What is a husband’s role in his wife’s spirituality? Is he responsible for sanctifying her?
I need help with this one. David Sons has an article that was posted at Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), Pursuing Your Wife (Part 3): The Goal of Dating is Not Marriage. I like a lot of the article about a husband striving to pursue relational intimacy with his wife, but let me show you the tweet that made me click on the article’s link.
My goal as a husband is now to work diligently for the sanctification of my wife. http://t.co/9jJiSt6Ig5
— CBMW Men (@CBMWmanual) March 7, 2014
To me, that implies that a man is responsible for his wife’s faith. That it is a husband’s “works” that will accomplish what she needs spiritually. Am I misreading that? Here’s some more from the article, but please read the whole article to be sure I’m not getting anything out of context. It’s pretty short.
In Ephesians 5, Paul challenges husbands to a great pursuit, saying, “Love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 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” (Eph. 5:25-27).
Paul exhorts husbands to model their love and service for their wives after the model of Jesus’ love and service for the church. When Jesus called the church to himself, he did so with the intention of presenting her holy and blameless to the Father.
He does this through calling the church to himself (pursuit), cleansing her from her sinfulness (justification), and making her holy through his Spirit and his Word (sanctification).
His pursuit of the church was for the purpose of creating a covenant relationship with her, so that she might one day perfectly display the splendor of God’s glory (Eph. 2:19-22). Jesus did not simply pursue us to have a relationship with us; he pursued us so that, through this relationship, God might be seen as glorious (Eph. 1:3-6), and that our joy might be made full Jn. 15:11).
My goal as a husband is now to work diligently for the sanctification of my wife.
So, for me, the issue isn’t that the husband works for the good of the marriage. It is important for spouses to be working on their marriages, but I question specifically the “sanctification” aspect as the husband being responsible for his wife’s faith or her sanctification. What are your thoughts? What specifically is a husband’s role with regard to his wife’s faith and spirituality?
I think this idea is important to discuss especially in light of what we have seen going on in Christian Patriarchy in teachings by Doug Phillips, Doug Wilson, and so many others where many women are not free to live their own spiritual lives, because their spiritual lives are owned by their husbands, and essentially spiritually abused by them.
***Update: After reading Cindy’s comment, I decided to see what John MacArthur says about sanctification:
True sanctification, according to Scripture, is the process of God’s transforming work in your life. In the moment of your salvation, you are declared justified by the Lord through the sacrifice of His Son and freed from the guilt of sin. From there, sanctification frees you from the pollution of sin, helping you destroy sinful patterns and relinquish your former wickedness.
And just as with salvation, sanctification is not accomplished by our will or actions—it’s the work of the Lord in the lives of His people. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul prayed that the Lord would complete His sanctifying work in their lives.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass (1 Thessalonians5:23-24).
The word translated here as sanctify literally means to be set apart—in its noun form it is usually translated as holiness. So in basic terms, sanctification is the Lord’s process of separating us from sin and setting us apart for holiness. Paul’s prayer is that the Lord would bring about that transformation in the lives of the Thessalonian believers—that their lives would reflect a decreasing frequency of sin and an increasing frequency of holiness. (Source)