Becoming Your Wife's Sanctifier...(Ephesians 5:25-29)
Okay, here’s part two of the roles for the husband. Becoming your wife’s sanctifier. Many men are shocked by what they wind up with after they are married. They thought they were marrying this quiet person…she hasn’t stopped talking yet. He thought he was marrying a submissive woman…she started bossing him around right after the wedding. We men had a perspective on what we thought we were getting into and who we were getting into it with…only to be highly disappointed. Many men say “She’s changed.” Actually, what has happened is that she changed back. Back to what she was before she put on her best face for you while you were dating.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.”
Scripture is saying that a husband should love his wife like Christ loves the church in order to sanctify her and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word. Now, I will spend the rest of this installment tearing that sentence apart in order to find out what it means to sanctify our wives.
God not only wants us to be our wives’ savior, He wants us to be Her sanctifier. The word sanctification is one of those big words that basically means “to set apart as unique or special.” In the Bible many times, God took the vilest things and sanctified them for His own use. When a man sanctifies a woman, he sets her apart from her past. When we were dating and we decided to ask our wives to marry us, we made some glorious promises (most un-kept…but we meant well!). And those promises were of what we would do together, where we would go, what kind of life we would have. What we were doing was sanctifying our wives from their past. In the marriage ceremony, a great disconnect happens between a previous relationship of hers (usually to the wife’s father and mother) and she moves to a new relationship with her husband. And the only reason she should do that is that her future with him looks better then the one she had with her father.
Christians, you are saved today if you have accepted what Christ did for you on the Cross as your savior. But with receiving Him as your Savior, you also got with that…a sanctifier. You didn’t just get someone that said “I do” at your conversion…you also got someone who said that “I will hang with you in order to help turn you into what you should be.” If you have the right kind of savior, you automatically get a sanctifier.
1st Corinthians 7:14 says that the believing husband sanctifies the unbelieving wife. Even if a believing husband is married to an unbelieving wife, his very presence in the home sanctifies that home, and that woman. Because he is there, there are blessings that will accrue to that home that would not accrue were he not there. For those that know the Old Testament, a great illustration of this was Rahab the prostitute. Go and read the account of what happened to her, and how her family was sanctified or set apart due to what she did with the Israelites. Guys, before you think about leaving your wife, and leaving the kids with her, think about the fact that if you are a believer, and she is an unbeliever…and you leave that house…the presence of God leaves with you.
Oh, and that verse in 1st Corinthians goes on to say that you are a sanctifier, else your children will be unclean. We have kids running around today because they have no influence from a Christian father. They are not being sanctified by the presence of their father.
Now, to express this point again…you cannot become a sanctifier until you become a savior. And saviors die! If you want to change your wife, if she is not submitting to you, if she is not living up to her side of the bargain…and you have seen all of your actions and endeavors to sanctify or change her go for naught…maybe it is because you are trying to be a sanctifier before being a savior. The goal of sanctification is to change something from what it is into what it ought to be. But until we men are ready to die (in other words…die to ourselves), then don’t expect our efforts to bring about change that works.
What’s the process of sanctification? Scripture says in verse 26 that she has been cleansed by the washing of water by the word. What I am about to tell you here guys will change your wife. But it assumes that you have changed first. What He is saying here is that every man who has a wife, is to become her…pastor. As the husband, you have been made pastor over your house by God. But, are you pasturing your house?? Most men do not take the pastoral role in their homes and therefore don’t see the changes in their homes that they expect. God wired women to change…if they are shepherded. God calls every man to be his wife’s pastor.
When you married your wife, you didn’t just marry her…you married her history. You married everything that made her what she was up until she met you and she hid from you while dating. She didn’t let you see all of that stuff…because she knew that you would have said then what you are saying now “I wouldn’t have married you if I knew all of this.” You didn’t see her without make-up, or with her hair undone. You didn’t see the nasty attributes she hid from you. You didn’t see the “Dark Side.”
