What is love?
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church [q]in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
- Gave himself up for her in order to…
- Sanctify her
- Cleanse her
When I previous wrote husbands win their wives with words, it’s important to realize that the washing of the water of the word is analogized with ceremonial cleansing. The “word” in this case that is the water of the word that is cleansing is “rhema” which is spoken word or in other words the spoken Truth. In verse 21, such washing of the water of the rhema word from sanctification and cleansing result in holiness and blameless.
Sanctification is not solely that which only God does, but also that which God does through us.
1 Corinthians 7:12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not [f]divorce her. 13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not [g]send her husband away. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through [h]her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. 15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called [i]us [j]to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?
Now, sanctification or to make holy is defined as “to set apart.” Indeed, such as ceremonial cleansing analogy shows us that this sacrificial love is aimed at living in Truth.
John 17:13 But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them [d]from [e]the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
John 17 is particularly interesting because it is Jesus last prayer prior to leaving the last supper to go to struggle in prayer and be betrayed. It’s the passage where Jesus prays unity for the disciples. It also shows how husbands are to sacrificially love their wives. Namely, standing on the Truth of God and His Word.
Indeed, this agrees with the Paul’s analogy of ceremonial cleansing which is to present a blameless bride to Himself. What is the nature of cleansing? It is to wash dirt away from the body.
Hence, the thrust of love in marriage is mainly aimed for the husbands to sanctify and cleanse their wives. What does this look like?
- Sanctification is a husband standing on the Truth of God’s Word and and directing her on that path in order that she may become holy.
- Cleansing is to point out to her, with words, the dirtiness of the things of the world and to help her rid herself of those things to become blameless.
This all goes back to the garden where Adam’s sin is one of lack of action and diverting blame. The husbands call is in direct opposition of what Adam did. The call is to love and thus sanctify by firmly standing on the Truth while directing her path to be holy. And to love and thus assist in her cleansing by pointing out and helping to removing sin of where she has gone astray so she becomes blameless.
Obviously, this is in stark contrast to how sacrificial love is typically used in churchianity where a husband is a “servant leader” or rather a slave to his wife’s feelings.