For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (Ephesians 5:23)
One of the most difficult principles for marriages today is the biblical command for a wife’s submission to her husband. Most husbands gladly seize upon it without understanding the tremendous responsibility it places upon them. Before a wife is willing to submit, she must have a husband who is willing to lead in a loving, Christ-like manner. Ephesians 5:22-33 has 2 ½ verses dedicated to submissive wives and 8 ½ verses dedicated to how the husband should lead his wife.
Among these verses is a very interesting statement made in verse 23. The husband is the head of the wife and he stands in relation to her as Christ does as the saviour of the body, His church. The wife submits to her husband because he is her saviour. Does that statement blow your mind? The husband is the saviour of his wife? How is that possible?
We have to look closely at the word “saviour” because this does not mean saviour as in the sense of personal salvation from sin. The word here means “preserver.” Paul uses “saviour” similarly in 1 Timothy 4:10: For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
Some would love to argue universal atonement from this verse meaning that Christ’s atonement is intended for every person without exception. But the last phrase, specially of those that believe, would make no sense if the atonement is in view. Universal atonement logically infers universal salvation. Since there is no universal salvation, this verse must be interpreted in the sense that Christ shares benefits with believers and unbelievers. The only explanation for this is God’s common grace.
The Bible says God sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Whether you are saved or lost you receive benefits from God because He is the one who gives “life, and breath, and all things.” In 1 Timothy 4:10, “saviour” means that Christ is the preserver of all men in sustaining their physical life, but He is the saviour of those who believe in a much greater sense in that He gives them not only physical life but spiritual life. The first sense is what the husband is for the wife. He is her protector and preserver. Because he is the one protecting, she should offer submission to him.
So, the idea of submission is a godly principle. It is a Christian principle, a creative principle, and a church principle. It is taught in scripture; it is to be obeyed; and a woman who seeks the filling of the Spirit will gladly put herself in her God given role as a submissive wife. Do it because it glorifies God; and when you do, it will be a blessing to you.
Pastor V. Mark Smith