But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:20-24)
The New Husband And The New Wife
Paul’s letter to the saints who are in Ephesus is a grand treatise on the church of Jesus Christ as the holy body of believers united under one Lord and one faith. The apostle is seeking to show the early disciples the nature of those who would call themselves followers of Christ to excel in their relationships with God and man. His letter would appeal to the saints to walk in unity, walk in Christ, walk in love, walk in the light, walk in wisdom and walk as soldiers of the cross. Near the end of his letter, Paul will appeal to the husband and wife to be examples of fidelity to Christ in their love for one another. Wives are to submit to their husbands as they submit themselves to the Lord and husbands are to lead their wives in spiritual headship as also Christ is head of the church and savior of the body. These are strong admonitions God has placed upon every husband and wife who seek to do His will. There is not a graying area where these roles can be ignored or rejected. The Holy Spirit explains the role of the wife in submission to the husband is likened to the subjection the church shares with Christ. Husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. As the groom, Jesus nourishes and cherishes the church to be a glorious woman of beauty and godly character. Paul concludes his remarks with reminding the Ephesian brethren that husbands must love their wives as themselves and the wife must respect her husband.
The passage of Ephesians 5 is often used for marital counseling, sermons, and instructions concerning the home. These are powerful testimonies to the pattern of the home God designed in the beginning. Marital strife comes when God’s word is not followed and His divine pattern is not accepted as truth. The Lord created the home and He knows what is best for the home. It must not be lost in the study of the text that Paul has laid an important foundation leading up to the admonitions for the husband and wife that are key to their success. Before telling wives to be submissive to their husbands and the husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church, the apostle reminds the saints of who they are first before God. They are not husbands like those in the world and godly wives do not model themselves after the character of worldly women. The saints of God learned a new manner of life when they were brought into Christ by the grace of God. Obeying the gospel they learned to hear and believe the word of God as truth and accepted the sovereignty of God upon their lives. Learning to grow in Christ is learning to follow a different pattern of truth. The former conduct of life where the wife demands headship in the home and where husbands live as tyrants over the wife is not what one learns in Christ. Paul describes the former conduct of the husband and wife as the life of the old man that grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts of the flesh. Those who do not live according to the law of God will not abide by the will of God in marriage. There is a pattern that each husband and wife must follow to be pleasing to the Lord and that is found in the word of God. The husband that is seeking to please the Father finds his heart filled with a renewed spirit of righteousness and truth. Wives learn how to love their husbands and enjoy submission through the grace of God’s word as their minds are renewed in Christ. A Christian husband and wife are renewed in the spirit of their minds to be a new person created according to God in true righteousness and holiness. Being in Christ changes the heart of the man and woman to be like Christ. Marriage was ordained in the Garden of Eden when the Lord created Adam and Eve. When the child of God under the covenant of Christ adorns their marriage with the gospel of Jesus Christ, the marriage is exalted to a higher plane of joy, peace, harmony, and love. No home is so filled with happiness than the home that is filled with a godly man and woman who have renewed themselves in Christ.
Paul will go on to illustrate how the new man will find joy in marriage by putting away things like lying, anger, bitterness, wrath and evil speaking. Marriages that are guided by the new way of Christ are filled with kindness, tenderness, forgiveness, and truth. Husbands and wives walk in unity as one with God and Christ. They are imitators of God as dear children who walk in love. The home is filled with the light of God as they walk as children of light for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth-seeking what is acceptable to the Lord. It takes wisdom to walk circumspectly before God and all men showing the pattern of fidelity in marriage to one another. The greatest attribute between husband and wife is how they give thanks always in all things to God the Father submitting to one another in the fear of God. This is the new man that brings the holiness of God to the marriage for the husband and wife. Becoming a new man in Christ is where the change takes place. Wives will never submit to their husbands if they do not become the new person in Christ. Husbands can never find their leadership in the home until they put on the new man created by the will of God. The husband and wife do not need to be unwise but understand what the will of the Lord is. There is a pattern that pleases God and that is found in the husband and wife that have become new creatures in Jesus Christ.