“…and they shall be one flesh.”
At the morning of Creation, the Lord of heaven and earth planted three permanent pillars of society. These pillars of the Sabbath (Genesis 2:3), Work (Genesis 2:15), and Marriage (Genesis 2:18-25) continue to frame a whole, healthy social order. As we have seen in our modern society, these three tend to stand or fall together. When these three stand erect, people enjoy stability and peace, which is what the Creator intended.
This past Lord’s Day evening, we looked at Jesus’ teaching on marriage from Mark 10:1-12. In this passage, Jesus short-circuits the Pharisees’ search for loopholes in the marriage commitment. He does so by quoting from Genesis 1:27, “male and female he created them,” and Genesis 2:24, “they shall be one flesh.” In other words, God puts one man and one woman together for a life-long, one flesh union. And it is beautiful. In a culture of ugliness, this divine institution is a monument to grace and beauty. For what purpose does God put people together in this life long union? If you are married, why did the Lord of history place you with your husband or wife? If you are unmarried, but long for this joining with another soul, what should you look for in a potential union? What is the purpose of the two becoming one flesh?
To begin, God joins souls together for friendship. God prepared Adam for marriage by stirring a hunger for friendship. Adam needed a companion, and that companion could not be found in the animal kingdom. The human soul aches for close communion and fellowship. In God’s design, marriage between a man and a woman fills that void. You truly become “best friends.”
Furthermore, God joins souls together for the purpose of delight. The Bible’s vision is that you “rejoice with the wife of your youth,” that you be “ravished always with her love.” (Proverbs 5:18-19) The God who created beauty fashioned the man and woman for each other’s delight. Is this not why the first recorded human words were poetry? “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.’” (Genesis 2:23) You embrace one another in a life-long, one flesh union, and thus enjoy the poetry of pleasures God intended.
In addition, God joins souls together for the purpose of godliness. Marriage is a sanctifier. Together, you grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. You learn together. You pursue Christ together. You pray for and with one another. Oh, that all of our marriages could echo the description of Zechariah and Elizabeth in Luke 1:6—“And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.”
We can also say that God joins souls together for the purpose of godly offspring. One of the prayers of a godly couple is for “godly seed.” (Malachi 2:15) The Lord’s Church grows over the centuries largely through the conversion of believers’ children. We want to fill our homes with the unobtrusive, joyful, pleasant celebration of Christ and His love. Though there will be tragic exceptions, the Lord loves to honor His Word “to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” (Genesis 17:7)
To carry this forward, the Lord of glory joins souls together for the purpose of service. Priscilla and Aquila were Paul’s “helpers in Christ Jesus” who had a church “in their house.” (Romans 16:3-4) How can your marriage be an opportunity to advance the mission of the Church? How can you be of service to your neighbors? God orchestrated your union to be a blessing to others. Yours is a union of service and ministry.
Finally, our Heavenly Father places souls together to be a picture of Christ’s union with His Church. The Apostle Paul uses this extended metaphor in Ephesians 5:22-33. Husbands, how does your love for your wife echo Christ’s love for His Bride, the Church? What a vision! You have the sacred task of humbly, selflessly, perseveringly loving the woman God gave you. How does Jesus love the Church? He pours His love and grace on her. He upholds her. He commends her. She is publicly praised and privately respected. (Read Song of Solomon, not only as a description of human love, but also as a mirror of Christ and His Church.) Gentlemen, show her counter-cultural chivalry. In your own way, court her with accents of tenderness. Be the knightly husband she needs to defend and praise her.
“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 5:31-32)
May the Spirit of the Lord give us a vision for marriage could be, and stir our hunger to pursue that vision of beauty with abandon.
Yours in Christ,
Posted on Friday // July 22, 2016 // 10:10 AM
by Chris Thomas