Wednesday, April 17, 2024

A Mystical Union (Genesis 2)

"Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman" (Gen. 2:22).

In Ephesians 5 marriage is described as analogous to or symbolic of the relationship between Christ and His church. This comparison is filled with many practical implications for the married couple. As a follow-up to our study on 1 Corinthians 7, we will spend the next week examining those implications and exploring how marriage can be compared with the mystical union believers have with Christ.

We first encounter marriage as symbolic of our mystical union with Christ in the creation of Eve. Though created as a separate person with a distinct personality all her own, Eve was formed of the same substance as man. B. M. Palmer writes, “She is made in every respect the counterpart of the man. With perfect identity of nature—corporeal, intellectual, and moral—there runs through her entire organization the distinction of sex. The same yet different, the likeness and the variation mark her throughout as the complement of the man.… In like manner, believers are ‘created in Christ Jesus;’ and with them, of course, the church. Only in Him could they become the subjects of that grace through which they believe and are saved.… As the woman was taken from the man in her individual subsistence, so all the seed of Christ are individually renewed by the Holy Ghost (thus, we are said to be created in Christ Jesus). And as the woman in her distinction returns to the man, in the movement of her own affections, so does the believer return, in the action of his faith to that glorious Head in whom first he was chosen to eternal life.”

Just as we are not simply unified in Christ by a legal declaration, neither are the husband and wife unified merely by law. It is a spiritual and vital union, and therefore, mysterious in its nature, just as our union with Christ is mysterious. If we treat marriage as something more than a legal compact, if we treat it as it truly is, we will enter into it more soberly and thoughtfully. We will think more seriously about the person with whom we want to be united. The marriage union is as intimate as Eve’s relationship with Adam. She was part of him, and in marriage the husband and wife are part of each other—a perfect analogy of our union with Christ. We are members of His body, not only representatively, but spiritually and vitally.

What does it mean to be spiritually united with Christ? (John 15) What are some practical implications of this union in the believer’s life? What does it mean to be spiritually united in marriage? Make a list of practical implications of that union for the husband and the wife.