Ephesians 5:31-33


Day 53

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:31-33

This Great Mystery
Marriage can feel a bit mysterious.  Here we see two very diverse personalities, with different perspectives on life, with different ways of thinking, and different strengths and weaknesses.  God puts these two humans into a lifelong, covenant commitment.  The man leaves his family.  The woman leaves her family.  The two now become a new family.  It is mysterious that such diversity can create unity.  In many ways, the unity of the marriage covenant also mirrors the unity of the church covenant.  A diverse group of people, with different backgrounds, various strengths and weaknesses, all united together in the church.  We are many members but one body. We are many members making up the body with one head, Jesus Christ our Lord.  This imagery captures both the mystery of marriage and the church.  The unity of the husband and wife in covenant marriage analogically points to the unity of Christ and the church in covenant relationship.  Paul seems to acknowledge the uniqueness of marriage in the mystery of two people leaving their families to become a new family.  However, the real mystery Paul had in mind concerned the parallel relationship of Christ and the church.  The word mystery, as we have previously discussed, describes a hidden truth from the past that is now being revealed.  Though marriage can certainly seem mysterious to us, Paul had in mind the depiction of Christ and the church through the uniqueness of the marriage relationship.  That which was previously hidden, that marriage points to Christ and the church, has now become revealed through the saving work of Christ for His bride, the church.  He redeemed the church, much the way a bridegroom redeemed a bride in Paul’s day.  He loves His church with an everlasting and sacrificial love.  The original intent of marriage, husbands and wives leaving their families to become one, now has a deeper and more complete meaning.  Adam and Eve demonstrated the significance of the family unit.  They demonstrated all of the blessings of marriage from creation’s inception.  Adam and Eve were made for relationship, with God and with others.  Adam and Eve would be able to fulfill the divine mandate through their marriage.  They had children.  “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” (Genesis 1:27-28)  Through their own work and the work of their children, they would have dominion over the creation.  As image bearers, God granted to them sovereignty over a portion of the creation much as God had sovereignty over the whole of creation.  “Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15) The image bearers of God, Adam and Eve, put on display the nature of God in their relationship to each other and in their rule over the Garden of Eden.  

Paul quoted the key verse from Genesis affirming the initial purpose of Adam and Eve.  Now Paul declared the new revelation about marriage.  Marriage now pointed to more than the revealed truths of the inaugural event.  Now, in Christ, marriage demonstrates the relationship between God and humanity, a proclamation that is now made to the whole world.  The divinely appointed relationship displayed in Christian marriage ultimately offers a glimpse into the divinely appointed relationship between Christ and the church.  Our marriages become a place of proclamation. 

Despite the loftiness of this mystery, Paul finished this section by reminding us all of the practical side of marriage.  In the process of thinking deeply about the Christological portrayal in marriage, we cannot lose sight of the reality that husbands and wives are to love and care for each other.  In this case, Paul gave specific instructions that link back to the entire premise of his argument.  If Christ is just as a husband, then Christian husbands should love like Christ.  If the church is like a wife, then wives should show respect to her husband as the church should show respect toward Christ.  The lofty, divinely appointed display must come with practical examples.  It is impossible to preach that Christ loves the church while the husband acts unlovingly toward his wife.  It is impossible to teach that Jesus Christ is Lord of the church if the wife treats her husband dismissively. We preach Christ to the world. The message includes how we display Him and His church in our relationships.

Suggested Prayer:  God, please demonstrate Your divine plan of salvation through both the words and actions of Your people.  For those that are married, use their marriage to proclaim the goodness of Christ and the church.  Refine, reform, reprove, and transform us in order to conform us to the image of Christ.  Be glorified in Christ and the church, forever and ever. Amen.

Posted by Daniel Sweet

Spouse - Kim

Favorite Music Artists/Bands

  • Phil Wickham
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  • Flyleaf

Favorite Bible Passage:

II Corinthians 4-5

Top Three Preachers:

  • John Piper
  • R.C. Sproul
  • Alistair Begg

Daniel Sweet has served as the pastor of Matthew Road Baptist Church for over twenty years. Prior to receiving the call to the pastorate, Daniel worked as a consulting actuary with Watson Wyatt Worldwide, an international human resources consulting firm for ten years. Daniel holds an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Ouachita Baptist University, a masters degree in applied mathematics from Southern Methodist University, a Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary and a Masters of Historic Theology also from Southwestern and an enrolled actuary. He and his wife, Kim, have two adult sons, Austin and Michael.

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