What Jesus does for His bride (the church) you are to do for your bride. You are to pastor her, in order to bring about change. In 1st Corinthians 14:34-35. the Bible is very clear on the subject of men pasturing heir homes: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” What Scripture says is that if a wife wants to know something, learn something, understand something…she shouldn’t head to the pastor at her church first…she should be heading to the pastor in her home…her husband. Her private pastor. A shepherd who knows how to open up the Word and minister to his personal congregation. But if you are going to be a pastor in your house, you need to go to church and learn from the pastor in that house. You need to go to Bible study. You need to learn all you can, so you can answer the questions of your wife…so you can shepherd her.
It is the job of a man to be the spiritual head of his home. A wife can not do this…the husband has been given that role, and the tools to do so. She has not. Now watch this…if you are not the spiritual head of your home…don’t be surprised if you are no head at all. So, here is the question. How many times a week do you pray with your wife? How many times a week do you have devotionals with your wife? How often do you spend time calling on God with your wife? If you are doing it rarely, you are pastoring rarely. Don’t expect the congregation to show up, if the pastor is hardly in the pulpit.
You see, this is what Scripture is saying. It says that the way that Jesus sanctifies (sets apart…changes) his bride is by pasturing it. And if you want to sanctify and change your wife, then you have to do so by washing her with the Word. By pastoring her. If your wife has to come to church to get pastored…then you have another man more influential in your home than you are. It means that another man has too much power over your wife. YOU are her pastor!
Now, as a pastor, you aren’t just there to say what is wrong. The pastor at your church doesn’t just sit up there and tell you what’s wrong. He also gives you how to make it right. That is the proper way to pastor. If all your wife hears is what is wrong…that is not a pastor. A pastor doesn’t skip what’s wrong…but he always provides the solutions to those problems.
But this pasturing has to be ongoing. Most women want a little everyday from their man, whether it be attention or pasturing or whatever…rather than two or three biggies a year.
So, you ask…”so if I do this, and I pastor and sanctify my wife, what can I expect?” Well, look at verse 27…” That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” You see, most men don’t understand their power. God gave Adam the power to name the creatures of the world. He even named Eve. That is why a husband gives his name to his wife…because he is naming her. And with naming something comes dominion over it. God said that Adam would name the animals and have dominion over them. God said he created a man, but fashioned a woman (he threw us together, He took time with her). And when He gave Eve to Adam, Adam named her. I may have the spellings wrong, but the Hebrew word for man is “Ish.” Adam named Eve “Isha.” She didn’t take his name, he gave his name to her.
Adam gave Eve his name because he intended to be THE MAN. Before the wedding, the woman gets ready for her husband. The wedding is hers. It is her day. Guys are to stay out of all of that, to let her plan and prepare her day. Because you want to make it clear that once she says “I do,” then I am THE MAN. It is her day up until that day…after that day, it’s my day. I now set the agenda, I now set the agenda. Not independently of my wife. We are partners, we are equals. But as the head of my home, I set the final agenda. I need my wife’s input, her ideas, her concerns…they are critical. But make no mistake about…she takes MY name.
The purpose of sanctification for Jesus is for Him to make the church more glorious than it was yesterday. The purpose of sanctification of your wife by you is to make her more glorious than she was the day before. A husbands lifetime goal is to continue the process of sanctification in order to make your wife more glorious then she was before. And that is done by getting rid of spots and wrinkles. Spots are defilement from the outside, wrinkles are defilement from the inside.
A great example of what I am talking about here is the new phenomena of square watermelons. It is where they take a watermelon and grow it in a square box. They do this so it will fit in your fridge. As the watermelon grows, it takes on the shape of the box. Many men wonder why their wives are still “oblong” wives instead of “square” wives. Well, maybe it is because she isn’t in the right environment for that change to happen, for her to be able to conform to what she should be. You want her to talk to you different than she used to talk to you? You want her to relate to you differently than she used to relate to you? Then you need to set the environment. Husbands are the thermostat, wives are the thermometer. Her job is to be the temperature that you set. So don’t expect a summer wife if you are bringing home winter weather.
Your wife may be this big problem. But if she is brought daily into the realm of your touch, your kindness, your shepherding, your care…then she won’t mind winding up as a square watermelon.
Next stop…the final role of the husband…becoming your wife’s Satisfier….