Marriage Is a Picture of Jesus’ Union to the Church

So far in this series of posts we have discussed the original and ongoing purpose of marriage. Marriage is a picture of Jesus and His Church. Although it is a mystery that was not known until the New Testament, marriage’s purpose has always been to picture Jesus’ relationship to the church and the church’s relationship to Jesus.

This post will concentrate on Jesus’ union to the church, which is shown in marriage.

Ephesians 5:30 tells us that we are members of Jesus’ body. We are in a true and living union with Jesus Christ. Within the context of God’s purpose for marriage, Paul pointed out that we are united to Christ, and this is pictured in Genesis 2:24. As a husband and wife are one flesh, so Jesus and His church are one flesh.

The unity of Jesus and His church, which is a living and eternal union, is to be pictured in marriage. What I am about to point out next may make some readers uncomfortable. That is not the intention, but it could be the outcome. I am simply attempting to take the passage in Ephesians 5 at face value. I believe the following is the only way to do that.

The unity of Jesus and His church is pictured in sexual intimacy within the bonds of marriage. A husband and wife’s intimate union is a picture of Jesus’ union to the church. It is more than pleasure. The pleasure of this covenant union is intended to direct us to Christ. It is a picture of Jesus’ union to the church. This is why sexual sin is so heinous. Any sexual sin misrepresents the picture intended in sexual intimacy. Sex is designed to be enjoyed only in the context of the marriage covenant, because sexual union in marriage is intended to picture Jesus’ union to the church.

If you read that last paragraph and are guilty of sexual sin, I pray it brought sorrow to your heart. However, I pray that sorrow is not all it brings. I pray your sorrow will be godly sorrow that leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). Jesus Christ has died in the place of all who will trust in Him. If you will turn from this and trust in Christ, He will rescue you, forgive you, and give you His righteousness as a gift. See the Good News page of this blog for more information.

It is not just sexual intimacy in marriage that pictures Jesus’ unity with the church. All true unity in marriage is intended to reflect the union of Jesus and His Church. Does your marriage present unity that is living and permanent? Are you totally committed to your spouse in covenant? Are you united to your spouse in the eternal purposes of God? Are you united in the things that Jesus and the church are united in? Our union in intimacy, covenant, and truth is to paint a picture of Jesus and His Church’s union.

As we look at the picture we are supposed to portray, we see our failures. We fail at this over-and-over again don’t we? We fail in our unity and are often in a state of disunity in our marriages. This is a daily failure many times.

Is there hope? What do we do with the failure?

Repent daily in Gospel hope. Forsake the disunity and realign with the Gospel. Turn again-and-again from disunity and return to the Gospel that Jesus Christ, our great God and Savior, has died for the sin of disunity in your marriage. He has died to bring peace to His body (Ephesians 2:11-22). He died to bring unity to the married couples in His body. Because Jesus has died, our disunity has been forgiven and true unity is possible.

Praying that you will find hope in the only source of hope – The Gospel of Jesus Christ!

In Jesus’ Service,

Bill Whittington

(Please Note: When the word “marriage” is used in any post on this blog, it refers to the lifelong covenant union of one man and one woman before God. The gender references of male and female refer to the biological gender of individuals as determined by God at conception. This is the only way that the Bible refers to marriage and gender. Anything outside of these definitions rebels against the God of the Bible, therefore it is sin.)

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