For Husbands Only
Believing Husband's Responsibilities
The following was written in response to concerns expressed by a believing woman in New York State. She was familiar with several cases where husbands were demanding much of their wives and giving little in return. It is thus helpful to remind believing husbands of their responsibilities in light of God's Word.
This is a message for believing husbands only. Unsaved husbands have no desire to please the Lord and obey Him: "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom. 8:7-8). If you are an unsaved man, God's command to you is NOT "Love your wife, as Christ loved the church." You do not understand the meaning of Calvary love. You are presently rejecting God's only Saviour and your only remedy. You are dead in sins (Eph. 2:1-3) and perishing (1 Cor. 1:18). The only command that God has for you is this: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 3:23). If you are unsaved your first responsibility is to make sure that you receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour and have a relationship with Him that is real and right. Only then will you be able to correctly tackle your relationship with others including your wife.
What we wish to share now is meant for saved men who are married. Let's remind ourselves of some basics: "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:3-4). One of the marks of a true believer is that he is a commandment keeper. A true believer desires to obey God and obey His Word. Do we obey perfectly? No. Do we obey always? No. Do we fail and falter and fall? Yes. But we do obey. And when we disobey we are grieved and we are miserable. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Thank God we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One (1 John2:1-2)!
As a saved man and as a husband, do you not desire to obey God? Has not God given to you, as a husband, very specific commands so that you can be the husband God would have you to be?
Look at the word "HUSBANDS" in Ephesians 5:25. Is not that God's message especially for you? Have you paid very close attention to it?
Do you tell your wife constantly how she ought to submit to you and obey you in everything and be in submission? Do you nag her about this frequently? It is true that God has a word for "WIVES" (Eph. 5:22,24), but does He not also have a word for HUSBANDS? If the wife is to obey God, is not the husband to obey God also? If the wife has specific duties before God, does not also the husband? If she is to obey Ephesians 5:22 as a believing woman, are not you to obey Ephesians 5:25 as a believing man? The wife's submission ought to be in response to the husband's love, just as the believer's submission to Christ is in reponse to His love as shown on Calvary.
Did you know that the wife is given three verses in Ephesians chapter 5 (verses 22-24) but the husband is given nine verses (verses 25-33)? Is it right for your wife to obey the three verses but for you to neglect the nine verses? Will this meet Christ's approval at His judgment seat? Instead of nagging your wife about her duties, why not be an example to your wife by fulfilling your duties? It is much easier to submit to a husband who is faithfully fulfilling His God-given responsibilities as the head of the home and the husband of his wife.
The husband's responsibilities as set forth in God's Word are very clear...
1) He is to love his wife, yea, to keep on loving her, even as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:25). How did Christ love the Church? Did He not sacrifice and give His all for it? Do you exhibit self-denying, sacrificial love for your wife, seeking her highest and best regardless of personal cost?
2) He is to take his proper place as her head, knowing that the Head of every man is Christ (1 Cor. 11:3).
3) He is to always love his wife as his own body, nourishing and cherishing her, even as Christ does the Church (Eph. 5:28-29). It says "nourishing her" not "nagging her."
4) He is to always live with her according to knowledge, showing honor to her as unto the weaker vessel and also as a fellow-heir together with him of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7).
5) He is to keep on rendering and giving back to her that which he owes her as his wife (1 Cor. 7:3, referring especially to sexual obligations).
As the godly husband fulfills his responsibilities, the godly wife will be encouraged to fulfill hers, which include the following:
1) She will submit to him, yea, to keep on submitting to him in everything, even as the Church is subject to Christ (Eph. 5:22-24).
2) She will love him (Tit. 2:4).
3) She will always reverence and respect him (Eph. 5:33).
4) She will be obedient to him even as Sarah was obedient to Abraham, calling him lord (1 Pet. 3:5-6).
5) She will keep on rending and giving back to him that which she owes him as her husband (1 Cor. 7:3, referring especially to sexual obligations).
The marriage relationship is meant to be a beautiful picture of Christ's relationship to His church, to His believers. The wife has an awesome responsibility because she is picturing the church (the believer) and how the believer is to be in submission to Christ. As someone looks at a godly wife, he (or she) ought to be able to say, "She is presenting to me a picture of how I ought to submit to my Lord Jesus Christ. As I watch her live with her husband I am learning how to be the believer God wants me to be."
The husband's responsibility is even greater because he is picturing Christ Himself. As someone looks at a believing husband, he (or she) ought to be able to say, "He is presenting to me a picture of how Christ loves the church. As I watch him live with his wife, I am learning about Calvary LOVE. I am learning how Christ GAVE HIMSELF for the church, how He sacrificed His all for our eternal welfare. As I see him nourish and cherish his wife I am learning about the Lord's tender loving care towards me." Men, are you presenting the right picture?
Let us not take our Lord's commands lightly. God knows what makes a marriage work and we need to follow His Word and His perfect recipe. How can I expect my wife to obey God's commands if I am going to ignore them? How can I expect my wife to submit and obey if I refuse to love and nourish and cherish?
Let us take a good look in the mirror of God's Word (James 1:22-25) and see if there are areas where we need to change and correct our behavior. Let us be doers of the Word and not hearers only. Even if our wives are not faithful in doing their part, let us make sure that we are faithful in doing ours. May we love her and cherish her and nourish her, even if she fails to be as submissive as she ought. Often the believing wives are gracious and patient when it comes to the failures and shortcomings of their husbands. The husbands need to be gracious and patient when the wives fall short of being all that God would have them to be.
If we are really believers in Christ, let us act like it. Let us put off the old man and put away carnality and fleshly excuses, and let's play the man! "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong" (1 Cor. 16:13).
From our heart may we echo these words: "I acknowledge that, of myself I am unable to fulfill these obligations towards my wife, but I trust, even as my Lord Jesus has commanded in His Word that husbands should do these things, that He will by His grace enable me to do them, and so to live lovingly and joyfully with my wife, until death parts us or until our Lord Jesus comes." May it so be!
"We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29)
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