22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 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. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
5 Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
We’ve come a long way to get here. From the heavenlies to the house.
Paul started this letter with us way up in the clouds. Every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (1:3). God’s will is revealed as the unifying of all things in heaven and on earth into Christ (1:9-10). We are seated in the glory of the heavens at the right hand of God (2:6). We are God’s house, his dwelling place (2:19-22). We reveal the mystery of God to the authorities in the heavenly places (3:10). We are experiencing the love and fullness of God (3:15-19).
Then in chapter 4 Paul brings it down from the heavenlies to the earthlies (not a word). His focus is our walk. Our living within the covenant blessings. Part 1 (ch.1-3) we have the covenant blessings. Part 2 (ch. 4-6) we walk in those blessings. We walk worthy. We walk holy. We walk in love. We walk in light. We walk in wisdom.
Gladiator’s home in the heavenlies (sort of).
And so this is where our walk has brought us. To walk in wisdom is to be filled with the Spirit (same thing), controlled by the fullness of God (same thing) as we look like Christ’s sacrificial love (still the same thing). How?
Ephesians 5:18-21. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit….21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Walking in wisdom- Spirit filled- submitting. If God’s will is that everything is brought under the authority of Jesus Christ. That Jesus the Head of the Church brings his body into his fullness. That we experience his love and grow up into him in love. If that is the plan, then how does it happen? Where does it happen?
And Paul’s answer is first the church (4:1-5:21) but then also the home (5:22-6:9).
In Ephesians 5:22-6:9 he will address three crucial household relationships (in ancient writing this is called a household code): wife-husband, child-parent, slave-master. But Paul’s will not only be a normal Greco-Roman ethic rooted in status and honor and tradition. He will actually turn the current culture on it’s head. How? By bringing it under Christ. Why? Because every one of these people living in the Christian home that he’s addressing has Christ living in them as his home. The Christian home is the home of Christ. Not the structure, the souls.
Ephesians 2:19. but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
So how do we live as co-equals in Christ and yet maintain the societal structure in which we live? Wives and husband, children and parents, and yes even slaves and masters are all equal because Christ indwells all equally. And yet Paul won’t smash all familial and societal norms in this letter. How is this done?
The wisdom of submission. Of sacrifice. Of selfless love. Of Christ and his cross.
Wives still submit. Children still obey. Slaves still serve. This is Christ. This is the cross. But also husbands learn to love, fathers learn to nurture, masters learn to serve. This is the will of God. This is the supremacy of Christ. This is the cross in us. This is “to live is Christ.”
This is heaven in the house.