The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them
to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
October 28, 2012
1) Ephesians 5:31-33 (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
by Tom Edwards
In Ephesians 5:31, Paul declares,"FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE
HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO
SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH." This was first expressed in
Genesis 2:24 and is also repeated in Matthew 19:5 and Mark
10:7,8. The phrase "shall be joined to his wife" is rendered
in the KJV as "shall cleave to his wife," with the Greek verb being
"kollao," a term that means "1) to glue upon, glue to" and "2) to
join one's self to closely, cleave to, stick to" (Thayer). So
the idea is that these two are so well joined together that no one
can separate them. And in commenting on "the two shall become
one flesh," Adam Clarke writes, "Not only meaning, that they should
be considered as one body, but also as two souls in one body, with a
complete union of interests, and an indissoluble partnership of life
and fortune, comfort and support, desires and inclinations, joys and
Husband and wife often complement each other by helping their spouse
to better develop those qualities in which they lack. For
instance, an extroverted husband might help his introverted wife to
become more outgoing, while she could also influence her husband
into increasing his own zeal for true spirituality (cf. 1 Pet.
3:1,2). So another way we might look at this is that by the
husband and wife becoming one, they will each reach more of their
own potential and be better individuals, when they are truly
striving to keep God first in their relationship and treating each
other as the Lord would have them to.
This reference in Ephesians 5:31 goes all the way back to the first
couple -- Adam and Eve -- and they also serve as a shadow for Christ
and the church. For instance, both Adam and Jesus were
progenitors of large groups of people. With Adam being the
first man of the human race; and through Jesus, all those who become
children of God. In Adam's case, Genesis 2:21 points out what was
first necessary: "So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon
the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up
the flesh at that place."
As this passages shows, in order for God to bring about His plan for
Adam (and ultimately for the world), the Lord had to first cause a
deep sleep to come over Adam. Why? For a couple reasons: a) So
Eve could be made, and b) so the two of them could have offspring
and the world be populated.
Just as Adam was put to sleep so that this could all be brought
about, Jesus also needed to be put to "sleep," in a manner of
speaking, in order to bring about a people for God. But though
in Adam's case, his sleep was just a deep sleep, in the Lord's case,
He was put to sleep in the sense of being put to death, as Romans
5:6-10 makes clear. Paul also states in 1 Corinthians 15:3,
"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received,
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures."
In addition, Genesis 2:21 shows that Adam's side had been opened in
order that he could have his bride. And in John 19:33,34,
Christ also had his side opened: "but coming to Jesus, when they saw
that He was already dead, they did not break His legs; but one of
the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there
came out blood and water." Though Jesus was already deceased when
His side was pierced, it was still part of the event of the Lord's
crucifixion for every transgressor; and to the spectators, it would
further indicate that Jesus truly had died. His tortured body
was now lifeless -- not even a spear thrust into its side could
cause a reaction.
As we study about Adam and Jesus, it is obvious that they both had
to pay a price in order to carry out God's will. Not only did
Adam have his side opened, but it also cost him his rib, from which
Eve was made (Gen. 2:21-23). So, in other words, Adam had to
sacrifice part of himself.
Jesus, too, had to make a sacrifice. However, He had to give
more than merely His rib -- He had to give His all, His very life:
"Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His
own blood, suffered outside the gate" (Heb. 13:12). When we
read expressions, such as, "being saved by the blood of Jesus," it
signifies the life He gave for us (and, therefore, also His
death). For, according to Leviticus 17:11, "...the life of the
flesh is in the blood..." -- and Jesus willingly and compassionately
shed His blood, thus giving his life, for every transgressor (cf.
For another shadow, the loss of Adam's rib gained him a companion --
a bride (Gen. 2:22,23). In similar manner, the sacrifice Jesus
made gained him a "bride" as well, which Revelation 19:7 uses in
figuratively referring to the church. It states, "Let us
rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of
the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready."
Yes, the bride, the church, has a part to play in getting ready; but
without the sacrifice of Jesus, all of our preparation would still
leave us lost and hopeless. For Acts 20:28 points out that the
church was purchased with Christ's blood. So regardless of
what good works a person has done, if that person has not submitted
to the gospel plan of salvation to be cleansed by the blood of
Jesus, that person will remain in a lost state. Furthermore, we can
also infer from this passage that when people say that the church is
not important, then they are belittling or seeing no value in the
blood of Christ. And, sad to say, that is the condition of many
people today. For to them, Christ's death is nothing but a
vain, ineffectual thing; and which will remain that way to them,
until they come to believe in the Lord, repent of their sins, and
obey the gospel plan of salvation. "For the word of the cross
is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being
saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:18).
In getting back to our types and antitypes, Genesis 2:24,25 shows
that Eve became Adam's bride; and Adam was to be the head of the
household, according to Genesis 3:16: "...Yet your desire will be
for your husband, And he will rule over you."
