“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it”

“Husbands love your wives”
Literally:  “The husbands love the wives {of} yourselves”–With a sincere, pure, ardent, and constant affection.

         Paul now proceeds to speak of the duty of husbands to their wives, the principal of which consists in their loving them, without which they would abuse their power to tyranny and oppression. Here is a grand rule, according to which every husband is called to act: Love your wife as Christ loved the Church.
         But how did Christ love the Church? He gave Himself for it—He laid down His life for it. So then husbands should, if necessary, lay down their lives for their wives: and there is more implied in the words than mere protection and support; for, as Christ gave Himself for the Church to save it, so husbands should, by all means in their power, labor to promote the salvation of their wives, and their constant edification in righteousness.

         The duty of the wife is to obey; the right of the husband is to command. There cannot be two heads of a family.  A family is to be a living organism or entity; and two-headed organism would be a  freak of nature.  But Paul would guard against the abuse of that right of the husband to command by enjoining the manifestation of such a spirit on the husband as would secure obedience on the part of the wife. He proceeds, therefore, to show that the husband, in all his relationships with the wife, should manifest the same spirit which the Lord Jesus did towards the church; or, in other words, he holds up the conduct of the Redeemer towards the church as the model for a husband to imitate. If a husband wished a rule that would be short, simple, clear, and efficacious, about the manner in which he should regard and treat his wife, he could not find a better one than that here suggested.

        LOVE:  (Gr.-agapaô)–There are two other Greek words that Paul could have used for the love of a husband for his wife, and classical writers would have been more prone to use these other words. 

         Paul could have used the Greek verb eraô which expresses the sexual passion of a man for a woman; or he could have used the verb phileô, a word that the Greeks used for affection within the family.  But Paul did not use either of these.  Instead he chose to use the word agapaô, the term used to describe the Christian type of love.; that love that is totally unselfish, which seeks not its own satisfaction, nor even affection answering affection, but that love that strives for the highest good of the one loved.  Paul uses this word to remind husbands that they must not think of what they expect as due to them from their wives, but what they owe in self-giving and devotion.
        Thus we find that the authority of the man over the woman is founded on his love to her, and this love must be such as to lead him to risk his life for her if need be. As the care of the family devolves on the wife, and the children must owe the chief direction of their minds and formation of their manners to the mother, she has need of all the assistance and support which her husband can give her; and if she performs her duty well, she deserves the utmost of his love and affection.
         Note that Paul does not command the wife to love her husband as the husband is commanded to love his wife.  Her love is commanded elsewhere (Titus 2:4)–“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children”–but not here.  Her husband is to be the head, yet he is not commanded to govern, but to love as the means to secure the subjection or submission on the part of the wife.  The woman loves more naturally and more passionately than man.  Her love is no subject of command; it is taken for granted, and Paul commands her to obey and honor her husband as the best expression of this love.  He rules by authority; she rules by love.  She should try by all means to please him, and he must by no means displease her. God NEVER asked a woman to submit to any man who does not love her. 
         Do you wish your wife to obey you, as the Church is to obey Christ? Then have the same solicitude for her as Christ had for the Church (v. 23), “even as Christ also loved the church,”

“even as Christ also love the church”
Literally:  “even as Christ loved the church”–With a pure, ardent, self-sacrificing love. This was the strongest love that has ever been evinced in this world. It follows, that a husband is in no danger of loving his wife too much, provided she be not loved more than God. We are to make the love which Christ had for the church the model.

1.      The husband’s love is to be a sacrificial love.
         It must never to be a selfish love.
2.      The husband’s love is to be a purifying love.
          a.      Never to be love which coarsens instead of refining the character.
          b.      Never to weaken the moral strength.
3.      The husband’s love is to be a caring love.
         a.      Real love loves not to extract service.
                  There is something wrong when a man regards his wife as simply the one who cooks his meals, washes his clothes cleanses his house and brings up his children.
         b.      Real love cherishes the one it loves.
4.      The husband’s love is to be an unbreakable love.

         This leaves no room for divorce.
5.      The husband’s love is to be a love as in the Lord.

