What Does It Mean to Be a Christian Husband?
Answer: The Bible says enough about being a Christian husband that a book could be written about it all. In fact, a number of books have been written about it. This article gives a brief overview.
Chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis, the Bible’s first book, record the story of creation, including the creation and marriage of the first couple, Adam and Eve. The roles of husband and father are interwoven. God created man and woman as sexual persons for a number of purposes. One is to give us the joy of perpetuating the race, of populating the earth with generations of people who bear God’s name and reflect His image. See Genesis 1:27–28 and 2:20–25, along with Deuteronomy 6:1–9 and Ephesians 6:4. Family—Christian family—is at the heart of God’s plan for mankind and is the very foundation of human society. Therefore, in most cases a Christian husband’s role affects his fatherhood, just as his role as a Christian father affects his role as a husband.
The clearest picture of a Christian husband is presented in Ephesians 5:15–33. This is the heart of the apostle Paul’s application of what it means to be in Christ, that is, to be in right relationship with God. Paul’s instructions to the Christian wife, beginning in verse 23, explain that she is to recognize in her husband the kind of leader that Christ is to His beloved church. Two sentences later (verse 25) Paul says the same thing directly to the Christian husband. So, the Christian’s model for husbandly conduct is Jesus Christ Himself. In other words, God expects Christian husbands to love their wives sacrificially, fully, and unconditionally, the same way our Savior loves us.
The Christian husband is expected to be willing to give everything, including his life-blood, if necessary, for the benefit and welfare of his wife. God’s plan is that the husband and wife become one (Mark 10:8), so what the husband has belongs to the wife. There is no selfishness in love (1 Corinthians 13:5); there is only giving. The Christian husband’s feeling for his wife goes beyond infatuation, romance, or sexual desire. The relationship is based on true love—the God-reflecting, God-given spirit of sacrifice. The Christian husband is more interested in his wife’s welfare than his own. He promotes her spiritual well-being as a fellow-heir of eternal life (1 Peter 3:7). He doesn’t ask what he can get from her, but thinks of what he can be and do for her.
Ephesians 5 describes how a loving Christian husband is the instrument of Christ’s love for his wife, and is at the same time a model of Christ’s love for His church. What an honor that is! And what a responsibility. Only by submitting to the living strength of Jesus Christ can any man fulfill such a challenge. That is why he must rely on the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and out of reverence for Christ submit to the service of his wife (verse 21 and the rest of the passage).
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