31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:31–33 (ESV)
The Holy Spirit brings the Apostle Paul’s instructions concerning husbands and wives to a climatic conclusion. Paul begins vs. 31 with the familiar word therefore (οὗτος; ouotos) meaning a conclusion.
Paul writes, ““Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Quoting from Genesis 2:24, the apostle wants the Ephesian church, and believers today, to know that the role of husbands and wives remains the same in God’s perspective and should remain the same in our own. Marriage is between a man and a woman: a male husband and his female wife.
The Apostle Paul then says, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:32). The word mystery (μυστήριον; mysterion) means a secret (Mark 4:11; Rom. 11:25; 16:25; 1 Cor. 2:1; 4:1; 13:2; 14:2; 15:51; Eph. 1:9; 6:19; Col. 1:26; 2:2; 2 Thess. 2:7; 1 Tim. 3:9; Rev. 17:5). Paul previously developed the doctrine of the mystery of Christ and the church in Ephesians 3:1-6.
The mystery, or secret, to which the apostle refers is profound (μέγας; megas). It is a great, important and an intense mystery. What is this mystery to which Paul refers?
Thy mystery is that the profound unity which exists between a husband and his wife is a type, or picture, of the unity between the Lord Jesus Christ and the church. We do not have to guess that this is the apostle’s meaning because he explicitly says so in the latter part of vs. 32.
Dr. R. C. Sproul says, “The idea that God’s pre-fall commission, from Genesis 2:24, for a man to leave his family and become one with his wife was ultimately intended to foreshadow Christ’s relationship with His bride, the church. This was not so clearly seen in the Old Testament, but now has been fully revealed in Christ. As a man leaves his family and cleaves to his wife, Christ left His Father’s side and came to cleave to His bride. Having returned to His Father, He brings us with Him to dwell before God forever.”
What a blessed promise from God regarding the church’s eternal security in Christ. Take time today to praise the Lord Jesus for being His eternal bride.
Soli deo Gloria!