Eph 5 — Walk in Love, Wives and Husbands
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Chapter 5 in Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus is in two parts. The first part talks about how we should behave, why we should and the consequences of misbehavior. The second part addresses how married couples should act toward one another.
Paul’s pretty clear on proper behavior: “there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people” (Ephesians 5:3); further, “No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (5:5). That’s pretty clear direction. There are things we simply must not do. I’m reminded again of the concept of being an “ambassador” of Christ. This is one way to test my behavior, just ask myself, would an ambassador act this way? Would I want someone to represent me this way? Or my church or business? If a reporter was standing there with microphone and camera, would you say what you said? “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (5:15-16). When we lived in England, it was obvious that those in the royal family had to behave at a higher level than the ordinary British individual. But does this really make sense? Shouldn’t we all carry ourselves with honor?
It’s fitting that Paul carries this theme into the second part of chapter 5, how married couples should behave. This section is bound by two verses: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (5:21) and “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (5:33).
As I sit here in the lobby of our hotel typing this, Pachelbel’s Canon in D is playing in the background. This is the wedding march my wife and I choose over 26 years ago. Funny how God reminds us of these things. The music draws me back to our wedding day, the day we stood in front of a church filled with friends and family and confessed our love and commitment toward each other. In our vows we included two phrases that we thought were significant: “I do” (well, that’s pretty traditional). To us, that was obvious, but a powerful statement, I do confess my love and devotion. The second phrase we added was, “I will.” I will do these things for the rest of my life. We repeat these words frequently, I do and I will. For us, that’s living the direction Paul laid before us in Ephesians 5:21-33. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful wife for so many years, through ups and downs. Ours may not fit a traditional mold, but we place Christ first in our marriage and in our lives. After that, I pray it all falls into place!