The authority given by God is on temporary loan from God to mankind. He releases to mankind particular authority – within clearly defined scriptural limits -for the purpose of keeping order while we come into full and total submission to God. Once all of mankind is in full subjection to God at the “end of the age”, there will be no need for the same system of authority that we now have on earth. All authority will be back in God’s hands (1 Cor 15:20-28).
In the meantime, God has set up a system of authority for people to follow. One position of specific authority established by God is that of a husband in his home.
THE HUSBAND’S AUTHORITY
God has given authority to the husband to be head in his home (Eph 5:23). This authority is always to be used for the best good of the wife and children. It is NOT to be used to serve a husband’s selfish desires. A husband is not a dictator or tyrant, whose every wish is to be unquestionably obeyed. His wife and children are not his slaves, nor his possessions. They belong to God, and the husband is charged to carefully and lovingly “rule over” his household as a good steward (Luke 12:42) of what belongs to God.
This authority God has loaned to husbands does not give them rights. Instead, a husband is given the privilege and responsibility to lead and care for his wife and children in a Christ-like manner. Please open your Bible and read Philippians 2:1-8. Review what it means to be Christ-like in attitude and behavior.
Christ our Savior is the model of a husband’s authority (Eph 5:23- 29). He was a servant Who washed our feet (John 13:1-17); He showed great love, patience and endurance; He was faithful even when those He loved were not; He even took upon Himself the punishment that we deserved (Rom 5:6-10; 2 Cor 5:21). This is how much Christ loved us, and how He exercised the authority given to Him by God!
Scripture requires a husband to love and serve his wife and children in that same Christ-like spirit of servanthood and self-sacrifice (Eph 5:25). This can at times be very difficult, since we are still people in the process of being shaped into the image of Christ (Rom 8:29; 2 Cor 3:18). We often fall short of Christ’s ideal model. We need much encouragement, prayer and effort to be a husband that fulfills Christ’s standard.
But remember: a husband has the wisdom, power and grace of God abundantly available to him! God commands us to do only what He will make possible through His grace. God commands husband to love their wives in a Christ-like way; BUT He also provides everything a husband needs in order to fulfill that command! A husband needs only to turn to the Lord daily, and ask for and receive what he needs from the Lord.
HEAD OF THE WIFE
Ephesians 5:23 states that “the husband is head of the wife.” The word “head” should not be interpreted in a hierarchical way. In other words, men are not superior to women, nor are women inferior to men. Rather, the word “head” in this verse signifies source and nourisher of life. Christ gave Himself for the Church (Eph 5:25) and is now working to bring the Church to her full potential (vs. 26, 27). So, too, should the Christian husband imitate Christ. The husband as head is not to domineer or suppress his wife. Instead, the husband is to serve the best interests of his wife. He should lead and encourage her development and growth so that she becomes all that God desires her to be. That is true, biblical “headship”.