Two people, joined together into one flesh by God. This is a picture of our union with Christ. Paul wrote:
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
– Ephesians 5:31-32 (ESV)
The bond between husband and wife is a great picture of the Church’s union with Christ. But in an age of easy divorce, this image may loose some of its significance in our minds.
Today, many couples split up because the marriage was one of convenience. Living together becomes difficult for various reasons, either internal or external. So a separation takes place, and life becomes easier.
While our physical life is generally not dependent upon remaining married, the same does not hold true of our spiritual life. We will always be dependent upon Jesus for His life. So I’d like to propose a different analogy on the relationship between ourselves and Christ. It’s also about a union between two people whom God has joined into one flesh.
In 1999, Darielis Milagro and Sandra Ivellise were born to Sandra and Ramón Soto. These girls were unique in that they were conjoined twins sharing a single heart and liver. Darielis had the heart, which pumped blood through the umbilical cord to her sister Sandra.
Way before they were born, surgery was planned to separate them, because neither of them could survive with only one heart: as soon as the umbilical cord was cut, both babies would die.
Separating the liver would be relatively easy, but nothing could be done about a heart for Sandra. An infant donor heart would not be available, and even if there was, Sandra did not have the necessary “plumbing” for a heart of her own to be installed.
So it was understood that as soon as the birth took place, surgery would have to follow immediately. Sandra would die so that Darielis might live.
In May of 1999, an emergency Caesarean section was performed on Mrs. Soto. Immediately following, the surgeons worked to separate the girls. The umbilical cord was cut, and Sandra died shortly after. But her sister Darielis survived and became a healthy girl living in New Jersey.
We think that, if possible, separating conjoined twins is a good idea. But when God placed us in Christ, it was like a conjoined-twin separation operation in reverse. He took us, people separated from Christ, dead in trespasses and sins, and joined us to His Son, … and we came alive!
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses…
– Colossians 2:13
When God placed us in Christ, our relationship became much like conjoined twins Sandra and Darielis. In a sense, we share Jesus’ heart. It is His life that gives us life.
God has placed us in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30), grafting us into Him (Romans 11:17-24). We are now utterly dependent upon His life for our life. We must remain in Him or wither and die (John 15:1-6). We cannot separate from Him without losing our life.
Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
– 1 John 5:12 (ESV)
Conjoined twins live their lives continually in each other’s presence. It is a very intimate relationship – more so than that of a husband and wife. Both share the same experiences. Both are affected by the same circumstances. There’s a lot of communication going on between the two.
What can you learn from the relationships of conjoined twins that you can apply to your relationship with Christ?
When twins who have been joined together for a long time are separated, a “death” takes place, even if the operation is successful. An intimate bond is broken. A loss is felt. Each twin has to learn how to live again: how to walk, how to sit, etc.
We believers don’t have the option to separate from Christ. We will always be joined to Him. But, speaking hypothetically, if you were separated from Christ, would you be ok? Are you trying to live like you are separate from Him?
“… What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
– Matthew 19:6 (ESV)