGE together… and the result?… the result is a MARRIAGE that REFLECTS the GLORY of GOD.

Preaching Portfolio Piece

For my bible college preaching portfolio, I was asked to write a short piece in common spoken form. Hopefully it reads as if I were speaking.

G’day. In 2010 I was sent to Afghanistan as an Army Medic. One of the more nerve racking experiences was waiting on the flight line for the sick and wounded to arrive by chopper. This would happen a few times a week. We’d wait as a team; ready to move a patient from the chopper and take them to the hospital. It was a 300m drive in the back of an ambulance. We never knew what to expect, usually we’d receive a couple of details about the injuries by radio. But it was never enough to give us a full picture.

Picture this: All we know is that an enemy soldier has been shot and he is inbound. And we know he’s in a bad way.  Finally, I can see the chopper coming. My adrenaline kicks in as the noise becomes deafening. I have to brace myself against the gust from the chopper’s blades. We lower our safety glasses and once the chopper is on the ground we go get the patient from the flight medics. As the side door of the chopper opens we see a medic bouncing up and down on the enemy’s chest. They’re doing CPR. He’d died during the flight. Our orders say we can’t stop treatment yet.

Patients who had died during a flight have to get 15 minutes of life support when they land. Only then can we say that the patient has died.

My heart is now pounding. My job is to help carry the stretcher from the chopper to the ambulance. After the short trip to the hospital I am working with a team of doctors, nurses and medics to help save his life. My next task is to get a cannula in his arm so the doc can pump in drugs to try and restart his heart. For those who don’t know a cannula is the little plastic valve used to put medicine straight into a patient’s blood. Yeah I reckon landing a good cannula in someone’s arm is pretty easy… unless someone is bouncing on their chest – shaking their limbs everywhere. Or they’re dead and have no blood flowing through their veins. Lucky for me I hit the flat vein and land the cannula first shot. The doc is impressed.

When the dust had settled we found a gunshot wound to his shoulder. And an artery had been split. The guy had no chance, he’d lost too much blood. You know… it was then that I realised that the guy had no hope. Nothing I could do could save his life. And to be honest I felt pretty useless as a medic. Even though he was an enemy, I felt sorry because chances were he’d never had the chance to meet Jesus.