In similar manner, with the church being the bride of Christ, the
Lord, therefore, is the one who rules over them and to whom they are
to submit: "For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also
is the head of the church..." (Eph. 5:23).
Another part of God's plan for Adam and Eve is that they would have
children and increase in number (Gen. 1:26-28). Verse 28
in this passage states, "God blessed them; and God said to them, 'Be
fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule
over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over
every living thing that moves on the earth.'"
Jesus also desires to see His people, the church, multiply; and He
has given the word so that we can. For it is by the message of
the gospel that people can be born again, according to 1 Peter
1:22-25, and become a part of that spiritual family.
It would be pretty reasonable to assume that Adam loved his
wife. Even so, Christ loved His bride, the church: "Husbands,
love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave
Himself up for her" (Eph. 5:25). And just as the husband has
the responsibility toward providing for his wife, Christ also
provides for His bride, the church: "But seek first His kingdom and
His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you"
(Matt. 6:33). So as we think of Adam's relationship to Eve, we
can also think of Christ's relationship to the church.
From these brief comparisons, it is easy to see why Adam is referred
to as a "type" or "figure" of Christ in Romans 5:14.
In Ephesians 5:32 Paul then says, "This mystery is great; but I am
speaking with reference to Christ and the church." As Paul
points out in this verse, it is not marriage itself, but Christ and
His church being emphasized as the great mystery, which is typified
by the marriage relationship. Commenting on this, Albert
Barnes states: "The truth that was so great a mystery was, that the
eternal Son of God should form such an union with people; that he
should take them into a connection with himself, implying an ardor
of attachment, and a strength of affection superior to even that
which exists in the marriage relation. This was a great and profound
truth, to understand which, it was necessary to receive instruction.
No one would have understood it without a revelation; no one
understands it now except they who are taught of God."
In the Vulgate, the phrase "This Mystery is great" is rendered as
"this sacrament is great," with the Latin word "sacramentum" being
wrongly used for the Greek word for mystery (musterion). It is
from this that many Catholics refer to marriage as a sacrament, but
that is not the meaning of the original.
James Burton Coffman writes: "The exalted view, both of marriage and
of the church of Jesus Christ, shines forth in this text. The
sacredness of marriage is seen in God's design of it, from the very
beginning, to be a figure of the union of Christ and his church; and
the glorious importance of the church appears in the fact of its
having been in the design of God from the very beginning."
That the church was in God's mind even before the beginning, rather
than a mere "afterthought" or "substitute for the kingdom," as some
premillennialists have wrongly taught, can be seen in Ephesians
3:10,11, where the church is referred to as being part of God's
"eternal purpose" for the proclamation of His
The chapter then closes in Ephesians 5:33 with Paul giving the
following marital instruction: "Nevertheless, each individual among
you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must
see to it that she respects her husband." Commenting on this
verse, David Lipscomb points out that for the husband to love his
wife as himself, he is to "make her a part of himself, in his
thoughts, feelings, purposes, and regard her comfort and happiness
as he does his own, and do for her as he does for himself."
Paul also shows in this verse that the wife is to "RESPECT" her
husband. It is also rendered as "reverence" in the KJV and
some other versions; but as E.M. Zerr writes, "It does not have the
sense of regarding her husband as a superhuman or divine being, as
the word 'reverend' generally (but erroneously) is thought to
mean." J. W. Shepherd shows that "Reverence consists of love
and esteem which produce a care to please, and a fear which awakens
caution lest just offense be given." Some versions also
translated this as "fear"; but it does not mean that the wife would
be afraid of her husband, as she might be afraid of spiders or
snakes. Rather, it is a "respectful behavior" toward her
husband, as Peter speaks of in 1 Peter 3:2.
Marriage and the church are two institutions that God Himself
established, and the former a few thousand years before the
latter. A third institution is government (cf. Rom.
13:1-7). And just as you would expect, the One who established
these has also given instruction in His word concerning our
responsibility and how we are to conduct ourselves in these
institutions, which always begins by putting, keeping, and exalting
God above all! So may that also -- and always -- be true
News & Notes
Let those of us who are Christians be remembering the following
people in prayer:
Kay Babin has still not received the test results on whether
she has viral meningitis or the West Nile Virus. But she is
improving, though still with some headaches.
Mozelle Robertson who is 92 and not able to drive and get
around as she once did, but still faithful in her church attendance.
Wayne Murray who is in a nursing home in Columbus,
Gabrielle Lombrage who is healing from recent surgery and
also having another procedure today.
Clifton Trimble who is in his 80's with heart trouble.
Caleb Davis who is now in Afghanistan.
Ginnie Perry Gott who is now in her second pregnancy.
Pam MacDonald who has severe back trouble.
Cheryl Crews who has chronic ailments.
Shirley Young who has continual fibromyalgia.
Bill Barfield who has been several months in a hospital's
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in
Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith;
for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet.
CHURCH OF CHRIST
9923 Sunny Cline Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70817
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 6 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
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