Summary: The union in Christ portrayed through marriage
Notice that the call to submit stands even when the husbands are disobedient to the word. Notice that the submission is practiced in silence and not in nagging.
Just as Paul appeals to Abraham in Romans 4 to show who are really his children, Peter appeals to Abraham’s wife, Sarah, to show the women whether they are really hers.
Submission is a matter of faith, and God has commanded that wives submit to their husbands in everything regardless of his abilities or spirituality.
Why would God do this? Skip down to verse thirty:
We are members of His body. 31FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.
We are members of the body of Christ, and for this reason a man and woman are joined.
From the beginning marriage has symbolized Christ’s relationship with His church. So, wives are to submit to their husbands in the same way as we would expect the church to submit to Christ.
And now we come to the role of the husband:
3. Husbands submit to their wives as a symbol of Christ’s love for the church (:25-33)
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
The husband is the head and the wife submits to his leadership; the wife is the body and the husband submits to her through his love.
You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. (I Peter 3:7)
Husbands are commanded to love their wives, giving themselves up, just as Christ did for the church. We’re to be patient, understanding, considerate, and selfless.
This is how Christ loved the church, and He did it…
26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
Christ’s ambition is to present the church spotless and holy and blameless. This is accomplished through the washing of water with the word.
Husbands, likewise, submit themselves for the sake of their wives that they might do the same. This submission doesn’t negate the authority of the husband as the head, but it really establishes it.
The church loves Christ and follows Him because He first loved us.
28So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.
This is a hard command to follow. It’s easy to look out for myself, but I’m supposed to provide and care for my wife as I would my own body.
He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30because we are members of His body.
If a man loves his wife, then he loves himself—they are one. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church—He nourishes and cherishes her!