Most people who have read the Bible know Ephesians 5:22-33 lists responsibilities to the husband and wife. These responsibilities are commonly called roles. Both the husband and wife are called to operate in the marriage with different functions. Having different roles does not make one person more valuable than the other. It is like a team. Each person on the team has responsibilities and when they are faithful to the role, working with the other members of the team, the team can produce success or its intended goal. Just like a functioning team, marriage is designed for both people to come together and be one body, with one goal, for a purpose but with different roles. We are commanded to follow the roles. In fact, to not follow the roles makes us unwise.
Ephesians 5:22-33 describes two roles for the husband: He is the leader and to love his wife. The wife is commanded to submit to her husband’s leadership and be respectful of him. No role has more value in God’s eyes. All believers are equal in His family — to which we are in. But we do have different functions.
However, the goal of this post is not to discuss the roles specifically but to discuss why following God’s design is wise.
Paul says, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:15-16). The word walk in Ephesians stands as the backbone to Lord’s message to the church in Ephesians 4-6. We are to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel (4:1); no longer walk as the Gentiles do (4:17); walk in love (5:2); walk as wise men (5:15); and finally stand firm (6:11).
In each case the Lord explains what it means to walk. What does it mean to walk wisely? First, it means the believer is filled with the Spirit (5:18). How does a Spirit filled believer respond? First, corporately the singing not only exalts God, but it encourages the other saints.
Second, there is a consideration of others, submission to others by giving preference to others. Then Paul gets detailed. For wives, husbands, children, fathers, slaves, and masters he describes what it looks like in detail (5:22-6:10). Paul explains wise walking starting with the church and ending with the individual’s life.
The purpose of this section in Ephesians explains what walking wisely looks like. The wise man honors the Lord and imitates him (Ephesians 5:1). So for me, a husband and father, there are specific statements in the text showing me how to walk wisely. To abrogate, reject, or not follow these means two things: I will not be wise and I will not be filled with the Spirit. In fact, I will be disobedient to the Lord whom called me to be holy. In other words, I will not operate as designed by Him.
The affects of disobedience are staggering. First, I am unwise. Second, dishonor Him (no believer wants to dishonor the Lord). Third, I am abrogating true joy that comes through obedience for a selfish desire. Finally, my marriage will not represent the Gospel as displayed through the Christ – church relationships that marriage is intended to reflect (5:22-33).
Often we turn to Ephesians to look at God’s Word regarding marriage. But how often do we realize verses 22-33 have a direct relationship with verse 15? or even 5:1? or even 4:1ff? or even chapters 1-3?
Want to know what wisdom looks like? Study and live out Ephesians, specifically 5:15-6:10.