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EPHESIANS 5:21

This is a pivotal verse—one that is often overlooked, but one that much of the Christian life hinges on. Read it again.
So far, the apostle Paul had told the believers in Ephesus how they were to conduct their lives now that they were children of light. Some areas needed drastic change, and he addressed them. Now, in a tie-the-big-red-bow-around- the-idea-of-Christian-conduct moment, Paul said in verse 21: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Because you love and respect Christ, now love, respect, and consider each other’s needs before your own. This is what holds that whole goal of unity together. Submission in every relationship: wives to husbands, husbands to wives; children to parents, fathers to children; and slaves to masters, masters to slaves. Though this part of Scripture has been historically used to oppress, we are going to take a deeper look at these relationships in the next few days, in light of Paul’s letter, and see what we can learn from the context in which it was written.

EPHESIANS 5:22–33

Reading this passage, we need to remember what marriage was like in the rest century. There was a general imbalance in the marriage relationships of that day, and women had previously been forced to outward obedience. Paul exhorted wives to have an attitude of submission in their hearts toward their husbands (their head) even as the church was to have a heart of submission to Christ (the head).

Then, introducing a concept that was foreign to the society and age, Paul taught that a husband’s submission to his wife involved loving her. Paul explained this kind of love: a sacrificial love that goes well beyond what the word submission alone conveys. This love is compared to the love Christ has for His bride, the church; a love that made Him willing to die for her.

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Daily Question

How has a deeper understanding of Christ’s sacrificial love for you caused you to willingly submit to Him—and to others?

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