Do you enjoy a good mystery novel? After the characters and setting are established, the author creates an intriguing hook to keep us reading. The plot thickens and we become engaged in trying to figure out the solution. Eventually the case is solved and with it comes clarity and resolve.
Unlike a novel, the mysteries that Paul speaks of in Ephesians are not figured out, but rather made known to him through revelation. What was once hidden is now revealed; the secret mystery disclosed. In Ephesians 1:9, Paul tells us that God has “made known the mystery of his will.” In chapter 3 he speaks of the “mystery of Christ” being revealed by the Holy Spirit, expressing “that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” In Chapter 6, Paul asks the Ephesians to pray for him such that “words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.”
What then, is the mystery spoken of in chapter 5? The pronouncement of the looming mystery is revealed in verse 32: “This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church.” Christ’s commitment to the church is an expression of his deep love. Verse 33 goes on to say, “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” By example, this is the love that God is directing husbands to give to their wives. Likewise, wives are to receive and return love and honor to their husbands. As a wife is to her husband, so the church is to Christ. Marriage is a reflection of the magnificent mystery of union between Christ and his church, completely unknown prior to Jesus.
So then, this model of Christ’s way of expressing devoted love toward the church is one that a husband and wife ought to replicate; and when they do, just think of the implications: Christ is lifted up, the church is loved, marriage is highly esteemed, and this testimony of love and commitment is portrayed for the world to see. In addition to the richness of total devotion, a selfless marriage can be a testimony of God’s amazing love!
If you are married, is your marriage one that models after the example of how Christ loves the church? Do you love and honor your spouse knowing that this is God’s best for you? Ask God how you can encourage your spouse today. If you are not married, are you seeking God’s best in your relationships? Do you look for opportunities to build others up or do you see others as a way of helping you feel good about yourself? The mystery has been revealed. Go walk in Christ’s love!
By Lynette Fuson
Director of Women’s Ministry
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