Part 1 showed how a 1st Century husband could picture Christ, and a possible reason why the Bible asked Christ-like behaviour of husbands in particular here, while elsewhere all Christians are called to act Christ-like.
The same way the Bible calls everyone to be Christ-like but repeats it to the one who is, like Jesus, in the stronger position, the Bible asks all believers to submit to one another, but in Ephesians 5 repeats it to the wife: “Submit as to the Lord.”
How do we submit to the Lord? We love Him (and submit to Him) because He loved us first. Submitting to the Lord is never about fulfilling Jesus’ selfish desires or ego trips, because Jesus is not selfish. It is about learning from the one who knows best, and living by that knowledge. It is about accepting the glorious riches of heaven that Jesus shares freely. It is about doing the same things Jesus did, and even greater things. (John 14:12) “The same things Jesus did and even greater things” doesn’t sound like gender roles at all!
We saw how the red and blue lines do pretty much the same thing in the second picture as in the Gospel picture. The difference is that the start of the male/ female picture was equality (we do not have that with God), and a total restoration to what God created us to be would also be equality.
Can complementarians today fulfil the gospel picture? Here is a picture of what happens when you impose complementarianism on today’s society:
1) Eve was made as an equal to Adam, and the first picture is of equality. 2) In modern Western society, men and women have basically equal rights before the law and equal opportunities. (There are still problems, reasons why both feminists and masculists complain they have fewer rights, but the big picture is one of roundabout equal rights.) (3) Complementarians impose hierarchy and gendered responsibilities on two people with equal opportunities and gifts. Instead of moving them closer together, it moves one person who don’t have more rights (thus no more ability to get legal protection for them both) or wisdom or perhaps even money above another, and turns him into the leader seemingly simply because he has the right genitalia.
Does this look at all like the gospel? To me, it doesn’t. But I still think modern day Christians can learn from Jesus and the church in Ephesians 5:
When one party has way more of the good stuff (opportunities/ property/rights) than the other party, it seems the Bible suggests a “complementarian” relationship whereby the one with more helps to lift up the one with less, and the lower has the responsibility to learn to use good things wisely (submit to the teaching and discipline needed to handle the good things). But this complementarian relationship does not suggest eternally separate roles, but the lower one becoming more like the higher one.
Of course, this passage does have applications for modern cultures, where a woman can be as likely as the man to be the one with more (knowledge, education, wisdom, opportunity or whatever good thing): Use whatever you have more of for the benefit of both you and your spouse, lifting him/ her out of their bad situation. When your spouse is the one who has more, work along with him/her, learning to use the good thing wisely.