         Did Christ love His church with an active and operative love, with a real and sincere love, with an entire and undivided love, with a lasting and constant love, notwithstanding all His church's weaknesses and failings?   Then also ought the husband's love to be as such; that is, every husband is have love to his own wife. No meanness of birth, no want of education, no homeliness of person, no forwardness of disposition in the wife, will discharge the husband from the obligation of this duty towards her:
          Christ's example has both the force of an argument to excite us to it, and is also an exact rule to guide and direct us in it: Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the Church. Namely, with a love that is sincere, pure, ardent, constant, and persevering, and notwithstanding the imperfections and failures that they are chargeable with. The true model this of conjugal affection! with this kind of love, with this degree of it, and to this end, should husbands love their wives. Christ loved the church, and gave Himself a ransom for it, when it was in a state of slavery and misery; and husbands, if called to it by God, should lay down their lives for their wives.

         Understand this most important point:, as the church’s subjection to Christ is proposed as an example to wives.  So the love of Christ to His church is proposed as a pattern to husbands: and while such examples are offered to the imitation of both, and so much is required of each of them, neither has reason to complain of the divine injunction.  The love which God requires from the husband toward his wife, compensates for that subjection which he demands from her to her husband.
         The prescribed subjection of the wife is an abundant return for that love of the husband which God hath made her due. In what follows we are told that the end for which Christ loved the church, was that He might make her holy and save her; therefore, if husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, they must endeavor to promote their faith and piety, must strive to make them wise and holy.

“and gave Himself for it”
Literally:  “and gave Himself up on behalf of it”–Gave Himself to die to redeem His Church, to cleanse it and to sanctify it. The meaning here is, that husbands are to imitate the Christ in this respect.

 As Christ gave Himself to suffer on the cross to save the church, so we are to be willing to deny ourselves and to bear toil and trial, that we may promote the happiness of the wife. It is the duty of the husband…
1.      To toil for her support;

2.      To provide for her wants;
3.      To deny himself of rest and ease, if necessary, in order to attend on her in sickness;
4.      To go before her in danger;
5.      To defend her if she is in peril; and,
6.      To be ready to die to save her.

Why should he not be? If they are shipwrecked, and there is a single plank on which safety can be secured, should he not be willing to place her on that, and see her safe at all hazards to himself?

         But there may be more implied in this than that a man is to toil, and if necessary, to even lay down his life for the welfare of his wife. Christ laid down His life to save the church; and a husband should feel that it should be one great object of his life to promote the salvation of his wife. He is bound so to live as not to interfere with her salvation, but so as to promote it in every way possible. He is to furnish her all the facilities that she may need, to enable her to attend on the worship of God; and to throw no obstacles in her way. He is to set her the example; to counsel her if she needs counsel; and to make the path of salvation as easy for her as possible. If a husband has the spirit and self-denial of the Savior, he will regard no sacrifice too great if he may promote the salvation of his family.
         The husband's duty to the wife is enforced by another parallel: it ought to correspond to Christ's love for the Church. This parallel restores the balance; if it should seem hard for the wife to be in subjection, the spirit of love, Christ-like love, on the part of the husband makes the duty easy. Christ did not merely pity the Church, or merely desire her good, but loved her; her image was stamped on his heart and her name graven on his hands; he desired to have her for his companion, longing for a return of her affection, for the establishment of sympathy between her and him. And he gave himself for her (comp. ver. 2), showing that her happiness and welfare were dearer to him than his own – the true test of deep, real love.


“That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”

“That He might sanctify”
Literally:  “that it He might sanctify”–That is, consecrate her to God. Compare John 17:19, which literally says: “I sanctify (devote, set apart) Myself for them that they also may be sanctified (devoted or consecrated) as holy in (through) truth.”

        SANCTIFY:  (Gr.-hagiasêi)–Purify it from its filth, and consecrate unto God: implying the whole translation of it out of a state of sin and misery into a state of grace and life, consisting in the remission of sin, and renovation of nature. . The meaning here is, that a husband is to manifest similar love towards his wife, and a similar desire that she should be prepared to "walk before him in white."

The great object of the Redeemer was to purify and save the church
1.      In the past, Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.
2.      In the present He is sanctifying the church with the water of the Word of God. 
         a.      The cleanser, which is the Bible, is better than any cleanser advertised on radio or television. 
         b.      The Word of God will not only take out the spots, it will keep you from getting further spots in your life.
3.      In the future, Christ will present to himself a glorious church, without a spot or wrinkle but holy and without blemish. 
         We will see the Church present to Christ as a bride adorned for her husband when we study the Book of Revelation

I.      Christ is the Head of the Church as well as the Savior of the Body.
        a.      He not only saves the Church, but He also governs it.
        b.      He not only redeemed the Church by His atoning death, but He is also its Preserver and Director.
II.    Christ Prepares the Church for Himself as His spotless Bride.
        It was through His death that Christ designed to make His people holy.
III.   Christ and the Church are one membership (v. 30).

