Love as Himself. As we conclude Ephesians 5, we find Paul expanding on the command for husbands to love their wives. In this expansion, he exhorts a husband to love his wife as himself.
28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Ephesians 5:28-33, NKJV
As we conclude Ephesians 5, we find Paul expanding on the command for husbands to love their wives. In this expansion, he exhorts a husband to love his wife as himself. Continuing with this thought, he states, "For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it." However, he does not end here. Instead, he adds, "Just as the Lord does the church."
What a seemingly impossible task! Yet, this (love as himself) is God's Word to husbands. The question that comes to mind is this. If this is impossible, then why does God make such a demand. How often do we come to this point in our Christian lives? What God requires is impossible for us to perform. What, then, are we to do? Do we just give up? No!
What is impossible to man is possible in Christ. Just as in all other areas of life, husbands are to continually call out to God to give them the ability to love their wives just as they love themselves. Even more, they are to love their wives as Christ loves the church.
What if the wife is totally unworthy of such love? What if she is a difficult person to love? That really is the point! How worthy are we of Christ's love for us? How worthy are we of having a Savior who was willing to take our place and take on the debts of all of our sins? None of us are worthy of such love, and yet this is the love that Christ bestowed upon His people, and this is the same kind of love that Christ demands of husbands toward their wives.
As wives, how are we to respond to such love? Paul admonishes us to respect our husbands. I am afraid that we, as wives, often fail in this regard. How easy it is to be critical of our husbands and to not appreciate their love for us. Yet, our husband, whether we think he deserves it or not, by the command of God, Himself, should receive our respect.
A Godly marriage is a rich treasure, indeed! No marriage is perfect, but when two committed believers seek to love God and, with His help, love one another, the result is beautiful to behold. Paul says, "This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church." We could not have a better example, could we?
How much does Christ love us?
6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8, NKJV
That, dear husbands, is your example. While we were still without strength, Christ died for us. He did not die for us because we were worthy or righteous, but He died for us while we were still sinners.
Husbands, when you think of God's command to love as himself, go, then, in the strength and power of Christ and love your wives. And wives, go in the strength and power of Christ and show respect to your husbands.