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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Through a comment she left on one of my posts, I recently discovered Robyn Gibson’s marriage blog, Up With Marriage. I always love discovering like-minded marriage bloggers and seeing what they have to say, because I always seem to learn something new.

Case in point: in one of her recent posts, One In Marriage,  Robyn wrote about something in Ephesians 5 that I’d always seen but never given much thought to. The verse in question is one I’ve referred to many times and is central to what I teach about a bridal paradigm marriage.
"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Ephesians 5:31-32 (NKJ)

The word that Robyn pointed out in her post, the one I’ve previously read right past, is the word “great.” The NIV translates it as a “profound mystery.” AMP says it this way, “this mystery is very great.”

Beyond Knowing

The Greek word here is “mega.” Among the definitions in the Greek Lexicon are “things esteemed highly for their importance,” and “Importance of things which overstep the province of a created being.”

In other words, the mystery of marriage and its reflection of Christ and the church is something that is beyond our ability to fully grasp. It’s a mega-mystery. It’s like a mystery novel that can’t be figured out in advance. It has to unfold one clue at a time, step by step. We gain revelation a little at a time through the circumstance of our own marriages.

Personally, I’ve been trying to unpack this mystery for a quite a while now, years even before I started blogging about it, and I still feel like I only have a partial picture of it.

The pursuit of understanding this mystery strikes me as very similar to our pursuit of understanding the love of Christ. A few chapters earlier, in Ephesians 3, the Apostle Paul prays that we would “gain an intimate, experiential knowledge of the unknowable love of Christ.” Is it a silly prayer to pray? After all, if it’s unknowable, how can we know it? It’s so vast, so infinite, such an other-worldly-beyond-our-full-comprehension kind of love. Yet, as we open ourselves up to it, as we study it, ponder it and dwell in it, we continually gain a deeper and deeper understanding of it.

Non-stop Pursuit of Understanding

So what’s the point of this mysterious discussion?

I want to encourage you not to dismiss as “old hat” the important marital principle that your marriage is to be a reflection of the relationship between Christ and the church, or on a more personal level, between you and Jesus. It’s much more than a nice saying or a trite metaphor.

There’s more here than we can ever know.

I will never be able to claim a full understand the great mystery of my marriage being a reflection of the relationship between Christ and the church. It’s as unknowable as the infinite love of Christ. This mystery is not something I will be able to fully get my head around on this side of heaven, yet I will not stop in my pursuit of comprehending all I can about it. It’s my lifelong pursuit.

I encourage you to do the same.

Has your attitude toward this foundational marriage truth become somewhat casual?

When someone mentions that your marriage should be a reflection of Christ’s relationship with the church, have you ever thought to yourself “I know that?”

Have you ever really considered the spiritual principles that are to carry over into your marriage in a major way?


Anonymous said...

What a great continuation Scott!! I like your last question. It was this, "considering of spiritual principles that carried over into marriage" ... that saved mine, by helping me to grow up. It wasn't until I realized that forgiveness, for instance, was not only applicable, but it was even moreso for my husband!

Scott said...

Thanks Robyn. It seems I'm constantly stumbling across more spiritual principles that apply directly to my marriage. Great mystery indeed.

Strong Man said...

I've thought a lot about these issues, and processing them in writing through my blog has helped. I have noticed that the model is Christ in His relationship with His Church, and NOT Christ and His relationship with all mankind. His Church has made a covenant to follow him, and He has higher expectations of those than he does with others who have not--and thus he's both more critical and more compassionate with them.

I share your view of the word "mystery." It doesn't mean we can't understand it, or that it is impossible to understand--just that it takes some effort and some inspiration from the Spirit in order to understand.

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