22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a] 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Bondservants and Masters
5 Bondservants,[a] obey your earthly masters[b] with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master[c] and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
Whilst this section is often found controversial (and I can understand why!), I think this much is clear; God’s household is to live in its individual households based on the family traits of love and submission. This is a very helpful realisation; each of the households of the household of God must be a place where God’s love is represented faithfully.
Moreover, in each household the design is set by God and who we are rather than anything else. In a context of ‘the days are evil’ (5:16), we need this reminder of where our design template comes from. Here is a spur to do what you are doing now: reading God’s word, meditating and praying. In our marriages, in our relationships as families, in our workplaces, our identity in Jesus is to be displayed by our reliance on his design of love and submission (v5:21).
Pick one of those three relationships described in the passage and write down three ways in which mutual love and submission could be displayed by you.
Father, thank you that you speak clearly to your household. Please grow in me a delight in the way you love us so that this same love is seen in my household. Amen.