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As Christ Loved the Church (Pt 1) – The Logic of Sacrificial Love

I was meditating recently on Paul’s words to husbands in Ephesians 6:25, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

This verse is an invitation to prayerful meditation. You can’t simply read past words like this. You can’t just keep moving, like a jet ski skipping over the waves. These words are deep. Profound. And they invite us to be deep-sea divers. To stop and swim as far down into their riches as we can bear, knowing we will never reach the bottom.

THE POWER OF A PREPOSITION

So in this post I would simply like to pause and reflect upon the logic of this verse. The key to understanding the logic of this verse rests in the little word as. This little word signals a comparison. It’s a door, if you will. A door that opens up new worlds of understanding for us. You can tell me you are hungry. And I will know basically what you mean. But tell me you are hungry as and elephant, and I know your hunger far more.

In this verse Paul does not tell husbands simply to love their wives. Let’s be honest. Love is an elastic word. And we “love” to stretch things that are elastic. So if Paul just told husbands to love their wives, chances are husbands would stretch the word love to mean doing exactly what I’m already doing. And in that case, Paul’s commands would come to us as a congratulation instead of a confrontation. Can you imagine? Husbands, keep dong exactly what you’re doing! If you’ve been married long, you know that the last thing you need to be told is to keep doing everything in your marriage exactly that way you’re already doing it.

THE PREPOSITION AND THE PARADIGM OF LOVE

So how does Paul define love? As Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. That’s the comparison. That’s the paradigm. In coming posts I want to dive deeply into what that means. But for now I am content to simply point your attention, husbands, to the fact that you do not get to define what love means in your marriage. It has already been defined for you. And it’s definition is the sacrificial love of Christ.

So here are my questions for you:

  1. Who is defining for you what it means to love your wife? Pop culture? Family history? Your own intuitions?
  2. When did you last take extended time to prayerfully reflect on the death of Christ for your sins and how that sacrificial act informs the way you concretely love your wife?

 

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