- Lesson 11 from the BaptistWay Press Connect360 unit “The Fullness of Christ” focuses on Colossians 3:18–4:1.
The most valuable thing a husband can do to exemplify Christ in his marriage is to show ongoing, sacrificial love. The word translated love in this passage is not the word for passionate, erotic love (eros), nor the term for a friendly, brotherly love (phileo), but the word for extreme, undeserved love (agape). By using agape, Paul was comparing the love that a husband is to demonstrate to his wife with the love that God has for his people.
Before Jesus ever “gave himself” on the cross, he sacrificed many things. He surrendered his position in heaven to come to earth. He sacrificed his time to minister to the disenfranchised. He forfeited his will to the ultimate plans of the Father. Paul was not just asking husbands to lay down their lives for their wives; he was teaching that the greatest way for husbands to show the power of God in their homes is to sacrifice their opinions, preferences, ideas, and even their wills to be inclusive of the needs and desires of their wives.
Mutually submit, lovingly support
Paul’s counsel to wives does not imply that wives are to do something husbands are not to do. In Ephesians 5:21, he stated that we are all to submit to one another out of our awe over the love Jesus has for us. However, there is one need common to most husbands: respect (Ephesians 5:33). Jesus is a wife’s only Master; her husband is her partner in life. Through that partnership, a wife exalts Christ as she supports, encourages and respects her husband.
The word translated “submit” is the Greek word hupotasso (the same word used in Ephesians 5:21–22). The word comes from the architectural field, and it speaks of a pillar that holds up a structure. In other words, Paul was saying that, without the support of their wives, husbands would collapse. So, a husband needs his wife to come underneath him and help hold him up. While Paul gave this as an imperative, he chose to use the middle voice. This particular form in Greek means that the subject (wives) is to act out the verb (submit) as a voluntary choice. Paul pleaded with wives to willingly submit themselves by coming alongside and boosting their spouses.
Compiled by Stan Granberry, marketing coordinator for BaptistWay Press.
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