Tag Archive | one flesh

The Mystery of Marriage

Great Mystery

… And they two shall be one flesh. Ephesians 5:31

God has painted a most beautiful picture of  life, as it is intended with Him, in the union of marriage.  God Himself chose marriage as the means of portraying this spiritual truth.  Marriage was neither designed nor instituted by mankind.  Neither can it be changed by mankind.

What was the great spiritual truth that God was portraying as He formed the man from the dust of the ground and then formed the woman from the man’s own rib?  What was the significance of God bringing the woman to the man and the two becoming one flesh?  And, very importantly, how can a Christian marriage aptly reflect these great truths?

One important observation that should be made by the one that believes and loves God’s Word is that this picture of marriage is found both at Creation in Genesis (Genesis 2:18-25) and in the closing chapters and verses of Revelation (Revelation 21:2,9; 22:17).  In the very beginning of the Bible, we find God creating a man and his bride.  At the very end of the Bible, we find the God-man, Christ Jesus, coming for His bride.  Perhaps we would not have the spiritual eyes to link the two truths, but the Apostle Paul sheds great light upon these truths in Ephesians 5.  As the Apostle was exhorting and instructing the believers at Ephesus in very practical ways that husbands and wives should treat one another, he uses Jesus Christ and the church as the example.  In his explanation of the proper relationship between a husband and wife, he says:  This is a great mystery:  but I speak concerning Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:32).  A mystery was that which could only be made known by divine revelation.  It was a truth that was hidden or covered until God Himself revealed it – at His appointed time.  The word mystery can be understood in the context of Colossians 1:26: Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints.  In the same way, the Apostle Paul says that this mystery of marriage concerns Christ and the church.  As Christians, therefore, we should humble ourselves before the Lord asking that He help us understand this mystery which He has revealed in His Word.

God has chosen to demonstrate, in a visible way, the spiritual truth of Christ and the church.  And that visible demonstration is to be seen in marriage – in the relationship between a husband and wife.  For the Christian, this truth has tremendous implication as to how we are to respond to our own husband or to our own wife.  How often do we consider that our day-to-day functioning as husband and wife can bring much glory to the Lord, or actually cause His name to be blasphemed (Titus 2:5)? Let us consider a few parallels between God’s institution of marriage and Christ and the church.

–  Adam was formed first, then Eve (Genesis 2:7).  Christ was existent long before the church became His bride (Colossians 1:16-17).

–  God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, so that his bride could be taken from his side (Genesis 2:21).  It was through the death of Christ that the church was brought forth.  He was pierced in His side (John 19:34).

–  Adam called Eve bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh (Genesis 2:23).  Regarding Christ, the church is called members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones (Ephesians 5:30).

–  Just as God joined Adam and his wife into one flesh (Matthew 19:4-6), Christ and the church are joined into one flesh, as the believer becomes a member of His body (Ephesians 5:30).

–  Interestingly, the Scripture teaches that Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived (1 Timothy 2:14).  Similarly, Christ was not deceived, as He came and paid the sin debt for his bride (John 18:11).

–  Traditionally, a bride was bought with a dowry.  Christ bought and paid for His bride. For ye are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20).

–  God brought the woman and gave her to Adam (Genesis 2:22).  A bride was traditionally given in marriage by her Father.  It is the Father that gives the church to Christ (John 18:9).

–  A bride traditionally gave up her identity and took the name and identity of her husband.  The Scripture teaches:  Male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created (Genesis 5:2).  Likewise, the Christian should leave the old life behind and take upon the identity and name of her new Husband.  Listen to this beautiful analogy in the Psalms:  Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him (Psalm 45:10-11).

–  In marriage, God joins the two together (Mark 10:8-9).  In salvation, the believer is joined to the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17).

–  As the marriage is consummated, the wife gives herself to the husband, and the husband comes in unto her.  In salvation, the believer gives herself to the Lord, and He, through the Holy Spirit, comes in unto her (Romans 8:9) .

–  The intimacy between a husband and wife should continue throughout their lives.  The intimate relationship between a believer and the Lord will continue throughout eternity (Revelation 21:2,3).

–  The husband and wife are to forsake all others and be faithful unto death (Romans 7:2).  The Lord has said that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  The church is to forsake all else and be faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10).

–  The husband is to be the head, and the wife is to be a member of his body (Ephesians 5:23, 31).  Christ is the Head of the church, and the church, collectively, are members of His body (Ephesians 5:30).

