Hands down . . . it is a glorious passage. That it is sometimes avoided, being considered controversial, is tragic. First, because the “controversy” surrounds God’s plan for marriage . . . second, because, by avoiding the passage, the insight it gives concerning “the mystery” isn’t savored. The passage is like a kaleidoscope. You can look at the kaleidoscope itself and not be too impressed . . . kind of plain shaped . . . maybe dressed up a bit in some wrapping paper . . . so what? But look THROUGH the kaleidoscope . . . and that’s when the jazz factor kicks in . . . behold the multi-faceted pattern . . . take in the splendor of the all the color that is seen through the instrument. Marriage is kind of like a kaleidoscope . . . in looking through it we see the glorious beauty of a Savior, a Sanctifier, and a Presenter.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. . . . Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:22-27 ESV)
Paul lays out the dynamics of a marriage that will be manifest in those who are “filled with the Spirit” (5:18) . . . these dynamics being founded and fueled after the demonstration of God’s amazing grace and awesome love. And in doing so, Paul invites us to look through the lens of marriage in order to behold the beauty of Christ, our Lord.
He is Savior . . . having given Himself as the once for all sacrifice for our sin. He is the atonement for our transgression, His work on the cross being a finished work . . . His resurrection from the dead being the assurance of victory over sin and death . . . His way into the holy of holies being an open way for all who believe.
He is Sanctifier . . . having redeemed a people, He begins a work to renew a people. Set apart for His glory, through the washing of the word, and the renewal of the mind, He transforms us . . . and conforms us . . . to His own blessed nature. The righteousness that is imputed, or credited to us, through salvation is then imparted, or made more and more real in us, through sanctification.
Glorious Savior . . . Wonderful Sanctifier . . . but what really grabbed me this morning is that my Lord . . . my Head . . . is a Faithful Presenter.
When I first believed, Christ presented me to the Father as a new born child of God in Him . . . I was taken from the mire and seated in heavenly places in Him . . . I was ushered into the very holy presence of God, my sin-stained garments having been covered in His robe of righteousness. Father, He says, may I present to You my blood-bought brother . . .
As I stumble along this pilgrim path, Jesus continues to present me before the throne as He determines to “save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). He intercedes through my trials . . . He entreats through my temptations . . . He advocates when I trip up, confess, and once again plead the cleansing blood of Christ. Father, may I present to You my work-in-progress follower . . .
And one glorious day . . . when faith gives way to sight . . . when all the saints are gathered as one . . . the risen Christ will again present me as part of splendorous body, without spot . . . without wrinkle . . . holy and without blemish. Father, may I present to You my beautiful bride!
To be sure, much in the passage to take to heart concerning my marriage. But looking beyond the pattern, might I see the Person . . . looking beyond the earthly dynamics of a God ordained relationship, might I have eyes to see into the portals of heaven itself and see my God sent Redeemer . . .
Father, may I present to You . . .