         The Church is represented as the spouse of Christ, as the woman is the spouse of the man; and, to prepare this Church for himself, he washes, cleanses, and sanctifies it. There is certainly an allusion here to the ancient method of purifying women, who were appointed to be consorts to kings; twelve months, it appears, were in some instances spent in this purification: Six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odors and with other things, for the purifying of women. See the case of Esther, Esther 2:12; see also Psalm 45:13, 14; Ezekiel 16:7-14.

“And cleanse it with the washing of water”
Literally:  “cleansing by the washing of the water”–Literally, by the “laver of the water.  So “lthrough the laver of regeneration,” (Titus 3:5), the only other N.T. passage where the noun rendered “laver” occurs. In baptism, as the sign of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, which can only renew, sanctify, and cleanse the soul (See II Thess. 2:13; I Pet. 1:2; Titus 3:5).

         The Greek word here and also in Titus 3:5 is NOT baptismoswhich means, “ritual washing, ablution, baptism;” but rather is (Gr.-loutron)“washing, cleansing.” This is displayed in I John 1:7 and 1:9.  I John 1:7 speaks of (loutron)the complete bath, “the washing of regeneration,” while I John 1:9 speaks of wash (Gr.-niptô) the partial cleansing. The “washing of regeneration” is the baptism of the Holy Spirit by which all believers are baptized (I Cor. 12:13).    This is also illustrated by the meaning of the laver in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. 
         The Tabernacle is not only a picture of Christ, but it is also a picture of the believer, because of the believer’s position of being in Christ.  The doctrine of the priesthood of the individual believer (I Pet. 2)—“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood…” is a precious doctrine that the papist nicolaitans (see Rev. 2:6, 15) have hated and persecuted Baptist down through the ages.  Possibly in both cases there is a reference to baptism, but, as in Rom. 6:3-6, the immersion is the picture or the symbol of the new birth, not the means of securing it.

“That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having a spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing: but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

“That He might present it to Himself”
Literally:  “That He might present it to Himself”- It was usual to bring the royal bride to the king in the most sumptuous apparel; and is there not here an allusion to Psa. 45:13,14–

        “The king’s daughter {is} all glorious within:  her clothing {is} of wrought gold.
        “She shall be bought unto the king in raiment of needlework,:  the virgins her companions that follow her shall be bought unto thee”
(Psa. 45:13-14).

         As in II Cor. 11:2–“For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one Husband, that I may present {you as} a chaste virgin to Christ”–of presenting the bride to the bridegroom  The ultimate end, to which ver. 26 is introductory. Christ both gives and takes the bride; He presents her to Himself – the day of His espousals being in the state of glory (Rev. 21:2).
         The original is more emphatic—“that He might Himself present it to Himself.” This presentation belonged usually to the “paranymph,” or “friend of the bridegroom,” to whom John Baptist compares himself in John 3:29.  Paul himself assumes that office in II Cor. 11:2– “I have espoused (or rather, betrothed) you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” Here, however, all is of Christ. He, as Paranymph, comes down to seek and to save His Bride; He, as Bridegroom, receives her in His heavenly home in the last day, when He shall receive the church as His spouse to heaven, Revelation 21:9. Perhaps the word prepare would better express the sense here than present;  that He may prepare it for Himself as a holy church.

         PRESENT:  (Gr.-parastêsêi)-Perhaps the word “prepare” would better express the sense here than present–that he may prepare it for himself as a holy church. Tindal renders it, “to make it unto himself.”

“A glorious Church”
Literally:  {as} the glorious Church”–Every way glorious and honorable, because she is pure and holy. She becomes glorious at last through assimilation to Christ Himself (John 17:22; II Cor. 3:18).

A church full of honor, splendor, beauty. The idea of shining, or of being bright, would convey the sense here. Probably there is still here an allusion to a bride “adorned for her husband,”  (Rev. 21:2; Psa. 45:9-14); and the idea is that the church will be worthy of the love of the Bridegroom, to whom it will then be presented.

