…the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev. 13:8)
“For this reason a man shall leave his father & mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Eph. 5:31)
Paul’s writing on marriage refers back to the Old Testament. In this Ephesians text he quotes from the earliest days of man’s time on earth found in the Garden of Genesis 2. Yet God’s mind on spiritual matters precedes man’s time, and goes back in time even more– from the foundation of the world.
This applies to marriage, because marriage is an illustration (Eph.5:32) of Christ (the Lamb) and the church. This is one of the reasons why the institution of marriage, and its definitions of God’s design for marriage, are continually being undermined in culture. This attack is on individual marriages themselves-to break them apart, and an attack on God’s design—His rules and the roles He has designed to for the benefit of men and women. Yet there is more.
In Ephesians 5 the relationship of a husband to a wife in marriage is used to illustrate the relationship of Jesus to those he redeems (the church) from the deadly slavery of sin. And the wife is an equal picture of the response of the bride (the church) to the Lord.
This is one of the reasons why the name of Christ appears so often in Paul’s writing on marriage—wives…as to the Lord; husband… as Christ is the head of the church… Savior of the body; etc. So as the church submits to Christ, wives are to submit to their husbands. And husbands are to love their wife just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing of water by the word. Paul continues on with clear and frequent reference in marriage drawing us to consider Christ.
The Word is loaded with flawless wisdom we need to not only hear, but live out practically in our marriages, and in the entirety of our lives. With wisdom we must read Ephesians five with a fixed eye to seeing Jesus foremost. Paul points this out clearly as he continually draws us to consider Jesus in this text on marriage. This summary on Ephesians 5, from Bible teacher James Boice, who now is in Heaven, I found to be of great value—
No one will ever be able to understand the truest, deepest meaning of marriage who is not a Christian. If a husband is to love like Christ, he must know the love of Christ in order to fulfill that commandment. If a wife is to submit to her husband as she submits to Christ, she must first have submitted to Christ to understand it. No marriage will ever attain its true potential unless those united in the marriage are pursuing it according to God’s goal and standards. In this as in all other areas of life we are to “trust in the LORD with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). Only when we pursue marriage according to God’s standards will God make our paths straight and bring blessing.
A hymn for meditation and worship