What is a "Biblical Mystery"?
Everyone loves a mystery, right? You know, one of those "who done it" kind of stories. In the end we all know who did it and why they did it. In a good mystery, the bad guy always gets caught in the end. There is always a happy ending. Well, that's kind of like the biblical concept of a mystery. In fact, in the biblical mysteries, God is the sole Author and Hero. In the end, our triune God always comes out on top!
A biblical mystery is one of God's great truths that He has hidden in times past but has now revealed in His New Testament through His holy Apostles and Prophets. The timing is now. The mystery is here. God wants to draw us into it. For example, one of God's newly revealed mysteries is that the living, resurrected Lord Jesus Christ indwells His Church, which is our "hope of glory" (Col. 1:25-27). Another of God's great mysteries is "the mystery of marriage."
What is "the Mystery of Marriage"?
While it is true that Men Are from Mars and Women Are from Venus, this is not exactly what the Bible means by "the mystery of marriage." You know, "My husband is a mystery!" Or, "My wife is so mysterious!" Yes, at times it is more than overwhelming to try and figure out how our mates think, act, and react. "Why doesn't he/she get it? It seems so obvious to me." It's kind of like looking in the mirror and expecting to see your mate instead of yourself.
Let's face it: Men and women are different-not in every area, but certainly in some areas. And as long as we keep trying to see our mates through our own eyes-how we would think, act, and react-we will always lose our way in the mystery of our mate and miss the true mystery of marriage.
So what is the true mystery of marriage? What is this newly revealed mystery of marriage that can lift your marriage up and out of the routine and the mundane so that it will reflect God's image and glory in the world? God reveals this mystery of marriage through His servant, the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesian Church (Eph. 5:29-32):
After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the Church-for we are members of His body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh" [Gen. 2:24]. This is profound mystery-but I am talking about Christ and the Church.
Marriage for the Christian transcends all of the earthly joys and cares. It actually rises to the heights of Christ and His Church, His living Body composed of all true believers in Him.
In truth, your marriage is designed by God to be a mirror of a greater reality, a reality that the world can see in no other way. Your marriage is actually to reflect the personal and intimate union between Christ and His Church. The mystery of marriage is its reflection of the oneness of Christ, the Husband, and His Church, the Bride of Christ.
The implications of this mystery of marriage are staggering. For example, when outsiders look at your marriage, what do they see? Do they see a loving and sacrificial husband who is reflecting Christ's sacrificial love for the Church (Eph. 5:25-30)? Do they see a submissive and supportive wife who is reflecting the Church's joyful submission to Christ the Head of the Church? In other words, do they see a living cameo of the beauty and intimacy of the Church's union with Christ? If they don't, we are hiding the mystery of marriage rather than revealing it.
All this is to say: God wants to use your marriage to reflect His wonder, majesty, and splendor before a world for which Christ died. The mystery of marriage is the awesome privilege of each and every Christian marriage. But remember: Marriage, like any great mystery, is sometimes difficult to unravel while you're in the middle of it, but you always know that it will all work out in the end!
(1) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. (2) I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down from heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (3) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. (4) He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (5) He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then He said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true" (Rev. 21:1-5).
Your Own Mystery of Marriage
In light of the divine mystery of marriage, prayerfully consider the following questions:
1. Has your marriage truly reflected God's mystery of marriage in the last six months? If so, how? If not, why not?
2. What areas of your marriage need to improve so that you can truly reflect God's mystery of marriage? How do you plan on making these improvements in the next six months? Why not pray about this together right now.
3. In what specific areas of your marriage can you thank God for right now, in light of the fact that He has built certain aspects of His mystery into your marriage? Why not thank Him right now. Remember: God desires to use the mystery of your marriage to reflect His glory to the world.