Welcome to the first edition of “This Profound Mystery” – sounds presumptuous doesn’t it? That certainly is not my intention. The title comes from Paul’s concluding thoughts on marriage in Ephesians 5 – “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.”
Paul had just given guidance regarding the mutual submission to be found in the marital relationship but then transitions to his main point – Marriage as a primary metaphor for the selfless intimacy we are to have with Christ. As important as having a good marriage is, it is more “profound” to recognize our need and calling to be joined to Jesus. Marriage then becomes an effective laboratory where God molds us into the image of His Son – as we allow Him. The reverse is also true. As I grow into the image of His Son, the (super)natural overflow of that union will be a richer affection for my wife (Robyn).
I have been married to Jesus for over 40 years and to Robyn for 36 – I long to be more intimate with both. Some would say I am a slow learner but I am finding these two relationships are interwoven. “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates (or is indifferent, insensitive, self-centered or turns from) his brother (wife), he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother (wife) whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen (1 John 4:20). Giving close personal attention to the heart of God will attune me to the heart of Robyn; living out the hard calling of rich friendship in marriage gives handles to my fellowship with Christ.
So here’s where we’re going. What would we learn from the Spirit of God in our marriages if we took every Scripture text and at least asked the question, “How can I apply the principles found in this text to my marriage? What is God trying to tell me about drawing closer to my spouse?” It seems to me that we often give great energy to finding proper contextual interpretation of a Scripture and rightly so; but do we give that same energy (or more) into its application? Do we allow the message to transfer from the page to our hearts, to our feet?
2 Timothy 3:16: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of Godmay be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Growing up I cut my teeth on these two passages which are bursting with meaning. Sadly I witnessed them more often used as theological or denominational clubs than pointing to life at a higher plane. Check this out though: the implications for marriage are striking. “All Scripture” comes from the breath of God and is valuable in preparing us for every good work – which must include marriage. Furthermore the words from God are “alive”; they reside in the heart and home of every believer and cut through the facades and defenses of our over-protected flesh.
So “This Profound Mystery” will be dedicated to the application of “The Book” to the real life needs and obstacles found in marriage as well as pointing us to a close/genuine walk with God. I hope you will join me as we seek the God of the Word to make our marriages a compelling witness of Jesus incarnate. Mark