“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
Here in good old New Zealand (NZ, Godzone, whatever you want to call it), we are enjoying the onset of Summer! We have BBQs, beach days, picnics and all of those activities to look forward to. But, it seems that Summer is also wedding season. Here in New Zealand it is the time when most people decide that they want to get married – the weather is nice, people are more relaxed, the photos will look good. If you’ve ever attended a wedding then often they’ll have a reading, and one of the ones that used to be read out a lot, not so much now, is Ephesians 5:22-31.
You know the one, it begins ‘Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord…’ At the end Paul (who wrote the letter to the church at Ephesus) quotes from Genesis 2 to remind us how God sees marriage – the joining of two people to become one flesh – what a mystery that is! How does that happen? How do those who were distinctly two then become one? He seems to grasp this question, because the next verse – quoted above – says that it is a ‘profound’ mystery (I think that means that he’s not quite sure how it works either!)
After that though, Paul does something surprising, he says that this verse right back at the beginning of the Scripture talks about our corporate relationship to Christ!
I’m not quite sure that I’m getting that. This profound mystery of two becoming one, this relationship of submission and love, and serving, and sacrifice, this relationship that is one of the most important that we will ever have, is suppose to be a way of seeing our relationship, not individually but as the Church, to Christ.
That, in some way – some profoundly mysterious way – we are united with Christ the same way that a husband and wife are united together? Again, I’m not sure that I grasp exactly how this works! There are several interesting implications in that thought – but let’s go back to the text preceding and look at how we might come to better understand what our relationship to Christ is supposed to be.
Submission in everything.
Paul assumes that the Church submits to Christ in everything. Is that the case? Do each of us, who confess that Jesus is Lord, do we submit to Him in all things? Is He truly the final authority in our lives?
We are to remember that Christ gave Himself up for each and every one of us. That His death on the cross all those years ago still echoes down to today, it still holds effect for each of us, we are still able to gain from it – remember that today! Remember that today! The cross is a place of mercy and forgiveness for you, take it!
Having washed us and made us clean, Christ then continues to make us holy, to set us apart from the rest of the world and to use us for His glorious purpose. Are you aware of this? That God, in Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, is working on you, He is making you more and more like Him, He has set you apart for a special purpose! Remember that today, you are forgiven, made new and holy!
Remember who Christ has made you!