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Volume 32 - Page 145 of 246 Index | Zoom | |
Mystery, Marriage and Manifestation.
pp. 24, 25
We do not meet with any further mention of the word "mystery" in Ephesians until
nearly the close of the fifth chapter, when we are well into the great practical outworking
of truth, and the high and heavenly calling is shown to have relationship with every phase
of human life.
Instead of the high spirituality of this calling finding its expression in celibate lives, in
the quiet of the cloister, in aesthetic neglect of the body, we find the Apostle speaking in
the highest terms of the relationship of husband and wife, likening the mutual love and
submission of the one to the other to the love of Christ for the Church and the submission
of the Church to the Lord. Instead of saying "So ought men to turn away from such
mundane things as the love of wife and home", the Apostle says: "So ought men to love
their wives as their own bodies" (Eph. 5: 28). Pursuing his argument, he quotes the
words of Moses recorded in Genesis in reference to the marriage of Adam and Eve. "For
this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and
they shall be one flesh" (Eph. 5: 31).
It is evident that the revelation of the mystery made no alteration in the revealed will
of God regarding the importance of marriage, and it certainly sets aside the ordinances of
the law of Moses, which were permitted because of the hardness of men's hearts, but, as
the Saviour Himself said, "From the beginning it was not so", and He supplements the
quotation from Gen. 2: 24 with the words:
"Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined
together, let not man put asunder" (Matt. 19: 6).
Viewing marriage in such a light, the Apostle says, "This is a great mystery", and then
turns to the relationship of Christ and the Church, saying "But" (a disjunctive, showing
that the great mystery that he has in view is not the mystery of marriage, but the blessed
union which such foreshadows), "I am speaking concerning Christ and the Church".
However, lest any should think that by thus turning from the lesser unity to the greater,
the Apostle in any sense undervalued marriage, he safeguards his meaning by coming
back to the original theme, saying:
"Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and
to the wife (I speak) with the object that she may reverence her husband" (Eph. 5: 33).
It must be abundantly clear that, in the matter of the manifestation of the mystery in
the practical sphere, the Apostle has placed signal honour upon the married state. We
know some children of God, who, out of a mistaken idea of sanctity and an
undispensational view of I Cor. 7:, have urged that the superior spiritual standard is the
celibate life. In I Cor. 7: the Apostle gave his advice "for the present distress"
(verse 26). This not only dealt with the question of marriage, but with those that weep,