Wednesday, March 15, 2023

One Flesh (Matthew 19:1-12)

“… the two shall become one flesh” (Matt. 19:5).

Proverbs 2:17 describes the immoral woman as one who has forsaken the companion of her youth and forgotten the covenant of her God. As we said in our first study on the subject, marriage is not a tenuous agreement between two people, but it is a legal and binding commitment, or covenant, between a man and a woman executed before witnesses. They are joined together in a way that cannot compare with any other relationship. They leave their parents to cleave to one another. This union is legal, physical, emotional, and spiritual.

The first step in becoming one in the sight of God and man requires a man and a woman to leave their parents. No one else can share in this union, neither emotionally nor physically. To do so would disrupt the unity of the relationship. This is why adultery is so devastating: A third person is brought into the sacred circle—the bond is broken and the unity destroyed. God vowed to divorce Israel because her unfaithfulness tainted the covenant.

In their commitment to the unity of marriage, the couple promises to be faithful to each other if poverty and disease should come upon them. They vow before God and man to be faithful if they meet a more attractive, a more intelligent, a more compassionate person. The wife vows to be faithful if her husband loses his high-paying job, his esteem before men, his mental faculties, or his youthful vigor. She commits to him even when he doesn’t measure up to the standard God has set for him, even when he does not love her as Christ loves the church. The husband vows to be faithful if his wife loses her beauty, her charm, or her tenderness. His commitment remains steadfast even when she is unsubmissive, disrespectful, and unable to manage the household well. Through it all, the two remain one flesh.

Unfortunately, remaining one flesh is a great struggle, even for the most mature Christians. When Adam and Eve sinned, they lost intimacy with God, and they lost it with each other. Sin disrupted their union, but did not destroy it. It made their relationship difficult but not hopeless. In Christ there is hope. By His grace every husband and wife can experience the intimacy and unity that God intends for the marriage relationship.

If married, prepare a list of ways in which you fall short of keeping your marriage unified around Christ. Explore those things that inhibit your intimacy and openness with each other. If you are not married, how is the unity of a marriage compared to the unity you have with Christ? Identify obstructions to your intimacy with Him.