If The Two Become One Flesh

We live in a time where there is more teaching on how to get divorced, than how to stay married. So, I'm running this article again. And if you would like prayer for your marriage, please call. 203.200.9177 

If The Two Become One, Can Man Separate Them? (5.5.11and8.21.12)

Matthew 19,6: "They are no longer two, therefore, but one flesh. So then what God has united, human beings must not divide."

The phrase "one flesh" regarding marriage between a man and a woman here in Matthew 19,6 means more than physical union. It signifies a yoking of spirits and souls and lives. 

This use of "flesh" by Jesus is very similar to what Jesus said about partaking of his flesh at the Lord's Supper at John 6,51: "I am the living bread [a Holy Spiritual reality that was expressed by his fleshly body] which comes down from heaven; if anyone eats [partakes fully in Jesus by faith] of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."  

So "flesh" is not just used in a carnal and impermanent sense in the bible (John 6,63 the flesh is "useless"), it often pertains to a Holy Spiritual, resurrectional, permanent sense, as that which includes but goes beyond the physical.  

So what does this expanded sense of "the two become flesh" tell us about the nature of marriage from God's perspective? 

The Samaritan woman at the well comes to mind (John 4,18) and provides a similar clue as "the two become one flesh." Surprisingly, and not out of any false modesty, Jesus told her she had had five husbands, and that she was better off with him as her permanent "husband", ie as her messiah. 

He didn't say she had had five relationships, five dating experiences, five tryouts. He said that they were all her husbands as far as that went, that five times she had not entered marriage with the necessary and elevated faith sense that is required. He said, quite kindly, that when we fully partake of each other as men and women, that begins a marriage, a oneness that is meant to grow and be permanent like our yoke to Jesus is.

So if our yoke to Jesus is permanent, and the yoke of marriage is also by its nature permanent, if I walked into any court anywhere in the world, and a judge decreed that my relationship with Jesus was forever broken, every Christian in the world with any faith at all, would holler "no judge can do that."

But then again a lot of individual faithful folks in self described unhappy marriages (I'm not talking about abusive relationships, ie leave), head right into that same wordly court, often with unforgiveness, often unaware of his or her own share of responsibility for the relationship breakdown, and often having had kids that will require a permanent relationship anyway, and often ask the other spouse to pay, and yet and still insist 'now it's over'? 

Not to mention that even the non faithful party can bull rush through the whole thing and the other faithful party is stuck with the result!

Where does this leave us? 

Well perhaps we see a little bit better why God's not too keen on divorce, to put it mildly (Malachi 2,16).  And perhaps we can begin to see that the "two become one flesh" and "let no man put asunder what God has joined" mean that man can flail and divorce decree all he wants. But watch out, we mere mortals, not guided by God's word, are not likely breaking the Holy Spiritual onesss of marriage that God decreed in his word.  

(If you're wondering, given the strictness of God's teaching about marriage, whether it's better just to stay single like Jesus, take comfort, folks asked Him the same question- Matthew 19,10.

I'll have to write about that or how about whether Christians can or should sign pre-nups, what Jewish folks call "Ketubah", in good faith? Oh my, with such subjects, I ask for your prayers.) 



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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.