In Ephesians 5:25 Paul is use marriage as an illustration for the union that we have with Christ. Before we look too closely at this verse we need to remind ourselves why this is such an appropriate illustration.
To do this we nee to go back to Genesis 2:24. Here’s what it says,
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24, ESV)
Here we see that by God’s design a husband and a wife are in union with one another through marriage. This union certainly implies martial intimacy, but marital intimacy is only once aspect of the union that a husband and wife have. In some sense God intends for two individuals to become one entity. They don’t loose their distinctive personalities, but together they become something that there weren’t when they were apart.
This union is the fundamental principle of marriage, and a failure to understand it is one of the most common causes of marital problems. Think about it.
- When you recognize the union that you have with your spouse you’re not going to have troubles “leaving the nest.”
- When you understand the union you have with your spouse then you’re not going to be striving toward your own individual desires, instead you will be working for the good of the new entity that has been created by your union.
- If you understand the union that you have with your spouse then infidelity won’t be an option, you will be satisfied to enjoy the marital intimacy that represents the fullest manifestation of your marital union.
It is this marital union that Paul uses as an illustration of our union with Christ in Ephesians 5:25:
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” (Ephesians 5:25, ESV)
Do you see what Paul is doing here? Just like a husband and a wife have been joined through marriage, so too Christ and the church have been joined together through spiritually union. The impact of this union is similar, but even more profound than the union between a husband and a wife.
- If you understand this union you’re not going to have trouble leaving the world behind.
- If you understand this union you’re not going to strive after the lust of your flesh, you will be working for the glory of the one you’re in union with.
- If you understand this union then spiritual infidelity (i.e. idolatry) won’t be an option, you will be satisfied with the union you have and eagerly anticipating the unveiling of the fullest expression of that union at the Second Coming.
When you think of it in these terms it is an amazing illustration of the union we have with Christ and the impact that is will have on our lives.