Posted by: SandreS | May 25, 2009

A Great Mystery

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:28-32).

What happens when the average believer reads this passage? What is his immediate conclusion of this divine illustration? Does he not conclude that we are the “Bride of Christ,” and that the “great mystery” has now been solved? Many have been taught this doctrine; but has this mystery really been solved?

There are two issues which cause believers to make the inadequate and faulty deduction that the “great mystery” of Ephesians chapter five is that we are the “Bride of Christ”: their failure to fully understand the dispensational significance of the Body of Christ, and their failure to fully understand marriage.

Now, we are not trying to make a big deal of this phrase – “Bride of Christ,” but Christendom sure seems to be. In fact this phrase is constantly used, even though it does not appear in the Bible. (The Bible does use the phrase “the bride, the Lamb’s wife” in Revelation 21:9, but this is a reference to a city, New Jerusalem in 21:2, 10. For a detailed study, see our reprint of the book The Church Which Is His Body and the Bride the Lamb’s Wife).

What, then, is the issue of this “Great Mystery?” We believe that the answer is at least five-fold. It is that we:

Are One With Christ!

So we, being many, are one body in Christ … (Romans 12:5).

… Ye are all one in Christ Jesus … (Galatians 3:28).

Are Under His Headship!

… He is the head of the body, the church … (Colossians 1:18).

Are Identified “In Him!”

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him … (Romans 6:6).

… Buried with Him … (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12).

… Quickened us together with Christ … (Ephesians 2:5).

… Ye are risen with Him … (Colossians 2:12).

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6).

Are Under His Cover!

Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us (Romans 8:33-34).

Have Had a Name Exchange!

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ (I Corinthians 12:12).

Please take careful note of what Paul calls the “Body” in this verse: “so also is Christ!” In contrasting our physical bodies with the Body of Christ, he refers to us simply as “Christ.”

The Five Foundational Issues of Marriage

These five areas are the foundational issues of marriage, are they not? This “Great Mystery” is not about marriage itself, but about these foundational issues. If we ever lay hold on these five truths, our lives cannot help but reflect eternal glory to God our Father. (For a more detailed look at these issues see our book Heaven’s Embassy).

To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself … that we should be to the praise of His glory … (Ephesians 1:6-9, 12).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Heaven’s Embassy

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