I strongly believe that families are a key building block of society. As families exist and function according to God’s Word, they will benefit the culture that they are a part of.
In Colossians 3:18-4:1, the Apostle Paul instructs the Christian families living in the ancient town of Colossae just how they are to exist and function. He begins this portion of Scripture in 3:18-19 by first instructing and informing married couples that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to permeate the marriage relationship.
In v. 18, Paul very succinctly instructs Christian wives to submit to their Christian husbands. Now the Bible teaches that all Christians are to submit and place themselves under the authority and rule of God (Heb. 12:9), church leaders (Heb. 13:17), other believers (Eph. 5:21), and even government leaders (Rom. 13:1). And in this verse, Paul continues this mindset by declaring that within a Christian marriage, wives must recognize their husband’s God-given authority by submitting to them.
Paul’s command for wives to submit to their husbands is rooted in the person and work of Jesus, who too lived a life of submission to God the Father. Paul described Jesus’ submissive attitude in Philippians 2:8 when he states, “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” So in instructing Christian wives to submit, Paul is actually encouraging them to imitate Jesus and live out the Gospel within their marriage.
In v. 19, Paul turns his attention to Christian husbands when he commands them to love their wives. The type of love that Paul is referring to in this verse is active and costly. It is the same that is referred to in John 3:16 that describes God the Father’s love for the world, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Within the context of Christian marriages, husbands are to love their wives selflessly and sacrficially.
Once again, Paul’s instruction for Christian husbands mirrors Jesus’ love for his bride, the Church. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25). So when a husband lovingly leads and selflessly serves his wife, in essence, he too is following Jesus and manifesting the Gospel before his wife and children.
God designed the Christian marriage not to be focused solely on the husband or the wife. God designed marriage to be ultimately all about Jesus Christ! And when a Christian husband and wife realize this vital Truth, live out their own Jesus-modeled roles, their marriage will experience great joy. And at this point, their marriage will also be used by God to declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the community that they are a part of.