For the past couple of weeks we have been looking at selected verses from the book of Ephesians. We are finally getting to the "big one". The one that tells us what this life is really all about. Ephesians 5 concludes with these verses:
28-33 Men ought to give their wives the love they naturally have for their own bodies. The love a man gives his wife is the extending of his love for himself to enfold her. Nobody ever hates or neglects his own body; he feeds and looks after it. And that is what Christ does for his body, the Church. And we are all members of that body, we are his flesh and blood! ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’. The marriage relationship is doubtless a great mystery, but I am speaking of something deeper still—the marriage of Christ and his Church. In practice what I have said amounts to this: let every one of you who is a husband love his wife as he loves himself; let the wife reverence her husband. Ephesians 5:28-33 (PHILLIPS)
This is the summation of what occurs in this life. While all people won’t marry, this description of the marriage covenant serves as a blueprint for all relationships, because all of our relationships on earth help us to achieve an understanding of the relationship that God has orchestrated between Christ and His Church. Using the relationship of the husband the wife helps generalize some key points. Paul urges men to love their wives as they "naturally have love for their own bodies". This is universal, whether one is married or not, men (and women) love their own bodies and fight for its’ survival. This is the love that Chris has for His church.
In a marriage relationship, the proper order is for a man is to leave his father and mother and to be "joined to his wife" and "the two become one flesh". How this occurs is a mystery: living every day and coming together in all kinds of life situations creates a union that is perfected day by day. This is what Christ does in the lives of those in His Church. Every day, in numerous ways, He molds us into His Body, we become like Him, we become One with Him.
The final caveat is that a "husband should love his wife as he love himself" – and even for those who aren’t married – this is a rule let us love Christ as we love ourselves – and also the reverence or respect a woman should give her husband – that same kind of reverence or respect we all should give Christ. So sums up our strivings on earth – plain and simple!