Dr. Russell Moore on Ephesians 5

Ephesians 5

I’d like to say that my wife Maria was my first love. But I can’t say that. As a seven year old boy my first love was Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman is an icon of the Feminist Movement, ceated by a liberal professor who thought boys were too aggressive because of the comic book heros they were reading (Batman, Superman, et al).

Wonder Woman is sent in the world of men to overpower them. He is drawing the idea of Wonder Woman from the idea that the way for a woman to make her way in the world of men is to overpower them with male-like strength.

We are living in a world where men and women see themselves in this kind of competition and rivalry. men are either predatory or passive so that women are often times seeking to protect themselves fromt the predatory influence or passive influence of men. We are living in a world of divorce courts and abortion clinics spawned by rivalry between the sexes.

Wonder Woman is patterned after a goddess in Ephesus named Diana, a goddess Paul woul have been familiar with as he is writing Ephesians 5. The Ephesians had all kinds of confusion about what it means to be a man and woman – so Paul addresses the gender wars in light of the gospel.

We assume that Ephesians 5 is given only to those who are married. That’s not the case. It’s part of a letter written to the entire congregation, saying you are to teach and admonish one another so that your marriage is not your own private event. If you are single, it tells you what it means to be growing in gdoly womanhood and manhood.

Paul is sustaining an argument in Ephesians 5 that begins in Ephesians 1 and runs throughout the epistle. When Paul says that he is speaking of Christ and his church he is not using Christ and his church as a metaphor for marriage: “Marriage is like…the sun and the moon…the dew and the rain…Christ and his church.” This isn’t a metaphor. Instead Paul is teaching that the marriage one-flesh union, and the identity of man as man and woman as woman is showing us and patterning for us of this mystery that is present that he has been talking about in chapters 1-4 of Christ and his church. What God had in mind from the very beginning is Christ and His Church and embedded around us are images, pictures of that.

Paul is teaching us about spiritual warfare.

1. Christ and the Creation of the Woman

Scripture indicts us as sinners and our initial reaction as sinners is to resist it.

What does submission here mean? When you have a godly home in which you have a woman who is following and trusting the leadership of her husband, and when you have a community of the faithful where young girls and single women are encouraged to follow the leadership of a godly husband, you see a picture of the gospel. God says in the New Covenant I am going to have a Bride who will not follow after the Baals, but follow the loving direction of her Christ, her Bridegroom.

The reason why we are not able to understand submission is primarily because first of all we take in and adapt to the cultural understanding of what it means to be a woman.

Young women have been conditioned to find their value in what other young men think of them. That is not a biblical perspective. God finds beautiful the quiet dignity of the heart, not external beauty. A woman’s value and worth is not determined by what men think of them. Women are not called to submit to men. A woman is called to submit to her own husband.

One of the reason what it means to be a godly woman is because we don’t understand what it means to love the church. The church is created out of the side of Jesus. The church is the sign of the victory of Christ. When we gather as the church in covenant community we are not simply in a place reminding ourselves of the sacrifical life and death of Christ, rather we re coming into Mt Zion, into the heavenly Jerusalem surrounded by heaven and earth.

When the church refuses to see itself in submission to the Lord Jesus, we will not see submission patterned out in marriage.

2. The Creation of the Man

We misunderstand love as simply being nice to someone or having some typr of hormonal reaction, which is how romantic comedies and popular music defines love.

Love is defined “as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.”

If a husband does not love his wife as Christ love the church, this does not negate a wife’s responsibility to submit to her husband.

Men think they can fulfill this command without real headship – sort of like the Queen as head of the nation but no real authority.

Illustrated by Jesus washing Peter’s feet. Jesus leads not by raw sovereignty or by passivity. He leads by discipling and teaching.

If we are to lead, we cannot be at the whim of events.

You believe yourself to be leaders, but you are not bearing the burden of your families. If you put the weight of decision making on your wife or expecting her to push against you when you make stupid decisions, you are not loving your wife as Christ loved the church. Men make decisions not in their own self-interest but in the interest of those whom God has given him to lead.

3. The Union of the Man and Woman

This is nonsensical in our world. Divorce has become so common place. You and I have moved to a place in which we have done to divorce exactly what the liberal denominations have done with abortion and homosexuality. “Sometimes it just happens.” God hates divorce. Not only because of what it does to children, men and women and society, but because it is blasphemy.

We may preach an orthodox gospel from our pulpits, but what kind of gospel are we preaching as we rip apart the image of the Christ-Church union in marriage?

God hates adultery because it is a picture of another gospel – of a Christ who abandons his church for something else.

So many of us are wanting to define ourselves by what we think we ought to be able to expect and receive, and not by the gospel. The gospel is at stake.

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