Tuesday, 1 November 2016
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Ephesians 5:31
Paul is using the previous example of husbands loving their wives from verses 28 and 29 to make a point. From the thought of those verses, he said “For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” This is speaking of Christ. The words explain where Paul is going with verses 28 & 29. He is showing that the original giving of Eve to Adam was to be taken in type and picture of what would come about in Christ. This will be made explicit in the verse to come.
For now, he cites the substance of Genesis 2:24 which explains the union between a man and a woman. Eve was taken from Adam’s side; Adam made a proclamation concerning the nature of the woman; and from this came the resulting explanation. “For this reason” means, based on the intimate nature of what occurred, as well as the fact that the two bear one and the same nature, “a man shall leave his father and mother.” The union of a man to a woman is to mean a new beginning for the man.
This is, in type, a picture of Christ. He left the realm of His heavenly Father and came to dwell among humanity. In so doing, the intent was that He would “be joined to [H]is wife.” Man leaves his father and his mother and starts a new life together with his bride. Christ likewise came to join with His bride, meaning the church. The word “be joined” is a “compound verb which denotes the most intimate union” (Vincent’s Word Studies).
It is in the union of Christ and His church that “the two shall become one flesh.” This means one in nature and one in goal based on this most intimate union which has been established. We are given a spiritual nature instead of our carnal human nature, and we are to direct our lives to this nature as we await the coming of our Lord to consummate the marriage. This nature came from the pierced side of Christ, just as the nature of Eve came from the rib inside of Adam.
Although it was unknown at the time of the writing of the Genesis account, all of this was set up at the very beginning to show us what God would do in Christ. It is from the very first moments of man’s existence, and even before the fall of man, that the plan was laid out and the type and picture of what would occur was given.
Life application: If we ever have doubts about where we are going, or if we come to the point where we think that control has been lost and things are just too much to face, all we need to do is contemplate the ramifications of this passage from Ephesians. Christ has called us out to be His bride. It is something that was planned from the very beginning of time. Nothing is out of control! Everything is being worked towards a marvelous end.
Heavenly Father, from the very beginning, You set a pattern in the union of man and woman to be a type and picture of Christ and His church. Even before the fall, You had shown us what You were going to do. The Son would leave His eternal domain and come to pay the bride-price for us. How can we be down! How can we lose hope? Everything is being worked for a marvelous end as we await the consummation of this marvelous love story. We shall wait patiently on our Lord. Amen.