(There are many who live with verbal abuse either in their relationships or through social media messages that range from name-calling, condescension, criticism, demeaning and manipulation. No one should feel trapped inside those relationships and should be rescued. No one should have to read such comments on social media and need to be encouraged to delete and block those people.)
The Apostle’s readers know that he is drawing on the Jewish marriage culture as he speaks of what Christ has done for His Church.
“ … to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word” Ephesians 5 v 26
Christ laid his life down to sanctify the Church and has made her ready for Him by washing her with the word.
Paul is speaking of Christ and the Church but is using Jewish marriage as an illustration. This is so important for the many single people who do not need to skip over this passage thinking it doesn’t apply to them. It does. It is about Christ. Marriage is used as the example so that we have better understanding.
Just before their wedding the brides (and some grooms) will immerse themselves in a pool of water, the mikveh, usually in the synagogue, to cleanse themselves spiritually and prepare for their married state. Many will install a mikveh (this is an addition to a shower/bath) in their homes today so that throughout the marriage Jewish women will ritually immerse themselves each month and especially after childbirth.
We may now only have the images of the mikveh but also of Christian baptism but hold that thought because Paul speaks of washing through the Rhema.
Rhema is the spoken word.
For example, Jesus says, “the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63)
Whereas Logos would be the entire Word, that is the Bible, Rhema is a portion of it. It is when verses leap off the pages and impact our lives. It is also the Spirit’s voice in our hearts. It is the speaking, the action, this can be harmful but it can also be beautifully life-affirming which cleanses and energises our lives.
On Friday someone messaged me through social media to explain how every day she sends a message to someone the Holy Spirit shows her simply to encourage them. That day the Holy Spirit showed her it was me! The timing was perfect. The message was Rhema and it was life-affirming and I was indeed energised by it.
The Apostle is speaking of Christ and the Church.
He uses the husband who is modelled after Christ as the illustration.
Is the wife energised by the husband’s life-affirming Rhema words?
Of course you don’t need to be a husband to do this. Today we can be instruments of Christ’s life. And how people need that in the days we live in!