        GLORIOUS:  (Gr.-hendoxon)–Used of expensive or glorious clothing in Luke 7:25.  The idea of “shining,” or of being “bright,” would convey the sense here. Probably there is still here an allusion to a bride “adorned for her husband” and the ideal is that the Church will be worthy of the love of the Bridegroom, to whom it will then be presented.

         Holiness and glory are inseparable. "Cleansing" is the necessary preliminary to both. Holiness is glory internal; glory is holiness shining forth outwardly.

 “not having a spot, or wrinkle”
Literally:  “not having spot or wrinkle”–Not having a stain, a defect, or any impurity–still retaining the allusion to a bride, and to the care taken to remove every blemish. No blemish on the face; no spots upon the garment; the heart and life both holy.

The bodies of the saints will be like to Christ's glorious body:
1.      They will shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father;

2.      Their souls they will be completely conformed to the image of Christ. 
3.      They will enjoy uninterrupted communion with Him.
4.      They will have perfect knowledge of Him.
5.      They will be always in His presence,
6.      He will take unspeakable delight and complacency in them, which His presentation of them to Himself is expressive of.

The church will then be free from all spots and blemishes;
1.      Free from all hypocrites and formal professors;
2.      Free from all heresies and heretics; from all declensions and infirmities,
3.      Free from all sin and iniquity.

Paul seems to be alluding to the customs and practices of the Jews:
In their espousals: if a man espoused a woman on condition that she had no spots in her, and afterwards spots were found in her, she was not espoused;  and for spots or blemishes, as in priests, so in women, render them unfit; as the one for service, so the other for marriage; and they reckon up eight several spots or blemishes, for which they may be rejected: but Christ's church has no spots or blemishes, nor anything like them; and will never be rejected by Him, but will be always pleasing in His sight:

        SPOT:  spot (Gr.-spilon)–Only here and II Pet. 2:13.  The kindred Greek verb spiloô meaning, “to defile,” occurs in James 3:6; Jude 23.

        “And the tongue {is} a fire, a world of iniquity:  so is the tongue among our members; that it filleth (literally:  “spotting”– spiloô) the whole body and setting, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell” (James 3:6).
        “And other save with fear, pulling {them} out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted (spiloô) by the flesh” (Jude 23).

         Still retaining the allusion to a bride, and to the care taken to remove every blemish.   No blemish on the face; no spots upon the garment; the heart and life both holy. Not having a stain, a defect, or any impurity. Not having a stain, a defect, or any impurity; still retaining the allusion to a bride, and to the care taken to remove every blemish.
         The visible Church now contains clean and unclean together, like Noah's ark; like the wedding room which contained some that had, and others that had not, the wedding garment (Matt. 22:10-14; compare II Tim. 2:20); or as the good and bad fish are taken in the same net because it cannot discern the bad from the good, the fishermen being unable to know what kind of fish the nets have taken under the waves. When the Bridegroom comes, the bride shall be presented to Him wholly without spot, the evil being cut off from the body for ever (Matt. 13:47-50). Not that there are two churches, one with bad and good intermingled, another in which there are good alone; but one and the same Church in relation to different times, now with good and evil together, hereafter with good alone.

         WRINKLE:  (Gr.-putida)Only used here in the N.T.  In the rigor and beauty of youth; like a bride in whom here is no wrinkle of age; a defect in its beauty and freshness of life.

No mark of retirement or decay. The word is commonly applied to wrinkles on the face, indicative of sickness or decrepitude. In the rigor and beauty of youth; like a bride in whom here is no wrinkle of age. 

“but that it should be holy and without blemish”
Literally:  “but  it be holy and unblemished”–Christ's goal for the Church, His bride and His body, both negative purity and positive.

Meaning, in every sense holy, pure, and perfect.  It was for this purpose that Christ gave Himself for the Church; and for this purpose He continues the different ordinances which He has appointed; particularly, the preaching of the Gospel message:  the Doctrine of Reconciliation through faith in His blood.   It is in this life that all this purification is to take place; for none shall be presented at the day of judgment to Him who has not here been sanctified, cleansed, washed, made glorious, having neither spot, wrinkle, blemish, nor any such thing. How vain is the pretension of multitudes to be members of the true Church while full of spots, wrinkles, blemishes, and MANY such things; fondly supposing that their holiness is in their surety, not in themselves.


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