–  The husband is to love the wife (Ephesians 5:25).  The wife is to respect her husband and arrange herself under his authority (Ephesians 5:24,33).  Christ loves the church with a perfect love, and the church is to respect and reverence Him and to arrange herself under His authority (Ephesians 5:24-25) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Ephesians 5:31-33

We have lost much of the beauty of marriage.  It is a relationship as no other.  It is the relationship that God Himself has chosen to reveal the mystery of Christ and the church.  As those around us view our marriage, they should see a picture of Christ and His church – because God has chosen that relationship to reveal His truth.  May the Lord renew our minds and hearts that we may see our marriage as He sees it.  Then, may we guard carefully the beauty and the mystery of marriage.

For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things:

to whom be glory forever.

Amen
Romans 11:36

No More Tug-o-War

imageCan you remember playing the game tug-o-war as a child? One player would get on one end of the rope, and the other would get on the other end.  Then each would pull as hard as he could to cause the other to come over to his side.  Remember?

Unfortunately, this simple game depicts so many marriages today. But, what is God’s intent for a marriage?  Does He intend for a husband and wife to pull against one another throughout a lifetime of marriage?  Are there Biblical answers that can help us? How can we find a solution?

When I think back before my husband and I got married, I lived independently.  I taught kindergarten, had my own apartment, had my own vehicle, paid all my own bills, and lived completely independently.  I had my own schedule, my own way of doing things, my own opinions, and lived as I liked.  Although we had dates, which we thoroughly enjoyed, basically I did what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it.  What a rude awakening when we got married!

I now had another person living in the house with me.  Subconsciously, what I expected was for him to fit into my schedule.  Although I loved being married, I wanted him to adapt to my life and my schedule.  However, it wasn’t long before a problem became evident.  My precious husband had his own lifestyle, schedule, opinions, and way of doing things.  That is when the tug-o-war began.

My husband tried to pull me his way, and I tried to pull him mine.  The tug-o-war continued for years.  I wanted him to be like me.  I pulled; he pulled.  I pulled; he pulled.  I whined, and he got angry.  Neither of us really made much progress, and many conflicts arose.  Would we forever live in this tug-o-war?

It was The Lord who turned our marriage around.  Although many truths of God’s Word worked together to change my heart, and thus, my life, one of the truly beneficial truths that I learned was that of becoming “one flesh” with my husband.

These were the verses that The Lord used to totally change our marriage:

And the rib, which The Lord God had taken from the man, made He a woman, and brought her to the man.  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh:  she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife:  and they shall be one flesh.   Genesis 2:22-24

Jesus answered and said unto them,  Have ye not read, that He which made them in the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife:  and they twain shall be one flesh?  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.     Matthew 19:4-6

But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And the twain shall be one flesh, so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.   Mark 10:6-8

I discovered that God created the man and woman to live as one flesh.  When the man and the woman married, God Himself did an unseen work.  It was God Who joined them together as one.  In Jesus’ teachings, He explicitly declared that God’s plan from the beginning had never changed, and for the married couple, they were no longer two, but they were now one!  They were one because God had joined them as one!  Oh my, how clearly I saw my dilemma. My husband and I were still living as two.  Obviously, we wanted to live as one.  I wanted him to live as I lived.  He wanted me to live as he lived. And the only thing that was produced was a tug-o-war.

Then came the difficult truth to understand and grasp. In the teaching on headship in Ephesians 5, the Apostle Paul referred to the same truth as he quoted Genesis 2:

For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.    Ephesians 5:30-32

He explained that this was a great mystery, which really means that it is a hidden truth that is only revealed by God.  What Paul showed us was that the woman was created from the man’s rib, as bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.  He further expounded on this mystery as he compared the man and his wife to Christ and the church.  The church is called members of his body, flesh of his flesh and bone of His bones.

Oh no, I was beginning to see that Christ is the head of the church, and we are as members of His body, one flesh with Him!  What did that mean for me?  That meant that as the wife, my husband was the head, and I was a part of his body!  Yes, this is a great mystery!  When God was creating the man and the woman, He had been creating a picture of Christ and the church, a marvelous mystery to be revealed thousands of years later.  Likewise, a husband and wife can now look at the relationship of Christ and the church as a picture of how, together, their marriage can reflect Christ to the world.  This is a great mystery, indeed!

But what did this “theological” mystery mean in my simple life?  It meant that my husband is my head, and I am a member of him.  Yes, we were to be one flesh, but it was me who was to be one flesh with him.  Make no mistake, God gives the perfect balance to this truth, but I learned that day to stop trying to pull my husband over to my ways. I saw that I needed to move over to his side.  I needed to start pulling with him, and not against him.

I now saw that if I stopped pulling against him, there would no longer be a tug-o-war.  Very quietly and very gently, without saying one word to my husband, I laid down the rope.  No more tug-o-war.  No longer two, but one flesh.  Thank you, Lord, for one flesh!