Ephesians 5:21-33

Verse For The Week:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” [Ephesians 5:25-27]

The Main Idea:

When we look at this passage we look at God’s true design for marriage. We see that contrary to popular belief marriage is not about us, it’s all about Jesus. Out of reverence for Jesus, submission to one another is the key to a healthy, flourishing marriage. That means submission first to Christ and then to each other is his design for your life and marriage. When we see Him for who He is, we then can begin to see our spouse as God intended. It’s out of our understanding of Christ’s love for us that we can begin to share that love with our spouse.

Major Points:

Point 1 - God's Design for Marriage

Verse 21 is often a part of this passage that’s overlooked. We see here that a healthy marriage begins with mutual submission. The key here is that mutual submission will never happen without the reason for this submission, which is reverence for Christ. To share it plainly, we will never serve one another in marriage until we see that Christ submitted Himself to death on a Cross to love and save us. It is out of this “Good News” that we can begin to learn how to love one another as God intended. Also, we see the responsibility that both husband and wife are to submit to one another because both are equal in value as partners together with each having complementary roles in the marriage.

Point 2 - God's Instruction for Marriage

God’s instruction is given to the church in this passage as well. 

  • Wives are to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ. One thing to be clear in this is that this submission is secondary first to our submission to Christ. We are never to partake in anything sinful under the headship of the husband that is contrary to first submitting to Christ. But what it does mean is that the responsibility of the wife is to lovingly serve the husband and trust Him with headship of the household as his equal partner. 

  • Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Now men, what this doesn’t mean is that we call all the shots and do whatever we want. No, out of reverence for Christ, we love our wives. What did Christ do for His church? He died for it, giving Himself up completely for her. This is the servant leadership we are called to in our marriage. We are to lead through service and modeling a relationship with Jesus.

Point 3 - God's Purpose in Marriage

The purpose for marriage is all about the Gospel. We’ve already stated that it is reverence for Christ and what He has done that fuels us to love and submit to one another as husband and wife. Husbands we are to wash our wives through the Word. What that means is that the Good News of Jesus is to be read, shared and modeled in our household that all may be saved. When the husband and wife are pursuing Jesus, mutually submitting and serving one another, it is a beautiful picture of the Gospel on display for the world to see! And in this is God’s purpose for marriage, it’s all about showing the world Christ’s love for the Church so that the world may be drawn to God.


Question Bank:

  1. How has your week been spiritually?

  2. What has the Lord shown you through the passage this week?

  3. Wives, what would you say is your biggest struggle with embracing God’s design in your marriage?

  4. Men, what would you say is the biggest struggle with embracing God’s design for your marriage?

  5. In what ways can you grow in areas of your marriage? (Prayer, reading the bible together…..)

  6. What is the biblical definition or standard of love? Why is it so important to know and understand this definition of love?

  7. How has your week been spiritually?