Marriage and The Gospel by Pastor Paul Becker
March 26, 2023 - Matthew 19:1-12
The Pharisees wanted to trap Jesus on divorce, but Jesus chose to speak about the foundation of marriage. Jesus pointed to God's design for marriage in Genesis 5:2 and 2:24, saying that God made humans male and female and that when they become husband and wife, the two become "one flesh." And then, Jesus said,
So they (husband and wife) are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.
In scripture, marriage is an earthly picture of our union with Christ. The Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write:
Therefore, a man should leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I'm saying that it ultimately refers to Christ and the church. (Eph 5:31-32, see also Rev 21:2,9-10)
On Sunday, Pastor Paul offered parallel descriptions of the union of a husband and wife and the union of Christ with the church. He walked us through the wedding order and described what happens when a man and woman are united to become husband and wife. And then, using the same wedding order, Pastor Paul described how Jesus and the church are united to become one.
The church is the bride of Christ, prepared by Christ. The church is cleansed of sin, made pure and spotless by Christ.
Jesus makes his promise to the church, saying, "I will never leave you or abandon you, for better or worse, for richer, for poorer." And we, the church, reply to him, "I will forsake all other gods as long as we both shall live."
And like rings, we wear the visible gifts of the Spirit, and then there is a legal declaration where God says that we are righteous in his sight and one with Christ.
We walk in union with Christ. Everything he has: his love, power, and goodness become ours. And everything we have: our sin, shame, and past, becomes his.
Everyone celebrates with a meal that features bread and wine.
We express our physical union with him through baptism in water.
We give him access to all our possessions, take his name, and are called "Christian."
Knowing this, you now see why Jesus did not engage the Pharisees on their terms and chose instead to offer a glimpse of something with greater value. Let us receive God's gift of marriage as a picture of our union with Christ. Marriage is a picture of the gospel.