Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27)
The topics of dating, relationships, and marriage come up a lot in Lutheran circles. Perhaps, I’m just more exposed to discussions about these things since I’m a single 22-year-old. I won’t even get into how playing side-kick on HT-Radio during Episode 175, which was devoted almost solely to relationships and trying to set me up with a Confessional Lutheran girl (I even had to censor Stan giving out my cell phone number!), plays into this.
Naturally, whenever these topics come up in Christian circles, Ephesians 5 is discussed. A lot of time is spent on the first part of the “Husbands and Wives” section, especially wives submitting to their husbands and what exactly that means. Often, verse 21 is ignored though. That part about everyone submitting to everyone else. But that’s a topic for a different blog post. But recently, I have noticed a shift to talking about the second portion of the section (quoted above) in the LCMS at least. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” But there’s something that really bugs me about how this is discussed and portrayed… by just about everyone.
I was reading comments on a blog post, about this topic, about a month ago. That’s when it hit me! People talk about how husbands should be willing to die for their wives or die for their wives if the situation calls for it, or if need be, etc. But, that’s not what the verse says! “You husband! Love your wife! Die for her!” There’s not any “be willing to” or “if need be” in that verse.
Then, we have Lutheran pastors, seminarians, and Lutherans in general talking about husbands dying for their wives like it’s something that they can actually do in and of themselves. We’re called to love our friends too and to lay down our lives for them (John 15:13). Even pagans would be willing to die for those they love. I think what Paul says goes way past that. Husbands die for your wives. Die with your idolatry. Die with your lust. Die with your coveting. Die with your slanderous thoughts and words. Die to pointing out the sins and faults of your wife instead of making them your own. Die with your sins!
****WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG POST TO BRING YOU A QUOTE FROM LUTHER’S SMALL CATECHISM****
The Sacrament of Holy Baptism
What does such baptizing with water indicate?
It indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.
**We now return to your regularly scheduled blog post**
How does a Christian die? Daily! In Baptism! How does a husband die for his wife? Daily! In Baptism! You can’t do it on your own. You fail every time. But when dying for your wife doesn’t depend on you but upon your baptism into Christ’s death and resurrection, it’s done. You do love your wife as Christ loves the Church.
This is also why your pastors are so concerned about you dating someone outside of the faith. Someone who confesses something different (and unscriptural) about baptism. Someone who would lead you away from having all depend on Christ to a place where your trust is in yourself.
So, girls find a guy who will die for you. Who does die for you daily in baptism! Guys find a girl who will call you to repentance and forgive you when your actions say that you’re doing the complete opposite of dying for her.
Girls and guys find someone who will rejoice in the forgiveness of sins given to you in your baptism. That baptism that has set you free from sin, death, and the power of the devil. So free that you can even die for your wife or future wife or let your husband (or future husband) die for you.
Being single is a gift too! But that’s a different topic. Deaconess Sara Lemon taught me to pray for contentedness in all things in an episode of HT-Radio a couple years ago. So, I do.