Yesterday when I fell down the black hole of Twitter, I ended up gasping for air with a Desiring God blog post. Husbands, Get Her Ready for Jesus (link) astonished me with its unbiblical focus on husband-as-sanctifier.
It began with Ephesians 5:25-26 . . .
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.
. . . and proceeded from there to explain that contrary to what this verse says—which is that Jesus Christ is the Sanctifier, Jesus Christ is the one who cleanses His church (including all believers both male and female), Jesus is the washer with the water of the word, plainly stated right there in this Scripture—that instead it is the husband’s job to do this for his wife.
Husbands, we read, are to “promote their wives’ holiness” by praying for them, reading the Bible with them, urging them to pursue meaningful friendships with other women, and, the primary topic of this blog post, correcting them. The author uses the following Scriptures to support this thesis:
Romans 6:18 and 22. “. . . and, having been set free from sin, [you] have become slaves of righteousness. . . . But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”
Ephesians 4:15 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,”
Ecclesiastes 3:7b “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.”
And that’s it.
But these are Scriptures that apply to all believers at all times. None of them are about husbands correcting wives.
Granted, all wives need correction sometimes, and some wives need correction a whole lot.
But this can be true of any Christian.
This is true of every Christian.
This is true of the body of Christ.
According to the word of God, every Christian should be able to offer loving correction to any other Christian, depending on maturity and the closeness of the relationship. There are times when we all have blind spots. There are times when any of us can be in sin.
The author closes his article this way:
Until Christ comes, “husbands have the staggering privilege of getting our wives ready for Jesus, their true husband. With God’s help, and for his glory, may we correct them with the grace and truth that we’ve received.”
So what does he really mean, “getting our wives ready for Jesus”? The only interpretation I can come up with is getting them ready for heaven, like getting them clean enough to enter, or clean enough to stand before Him.
That’s the husband’s job? Somehow the husband is supposed to do the purifying that Jesus Christ alone does, and somehow this purifying is supposed to actually get her ready for Jesus—help her be saved?—in a way that only the Holy Spirit can do?
This is a disturbingly unBiblical thought.
Instead, Jesus Christ is the only Sanctifier, according to I Corinthians 1:30-31.
“ . . . you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
And somehow husbands have a job of “correcting” that their wives apparently don’t have, even though the Scriptures never say such a thing? Can a wife ever do correcting of her husband, as believer-priests equal in God’s sight? Can husbands be corrected only by other men?
Rather, this Scripture is about learning to live together in love and forbearance, listening together to the Holy Spirit, and facing the battle together against a very real and present enemy. . . .
. . . activities in which every Christian is called to participate.
It seems a shameful thing, Desiring God. I hope you take your “correcting” focus off the husband and put it on the entire body of believers, where it rightly belongs.
And I hope you take your “sanctifying” focus off the husband and put it back on the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, where it rightly belongs.
We encourage one another as we see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:25). And according to Philippians 1:6, we look to God to finish the good work He has started.
When the apostle Paul said in Colossians 1:28 that he and others were . . .
warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ
. . . the context tells us that they were doing this by proclaiming . . .
the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
This is our glorious focus, our glorious hope, and our glorious joy. May husbands, and all Christians, continue to proclaim to each other these glorious truths.