By Femi Aribisala
Jesus makes the way whereby sons of men can, once again, become sons of God so they are married not to men or to women but to God.
Early on at the dawn of creation, God proclaimed a widely misunderstood truth: “It is not good that man should be alone.” (Genesis 2:18). Because the upshot of this observation was the separation of woman from man by the creation of Eve and the institution of marriage, many jump to the conclusion that marriage is the answer to man’s aloneness. However, even in marriage, man remains alone.
Alone in marriage
Marriage does not join husbands and wives together at the hip. Sometimes they are together: sometimes alone. Situations and circumstances inevitably separate husbands and wives. Sometimes their jobs do the separation. Sometimes they are promoted to different stations. Sometimes they travel. Sometimes they visit their friends or they go shopping separately. Quarrels and divorces also bring about separation and aloneness.
We are not always with our loved ones, even if we spend most of the time with them. Man is always alone from man or woman sometime or the other. How can what God says is not good be inevitable?
A scripture often quoted in classical Christian marriage ceremonies says: “What God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:5). But would God himself separate what God has joined together? Most definitely!
By God’s decree, death ultimately separates man from his loved ones. It separates him from his wife and children. The marriage covenant recognises the power of death. The union is simply “till death do us part.” And definitely, death will do us part.
Take a look for a moment at the execution of the will of God in the life of Ezekiel. Out of the blue, God informs him that his wife would die:
“‘Son of man, behold, I take away from you the desire of your eyes with one stroke; yet you shall neither mourn nor weep, nor shall your tears run down. Sigh in silence, make no mourning for the dead; bind your turban on your head, and put your sandals on your feet; do not cover your lips, and do not eat man’s bread of sorrow.’ So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died; and the next morning I did as I was commanded.” (Ezekiel 24:16-18).
“One thing is needed,” Jesus says to Martha, “and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42). What is it that will not be taken away from man or woman? It is God and God alone!
Therefore, it is not good for man to be alone from God. It is very good for man to be married to God. God is a completely different kind of lover. Unlike man, he never leaves; and he never forsakes. He is Immanuel, which means “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23). He is Jehovah Shammah: the God who is always there. (Ezekiel 48:35).
If you are married to Jesus, they can put you in prison, and you will find good company.
They can place you in a barren wilderness, but you will eat the bread of heaven. Your family can ditch you, but you will have a friend who sticks closer than a brother. You may be persecuted, but you are never forsaken. You may be cast down, but you are never destroyed.
Nothing should separate the believer from God’s love. Neither death in the family, nor life in the form of coming into great wealth, nor demonic angels and principalities and powers, nor cares about our situations and circumstances today, nor the fears and anxieties about tomorrow, nor any promotion nor demotion nor anything known or unknown.
In marriage to Christ even death makes no difference: “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. (Romans 14:8). The cross crucifies the believer from the world, which includes members of our family who can be taken away from us without notice and without apology.
Adam’s big mistake was that he forgot that God is his first love. He preferred Eve to God. This preference proved to be disastrous and it led Adam astray.
God gave specific instructions to Adam about life in the Garden of Eden: “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17). But instead of listening to God, Adam listened to Eve, his wife, and ate the forbidden fruit.
Once Adam allowed another relationship to take pre-eminence over his relationship with God, leading him to disobey God, his intimacy with God was lost. Once he ate the forbidden fruit, he sinned and he became a sinner by nature. As such he died. He died spiritually immediately, and he began to die physically. Because of Adam’s sin, death entered into the human race.
Like begets like. Adam was a son of God. But since he became a sinner before Eve conceived a child, every human being descended from Adam became sons of men instead of sons of God. Adam was created in the image and likeness of God; but Adam’s offspring were born in the image and likeness of Adam:
“When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them “man.” When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.” (Genesis 5:1-3).
Redemption in Christ Jesus
So began the human conundrum whereby man became separate and alone from God. “‘Return, faithless people,’ declares the Lord, ‘for I am your husband.’” (Jeremiah 3:14).
Adam’s blunder was replicated in Abraham. Abraham desperately wanted a son. But instead, God gave himself to Abraham in marriage. He said to him: “I am your shield and your exceedingly great reward.” (Genesis 15:1). But Abraham was not interested in the spiritual at that stage of his life. He wanted someone physical. He wanted an heir; he wanted a son.
Even though God promised him a son, Abraham did not wait for God. Instead, he had Ishmael, a natural child born out of wedlock by his house-help Hagar. Nevertheless, God still finally gave him Isaac, a supernatural son, born when Sarah, his wife, was past menopause and when Abraham’s body was “dead.” In this manner, God juxtaposes Ishmael, Abraham’s natural-born son of man, with Isaac, Abraham’s spiritually-born son of God. Suffice to say here that much of the problems in the world today has come from the descendants of Ishmael.
Nevertheless, there is redemption in Christ Jesus. Jesus makes the way whereby sons of men can, once again, become sons of God so they are married not to men or to women but to God: “To all who received (Jesus), to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13).