Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24
If I begin the sentence, “This is most certainly…” most people who have been through Lutheran confirmation classes will be able immediately to fill in the missing word: “true.” Martin Luther (the 15th century monk who ignited the Protestant Reformation) in his catechism ended the explanation to each of the three articles of the Apostle’s Creed, with the words, “This is most certainly true.”
He meant to emphasize that the confession of faith we make, using those words are core and foundational to the Christian faith, and that there can be no doubt about those teachings on the part of Christians throughout the world. In fact the Apostle’s Creed is one of three Ecumenical Creeds, that is confessions of faith that are embraced by Christians in Protestant, Orthodox, Roman Catholic churches. Even those who are not in churches that acknowledge the creeds will most likely embrace all the teachings expressed in these creeds.
All these teachings come from the Bible, the Prophetic and Apostolic Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Now here is why I offer the title of this post in a manner that makes this point: The Genesis 2:24 passage is true. It’s in the Bible. It’s God’s word. Clear. Profound. True.
But wait, there’s more! This passage is repeated word, for word, in Matthew 19 and Ephesians 5. If something is in the Bible once, it’s true. If it’s there twice, it’s certainly true. And if three times it’s found, it is most certainly true!
God’s design for marriage is offered here: Leaving, holding fast, and becoming one. For one to be married he has to cut the apron strings, be independent from his parents, and able to make his own decisions. Today this applies also to women. She must be able to make her own decisions, be defined apart and independent from her parents. Only then can one hold fast to another. When one holds fast to his wife and a wife to her husband, a powerful partnership is formed and found.
For many this is the long term challenge. We are so easily distracted. We too easily see only the green grass on the other side of the fence and miss the weeds, or ignore the fact that our neighbor spends much more time, energy, and money on making the grass green! We see only the fantasy lover and not the dishes to be done, the sick days, or the bad moods that come upon all people living in a fallen world.
Tomorrow we’ll consider the becoming one facet of marriage. It’s vital and essential to marriage in the fullest sense. And it is richer and ever more delightful when we enter into it from the first two elements outlined here. In fact, each of these three facets of marriage bolsters the other. It’s easy to focus on the most obvious joy or problem in seeking to enrich our marriage relationships. But all three need nurture: Clear self-definition (leaving), deep commitment, and intimate connection. This is most certainly true.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. – Genesis 2:18-25