Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | May 11, 2018

Christian Marriage

Separating Fact from Fiction

Today we live in an age where marriage seems to be more of an afterthought and, in some circles, an unnecessary obstacle to companionship; the driving force can frequently be more physical than spiritual. The focus is more on the satisfaction of an immediate need rather than a long-term commitment to another human being. While everyone has needs, marriage was established for the long haul; a lifetime commitment to the other person, “till death do us part!”

Over my 50 plus years of Bible teaching I have worked with groups of single adults in a broad spectrum of ages, many of whom have been divorced. There seems to be a greater effort being made by the church today to help the divorced than to help young people who are looking to get married. I’m of the opinion that helping young people better understand what true Biblical marriage is all about would be an excellent use of church resources but I know of no such programs being offered on any significant scale.

The Gift of Marriage

While the Biblical standard for marriage, one man and one woman for life, is under attack for a variety of reasons including divorce, and same-sex marriage; marriage, as an institution, was established by God while Adam was still in the Garden of Eden; God had determined that it was not good for a man to be alone. In Genesis 2:21-24 it is written:

“21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.

23 “At last!” the man exclaimed.

“This one is bone from my bone,
    and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
    because she was taken from ‘man.’”

24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”

Eve was God’s gift to Adam to provide the help he needed in almost all aspects of Adam’s life; most importantly the generation of descendants. God instructed Adam and Eve to have children as this was God’s plan to populate the world; we are all descendants of the first married couple, Adam and Eve.

I think it is important to see God’s perspective on the union of Adam and Eve, “the two are united into one.” This is a lifetime joining of two people into one flesh and not to be broken. I will testify with total conviction and complete sincerity that raising up descendants is a full-time job for both a husband and a wife!

What Does the New Testament Say?

The essential starting point for any Christian who is looking to get married is to understand how vitally important it is to only marry another born again Christian! Christian marriage is addressed in several places in the New Testament. My favorite is found in Ephesians 5:21-33 where it is written:

“21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.30 And we are members of his body.

31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

I have noted, with interest, the Bible instructs me to love my wife whereas she is to respect me; while I know she loves me, the Bible does not specifically state that; perhaps the wife’s love must be earned by the husband.

As husband I am the spiritual leader and told I must make my wife holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. How many young men who marry their brides are consciously aware of their spiritual responsibility to their future wife; how many of them are thinking of their leadership role in spiritual matters; I, for one, did not. They certainly will not if they have never been taught!

Next time, “Marriage as a Mission Field.”

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