This Momentary Marriage. A Parable of Permanence. By John Piper.

This Momentary Marriage. A parable of permanence.

By John Piper.

Jesus draws three conclusions in Mark 10:8–9. He says (1) in verse 8, “So they are no longer two but one flesh.” In other words, since God said in Genesis 2:24, “They shall become one flesh,” therefore Jesus concludes for his day and ours: “So they are [now] no longer two but one flesh.” Marriage is that kind of union—very profound, just as Christ and the church are one body (Rom. 12:5).

Then (2) the second conclusion Jesus draws is that this union of one flesh is the creation—the work—of God, not man. He says in verse 9, “What therefore God has joined together . . .” So even though two humans decide to get married, and a human pastor or priest or justice of the peace or some other person solemnizes and legalizes the union, all of that is secondary to the main actor, namely, God. “What God has joined together . . .” God is the main actor in the event of marriage.

Then (3) Jesus draws the conclusion at the end of verse 9: “Let not man separate.” The word translated “man” here (“Let not man separate”) is not the word for male over against female, but the word for human over against divine. The contrast is: “If God joined the man and woman in marriage, then mere humans have no right to separate what he joined.” That’s Jesus’ third conclusion from Genesis 1–2. Since God created this sacred union with this sacred purpose to display the unbreakable firmness of his covenant love for his people, it simply does not lie within man’s rights to destroy what God created.

Jesus did not come simply to affirm the Mosaic law. He came to fulfill it in his own consuming, forgiving, justifying obedience and death, and then to take his ransomed and forgiven and justified followers into the higher standards that were really intended when all of Moses is properly understood.

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