One flesh is simply the worldly mirror image of our one spirit relationship with God through Christ in us. Focus on self separates what God has joined.
So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. (Matthew 19:6)
I never fully understood the truth of this verse until I lost my beloved husband to bone cancer. In my grief and loss, I came to see that husband and wife are truly one. When one is gone, the other is no longer the same person they were with their husband. I literally had to ‘start from scratch’ and allow God to recreate the single ‘me’ all over again. Of course, this doesn’t gel with the ways of the world where ‘sanctity of self’ is a mantra loudly proclaimed. One flesh is a concept that is regarded as out of date and even derogatory, yet it is a fundamental and unchangeable spiritual principle we ignore at our peril.
One flesh and Christ in us.
The principle of one flesh is both the shadow of and the mirror of the Christ in us and us in Christ relationship. Just as marriage is the mirror of our relationship with God, so one flesh is the symbolic physical mirror of an indissoluble spiritual unity. It is God-ordained and God empowered. We all too readily regard it in a purely physical sense relating to sexual ‘joining,’ but the reality is far more powerful. It’s less about the physical act than it is about the covenant between a man and wife.
Of course, we cannot deny that the Bible says that God hates divorce. We also cannot argue that this verse relates to that issue as well. But the critical spiritual truth is that God ‘seals’ the covenant of marriage by supernaturally making a husband and wife ‘one flesh.’ In the same way, He supernaturally empowers the eternal unity of Christ in us and us in Christ, based on the salvation covenant. This unity is the outworking of the covenant, a sovereign, divine ‘oneness’ that is the will of God, is empowered by God, and sustained by God.
We do not lose ourselves in being one flesh.
This idea is a lie of the world. We are initiated from a very early age into the ‘what about me’ philosophy. My rights are always at the forefront in every relationship. We’re taught and encouraged to hold fast to what we ‘deserve.’ Society as a whole regards independence as paramount. We should always be ‘true to ourselves’ and never allow anyone else to diminish us. If you want to push my buttons, abuse is top of the list – in any form. I loathe relationships that deliberately set out to break down others or manipulate them. But there is a tendency in the world today to regard the ‘traditional’ view of marriage as being somehow abusive. This is a gross perversion of the real truth and the pure will of God.
Being one flesh – one ‘person’ – does not diminish either the husband or the wife. It does not demand that one ‘sacrifice’ all and immerse their true nature and personality in the other. We do not give of ourselves at the expense of the person God created us to be. What it essentially means is that together, we become the sum of our individual parts. Two together are exponentially powerful. The focus, however, is dramatically changed. We are now focused on us as opposed to focused on me. Our life is now us, not me. The plans we make together are ours, not mine. It’s so much bigger than little old me.
One flesh is a supernatural yoke of power.
The Christ in me and me in Christ principle is the spiritual prototype which vividly defines a one flesh relationship. The first truth is that it is one of no separation – not even a smidgeon of a space between us and Jesus. It is perfect unity, in which we share His ‘yoke.’ This means that we pull together, we share the burdens, and we accomplish more. If we look at two oxen in a yoke – the metaphor – they remain two oxen, but in the yoke, they work as one. Each one brings what they have to the yoke. They combine to exponentially increase their power and ability.
When Christ is in me and I am in Him, anything is possible. I’m no longer limited by my weakness, fears, inabilities, and lack. He provides what I do not have. At the same time, He uses what I do have – all that He has given me – and turns it into His exceedingly, abundantly, far more than I could ever ask or imagine. In our worldly marriages, the same principles apply. Each partner brings different strengths and weaknesses to the ‘yoke,’ but the combination is spiritually powerful. There is balance and there is the divine principle of multiplication at work. Two together can often accomplish more than ten doing the same work separately. Where there is unity, God commands a blessing. That’s truth, and it’s never more evident than in the supernatural one flesh relationship.
The supernatural covenant of one flesh.
We seem to have lost sight of the vital importance God has placed on the principle of one flesh. Today’s verse, at first glance, seems limited to the issue of divorce. While this is the overt context, the spiritual principle on which it is based is an eternal truth we should never lose sight of. This devotional is not about the thorny issue of divorce but about the attitude of mankind to spiritual covenants forged and broken every day. Even the Bible recognizes that there are extenuating circumstances, but this does not excuse the wholesale neglect of spiritual unity that is so close to the heart of God.
We’ve established that one flesh is the worldly mirror of ‘one spirit.’ It is an eternal supernatural covenant that God wills for His people. When people enter into marriage with ‘me, myself, I’ at the top of their priority list, that covenant is false. What we’re essentially saying is, ‘so long as it works for me.’ The reality is that we cannot make this covenant and expect to remain the same person we were before. In the same way, we cannot enter into the salvation covenant and expect to remain the same. We must become a new person in Christ, just as we must become a new person ‘in marriage.’ Covenant, first and foremost, is supernatural. It’s spiritual, and it’s ordained and empowered by God.
God and one flesh.
It’s convenient to disregard the spiritual implications of covenant. Self-interest can remain top of the list, fully justified by claims of self-worth, personal identity, and self-protection. But we bring the same attitude to our covenant with God. We ignore the reality that any ‘one flesh’ covenant is honoured and empowered by God. It’s not negotiable. When we make the covenant – be it with our earthly spouse or with Christ – God immediately empowers it. He makes us one flesh – indissolubly joined, made as one, with no space for separation. It’s divine, it’s sovereign, it’s complete, and it’s supernatural.
When we, who are now one spirit with God Himself – the divine prototype of one flesh – put self first, we break covenant. This is the powerful truth behind today’s verse, one we need to really take hold of. God has ordained our unity with Him. He has empowered our unity with Him. We are joined to God by God Himself. It’s not anything we do, think, desire, or say. This sovereign, supernatural joining is the will of God. Yet, with our focus on self and our own sense of rights or what we deserve, we continually separate what God has joined together. How often do we stop to think, when we ignore His commands and pursue our own desires, that we are breaking the unity He has supernaturally put in place?
One flesh is our reminder of one spirit.
It’s a fundamental truth that adultery is perhaps one of the most destructive betrayals. This is because of the one flesh principle – that we are so ‘one’ that the betrayal is an intimate wound. Yet we so easily and thoughtlessly separate ourselves from the unity with God that is an undeserved gift of grace. All too often, we value our own independence above the yoke we share with the Son of God Himself. We pursue our own ‘needs’ and desires above the supernatural unity God gives us so freely. The sobering truth is that we are separating what God has joined. Our salvation covenant isn’t a one-sided, God gives all and we get all, covenant. It’s a shared yoke, a supernatural unity with God Himself that we should never take for granted or sacrifice to our own interests.
Today, let’s look beyond the ‘surface truth’ and see the will of God for what it is – divine, sovereign, gracious, and absolute. May we remember this each time self tempts us to severe the supernatural unity we have with our God.
Forgive us, Lord, if we have taken You and Your grace for granted. Thank You for Your precious unity, the oneness we have with You in Christ. Remind us of this daily, and quicken our hearts to seek this more than right-sounding lies of the world. Help us, each day, to resist the false temptations that deceive us into separating that which You have joined together through the precious blood of Your Son.