Two Becoming One

In my bachelor days, I was living proof of the Lord’s proclamation, “It is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). I have found a wonderful helper in my wife; many men can say the same thing about their wives. Marriage was a part of God’s plan for man from the very beginning. Though a select few are able to use their gift of singleness to the glory of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:7), many others find fulfillment and blessing in the gift of marriage. Marriage allows two to become one (Genesis 2:24), offering man the greatest opportunity to experience heaven on earth, as heaven is a place of perfect oneness (John 17:22-23).

The opportunity and blessings offered by marriage have not gone unnoticed by Satan. The Old Testament demonstrates how Satan used polygamy, adultery, and a host of sinful behaviors to attempt to destroy marriage. In the days of Jesus, the image of marriage for many had become so warped that some Jews believed Moses authorized divorce for any reason. Jesus cited Genesis 2 to declare God’s original intentions for marriage: one man, one woman, and one lifetime together with but one exception that would allow one person innocent of sexual sin to remarry (Matthew 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12; cf. Romans 7:1-3). He said that the two that had become one flesh by the will of God should not be separated by the will of men (Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:8-9).

The powerful proclamation of two becoming one flesh in Genesis is revisited twice more in the New Testament.  Paul first used the phrase when discussing the sad fact that some in Corinth were taking what belonged only in marriage and bringing it outside of marriage through prostitution (1 Corinthians 6:16). Prostitution (or any kind of sexual activity outside of marriage) is wrong for both married and unmarried alike for many reasons. In light of the concept of two becoming one flesh, Paul notes that it keeps people from becoming spiritually one with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:15-20).

The second New Testament usage presents a contrast with the first and reveals both God’s intentions for marriage and the beauty of the picture He created in instituting it. God’s plan for marriage was and is to provide an opportunity for man to experience heaven on earth, because a pure marriage relationship mirrors the relationship that Jesus has with His church (Ephesians 5:22-33). Two ought to become one physically and emotionally only in marriage; two can become one spiritually only by uniting themselves with Jesus by being added to His church (Ephesians 5:25; cf. Acts 2:47).

As Satan has succeeded in using sin to destroy the intimacy of marriage, he has succeeded in using sin to destroy the intimacy between God and man found in the church. Jesus is accused of polygamy every time people claim He is united with a multiplicity of divided churches rather than the one body that is His church (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4). Followers of Jesus commit adultery against Him when they seek to be united with the world (James 4:4). They seek divorce when turn from Him back to the pollutions of the world (2 Peter 2:20-22).  

Christians, let’s make it our mission to uphold the beauty of two becoming one found only in marriage (cf. Hebrews 13:4) as well as the beauty of spiritual oneness with Jesus found only in His church.
-Patrick Swayne  
patrick@tftw.org
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