AN ELEVATION OF WIVES
Ephesians 5:24 "Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything."
“Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Paul compares the submission of wives to their husbands to the submission of the church to Christ. How does the church submit to Christ? Happily. Willingly. Faithfully. Constantly and consistently. Dependently. In this way the Christian wife submits to her husband.
But one more thing. Look at what Christ has done for the church. In a very real sense, Paul is actually elevating the status of the wife! The Gentile woman in Ephesus had no real rights at all. She was expected to stay in the house almost all the time unless she went out with her husband. She did not have rights of citizenship. She was not an important part of the guild or the temple. She was looked down upon and mistreated by all the men of the society. They were often in conflict with their husbands.
Paul is telling Christian wives that they are no longer to live like the Gentiles. They will no longer be in a position of servitude to society in general. They are to be devoted to their husbands and they are to offer their submission to their own husbands, not to society. They are no longer mere property, owned by their husbands. They are partners in their marriages and they can share with their husbands by voluntarily offering their submission to them. Paul says that Christian wives have great personal value. Christianity did not subjugate or oppress women when it came into Greek society. Christianity liberated women and elevated their status in both the home and the community!
Our society makes it very difficult for Christian women to offer submission to their husbands. Women are pressured to go out and live their own lives, to make something of themselves. Feminism cries out for women to shake off the centuries of oppression. The liberation movement demands erasure of the gender differences and wants complete equality. If Paul were writing today he would say, “Don’t live like the world lives. Be filled with the Holy Spirit and willingly and lovingly submit to one another. Christian wives, celebrate the high status given you in Christ and offer your submission to your husbands as an act of your worship of God.”
What if your husband isn’t a Christian? What if he is a selfish brute? What if he takes advantage of your submission and is completely unworthy of it? Those are very difficult circumstances. All I can give you are the words of Peter, “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives” (1 Peter 3:1, 2). In those cases your loving submission is not only an act of worship offered to God but also a powerful tool for the Spirit to use in the life of your husband.