Marriage Mystery (Genesis 2:18-24, c.f. Ephesians 5:22-33)
Marriage is a good thing—one of the two things instituted prior to the Fall, along with vocation—and it is expected to display God’s love in society and culture. It’s one of the aspects in which humanity has been fashioned in the likeness of the most glorious God. Before time, God had delighted in fellowship and intimacy within the Trinity, and He saw that without woman, man lacked that same fellowship. So, He made a partner perfectly suited for him. God knew exactly what we needed, being our Creator, and He perfectly provided for that need in the creation of woman. In the same way, He continues to provide for and sustain his people perfectly today.
When God instituted marriage between humanity’s first parents, all was well; but all didn’t remain well. It was a short-lived honeymoon. The decision to disobey God had consequential effects on their relationship with one another, but also on their respective relationships with God. Rather than following the clear path for joy and eternal happiness, an alternative route was taken, one of serving self and sin rather than God. We chose this path marked by sin, disobedience, and wickedness. But, in remarkable kindness and incomprehensible mercy, God didn’t cast us off or brush us aside. Instead, He displayed His undying love for His people by implementing His eternal plan for reconciliation and redemption in the sending of His own Son to accomplish the work of salvation on the cross. God provided for man’s first need by creating the woman, and He provided for man’s greatest need of all by accomplishing salvation in Christ.
God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep, and took a portion of his side and closed up the place from which He had taken it. Then the Lord God made a woman from the side and brought her to Adam. But the apostle Paul says the mystery is deep. Earth’s first marriage between Adam and Eve is but the shadow of heaven’s far earlier and far greater love, between Christ and His people (Jer 31:3). The last Adam, Christ Jesus, sleeps the sleep of death, but not in Eden’s innocent delights; rather, on the altar of His shameful cross. His side was not just opened and closed, but it was pierced and the flow provides the means to create and constitute the Church. The same Father that presented Eve to Adam also gives the favored Bride to Christ. Adam receives her as portion of Himself, and Christ takes up the same welcome—we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.
The glories of the gospel should be reflected in marriages. As people observe your marriage, does it lead them to hold marriage in high regard? What about it does or doesn’t reflect the nature of the gospel and Christ’s relationship to the Church? Are you portraying an accurate depiction of who Christ is? Husbands, in what ways are you (or should you begin) loving your wife sacrificially? Wives, in what ways are you (or should you begin) respecting and following your husbands?