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Why Does Scripture Correlate a Husband and Wife with Christ and the Church?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Authority and the Church, Part 4

by Jeremy Ham on January 26, 2011
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Jeremy Ham, AiG–U.S., discusses the comparison made between husband and wife with Christ and the church.

For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:30–31)

Today’s big question: why does Scripture correlate a husband and wife with Christ and the church?

The comparison of a husband and wife with Christ and the church is clearly stated in Scripture. In Ephesians 5, Paul examined the relationship of the husband and wife in light of Christ and the church. However, this might bring up the question, how is Christ and the church related to the marriage of a man and woman?

When a man and woman are married, they become one flesh. Regarding Christ and the church, we are all members of Christ’s body. In neither situation is Paul meaning one physical body, but just a husband is now “joined to his wife,” we are also joined to Christ. We are all one in Christ, just as a husband and wife are one.

If the church were physically a part of Christ’s body before our bodies are renewed, the nature of Jesus would be corrupted. As saints, we are spiritually united with Christ. We are made holy and blameless in Christ (Ephesians 1:4). This is the perfect union—all because of Christ’s work on the Cross.

This perfect union of Christ and the church is the reason Paul uses it as the ultimate example when discussing the roles of the husband and wife. The best way to realize what it means to become one flesh is to look at Christ and the church. Remember, Jesus is the reason why this union works so well, but this does not mean that the church does everything correctly.

We are still fallible human beings and susceptible to our flesh. One of the most important commandments we must follow is to submit to Christ as our authority. Christ being the head of the church is the first item Paul brought up in this comparison. Recognizing the authority in either relationship should be the first item on the list.

Becoming united as one does not mean you have the same roles, and Paul describes these different roles in Ephesians 5. If we had the same roles, this union between Christ and the church would not work (not to mention the union between a man and wife)! So if you want to learn about how to be one in a marriage, look at the unity between Christ and the church as described in God’s Word.

Today’s big idea: Christ and the church is an example of a perfect union.

What to pray: ask God to help you submit to Christ as the authority.

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