By Femi Aribisala
The branches (believers) are married to the vine (Christ). As a result of their marriage and sexual congress, they bear fruit.
Marriages are not man-made: marriages are made in heaven. The marriage institution is God’s idea and design. Instead of the conventional misnomer whereby marriage is a covenant between two people, the husband and the wife; the true marriage is a covenant between three people; God, the husband and the wife. According to scripture, it is a three-fold cord that is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
Adam and Eve were married at creation. Eve was in Adam and Adam was in Eve: “God created them male and female; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.” (Genesis 5:2). He called their name Adam means Adam and Eve were called Adam. They were one and were married to God.
Adam’s blunder is that, in spite of having God, he still felt alone. So when God says “it is not good for man to be alone,” he means it is not good for man to be alone without God, and not that it is not good for man to be unmarried. Jesus did not get married on earth and, according to him, he was not alone. He said:
“If I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me.” (John 8:16). “A time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” (John 16:32).
We are only alone if God is not with us. If God is with us, we are not alone. Since God is with us, we are never alone. So when God said at the dawn of creation that it is not good for man to be alone, it could not have been because Adam was alone. He was not. It can only be because Adam felt alone because he was carnal and not spiritual.
God separated Eve from Adam because Adam felt alone. Adam himself acknowledged this separation. He said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.” (Genesis 2:23). Subsequent human marriage is an attempt to unite Adam and Eve back together. But even after such re-union, both husband and wife together have to be re-married to God.
Bride of Christ
This is where “the Church” comes in. The Church is married to Christ. This “marriage” is spiritual. It is defined by oneness. In the same way that a man can be born again (spiritually), even though he is already born physically; the believer, who is a spiritual brother of Christ, can and should, at the same time, be spiritually married to Christ.
This spiritual marriage has attributes of the physical marriage, but is fundamentally different from it. The need for this spiritual marriage was one of the prayer-points of Jesus at the end of his earthly ministry. He said: “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us.” (John 17:20-21).
Jesus’ concept of oneness is a spiritual version of physical sexual intercourse. He tells God: “You are in me and I am in you.” This is the same way that Eve was in Adam and Adam was in Eve. It is a blood covenant, symbolized in the physical marriage by sexual intercourse, where there is exchange of blood between husband and wife. Jesus’ prayer is that the Church should also be married to God: “May they also be in us.”
Fruit of righteousness
This spiritual “marriage” between Jesus and his Church finds eloquent expressions in Christ. Jesus says to his disciples: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5).
This presents the branches (believers) as married to the vine (Christ). As a result of their marriage and sexual congress, the branches bear fruit; the offspring of their union. This offspring is righteousness: “So that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ- to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:10-11).
Jesus says furthermore: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (John 6:56). If we abide in Christ and he abides in us then we are married to him. This mutuality of abiding also has sexual connotations spiritually.
James presents the antithesis of this Christ-centred marriage: “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15). In this Christ-less marriage, the offspring is sin. When the child called sin grows up, it kills its parents.
Law of circularity
In short, the best principles of the human marriage can be derived from the relationship between God the Father and Christ. God is the Father of Christ; nevertheless, Christ is “married” to God. Christ is one with God. He now calls us to be one with him that we may also be one with God.
This means we are now to return to God’s original intentions: “You turn man to destruction, and say, “Return, O children of men.” (Psalm 90:3). We do that in this dispensation by putting God at the centre of every marriage.
Everything comes from God and everything returns to God. Since God does not change, anything that changes cannot be the true position. Since God is the beginning and the ending, then the beginning and the ending must be the same.
In the beginning, it was not so! In the beginning, Adam and Eve were married to God. In the end, all believers will be married to God. All believers will be married to Christ, who is married to God. So we shall be one with God.
Spiritually, Father and Son married to the same bride is not adulterous because Father and Son are one. In any case, spiritual laws don’t follow physically laws strictly. In the Old Testament, God was presented as the husband of Israel: “Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband.” (Jeremiah 3:14). “Your Maker is your husband- the Lord Almighty is his name.” (Isaiah 54:5).
At the same time God is presented as the Father of Israel: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Israel is my son, my firstborn.’” (Exodus 4:22).
In the natural, the father cannot, at the same time, be the husband. But apparently, different principles apply in the spiritual. Observe, for instance, that Jesus is the gate of the sheep. (John 10:7). But at the same time, he is also the shepherd of the sheep. (John 10:11). This does not make sense physically. A gate cannot be shepherd. But spiritually, different things can occupy the same time and space.