Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to 5:22-33, where we see the proper living in the relationship between wife and husband.
In 4:1-24 Paul gives us the principle of a life worthy of God’s calling. This principle is a matter of having put off the old man and of having put on the new man. From 4:25 through 6:9 Paul presents the details of a proper living. If we would fulfill all these detailed requirements, we need to live according to the truth and by grace. Furthermore, we must live in love and in light, and we must be filled in our spirit. As we have pointed out, being filled in spirit is an aspect of the life worthy of God’s calling.
The relationship between wives and husbands is connected to the matter of being filled in spirit. It is an aspect of the daily living of those who are filled in spirit unto all the fullness of God. Therefore, when we speak about the relationship between wives and husbands, we should not neglect the infilling. Only by being filled in our spirit can we have a proper married life.
Verse 22 says, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands as to the Lord.” This is one of the kinds of subjection implied in verse 21. In the exhortations concerning married life, the apostle deals first with the wives, since the wives, like Eve in Genesis 3, more easily get out of line than the husbands.
In the same principle, Paul deals with children before parents, and slaves before masters. Regarding the relationship between children and parents, most of the problems are caused by the children, not by the parents. The children are disobedient to their parents, but, in actual practice, the parents are obedient to their children. The same is true of the relationship between wives and husbands. Husbands, in your married life, do you obey your wife more than she obeys you, or does she obey you more? Most husbands would have to answer that they obey their wives more than their wives obey them. You may think that it is not right for husbands to obey their wives or for parents to obey their children. Although this may seem backwards according to doctrine, it is true according to practice. If husbands do not know how to obey their wives, they will not have a peaceful married life. Any husband who does not obey his wife does not know how to sympathize with her and to love her. In order for a husband to love his wife, he must sympathize with her and even obey her. Only obedience can beget obedience. Only obedience can pay the price to produce obedience in others. If a husband never obeys his wife, it will be very difficult for his wife to obey him.
First Peter 3:7 says that wives are weaker vessels. This is the reason Paul speaks to wives first here in Ephesians 5. In his exhortations concerning wives and husbands, children and parents, and slaves and masters, Paul takes care firstly of the weaker side and then of the stronger side. Those on the stronger side should not place demands on those on the weaker side. If a husband realizes that his wife is the weaker vessel, he will not be demanding of her.
What we have said thus far does not deny the obvious fact in 5:22 that wives are to be subject to their husbands. Because we all are familiar with this exhortation, there is no need for us to say anything to strengthen it or to intensify it.
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