“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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands” (Ephesians 5:23,24).
THESE VERSES OCCUR IN A PASSAGE THAT SEEMS TO BE ABOUT THE HUSBAND-WIFE RELATIONSHIP. There is certainly an analogy between this relationship and that of Christ to His church, but Paul is clear that the Christ-church relationship is the primary idea, and the other is the one serving as an illustration. “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (v.32). So while we could profit from studying God’s will for the marriage relationship, let’s think today about Christ’s relationship to the church, which is His bride (Revelation 19:7; 21:2,9; 22:17).
First, Paul emphasizes that Christ is the “head” of His church. In fact, He is its only head. He has no vicar on earth. His will for the church was recorded in the New Testament writings, and if His headship is to be respected, those writings cannot be disregarded.
Next, notice that the church is the “body” of Christ. Many practical lessons can be drawn from this, but one is that if the body ever becomes disconnected from the head, it dies. In John 15:5, He used a different analogy (vine and branches), but the point is still the same: “apart from me you can do nothing.”
Finally, meditate on Christ being the “Savior” of the church. In its universal sense, that is what the church is: those who have been saved by Christ. But the danger is that the church will forget that it has been saved, or even that it needed to be saved. Surely, we ought to sing more often the great hymn “Hallelujah! What a Savior!”
All of this should impress us with Christ’s preeminence in all things relating to His people. He is “first” in every sense of the word. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). But it is in grace and benevolence that Christ’s authority is exercised, at least toward those who have laid down their rebellion and received His amnesty. To those individuals — His church — His rule results in their highest good. If we are “in Christ,” there is no rightful need that He does not gladly supply.
“Christ is full and sufficient for all his people. He is . . . a Foundation to support, a Root to quicken, a Head to guide, a Treasure to enrich, a Sun to enlighten, and a Fountain to cleanse” (John Spencer).