Marriage and Family Under God
Pastor Lyle J. Lindloff
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21).
Which key unlocks the door? To find the key that unlocks the door of Ephesians 5:21 we must go to the beginning of the chapter. The opening verse reads, “Be imitators of God.” I enjoy listening to voice imitators. Children imitate their parents, a sports or music star. Imitating may include the hair style, clothes style, mannerisms and even philosophy of living.
Marriage and family under God: Whom am I imitating? This is the prelude for the apostle’s words to wives and husbands, parents and children. This is the lead into the words, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” The apostle adds, “Be very careful, then, how you live…because the days are evil.” How well we know that the days are particularly evil when it comes to marriage and family.
Do you want your marriage, your family to be God- blessed? Then you must submit. But who wants to submit? I want to be in authority. Be under authority, submit? That is not our natural inclination. Take the word obey out of the marriage vow. Women don’t do that anymore. I don’t have to listen to my wife, I’m in charge here. From now on, the 13-year-old announces, I will go where I want and do what I want. Stop! Stop! You are throwing away the blessing of God. You are creating a marriage and family under Satan. Remember, “Be imitators of God.”
Submit, and receive God’s blessing. The word is a powerful word, a military term that means, I subordinate myself, I am of lower rank. Here it is not used as the military uses it: do it or else. Here the word is used together with “reverence for Christ.” Reverence is also a powerful word. It means fear, terror, a phobia. But when used together with Jesus Christ, it means an awe-inspiring fear, respect, honor. Honor Christ by submitting to one another in a Christlike way. In marriage and family be imitators of God. Remember how Jesus Christ submitted himself “as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
This is the way God gives blessing to marriage and family. “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. . . Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. . . Children, obey your parents in the Lord.” It is true that unless the Lord build marriage and family the builder’s work is useless. To receive the blessing of God, submit in reverent, respectful honor of Christ.
With such spirit-given conviction the Christian woman wouldn’t want it any other way. She wants a husband, who with God’s help, desires to fulfill his God-given position as head of the house. The Christian man has the desire to love his wife just as Christ loved the church. Such parents will spare no effort to “bring up their children in the training and instruction of the Lord.” And such children, as they spiritually mature, will appreciate more and more the blessing they have received in obeying their parents “in the Lord.”
And yet, because of sin, problems arise daily. How do we handle the problems? A simple suggestion is this. Ask these three questions. What did I do Not, what did you do? When you have answered that, ask: Is it good or evil? Answer that on the basis of what God says in the Scripture. And finally ask, What can be done about it? And the answer is: Be imitators of God, submit out of reverence for Christ, as to the Lord, as Christ loved the church, obey in the Lord. Love as Jesus loves. Forgive as Jesus forgives.
Marriage and family under God. All the blessings and all the problem solving come from God. Each of us, according to our God-given position- wife, husband, parent, child- is to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Today, to us your children these marriage gifts renew: a home by you made happy; a love by you kept true.