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Love and Marriage

14/03/2019

Love and Marriage

Text: Matthew 19:1-5

Have you heard the phrase ‘equal marriage?’  It’s a term that has been coined of recent years, to make Christians and others ‘look and feel bad’ about disagreeing with homosexual marriage, to paint them as bigots who are denting the basic human right of equality to others, “who just love each other and want to express that love in the lifelong commitment of marriage.  It was framed to make the Christian look bad, to look like the bigot, for he who controls the language controls the debate.  

So, when we are under such attack, the Christian believer really needs to know his or her stuff.  We need to know what marriage is, how equality is really expressed in marriage.  We need some clear thinking about marriage. Let’s see…

1 The Basis of Marriage.  Genesis 2:18-23  

Now, the first thing that we must learn about marriage is that it is NOT a human invention or a government edict. God instituted marriage at creation. We refer to it as a ‘creation ordinance.’   

Savoy. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband at the same time.

  • One man – one woman. God made Adam and Eve. He saw that Adam was alone, and he caused a deep sleep to fall upon him, and he extracted from him a rib, out of which he fashioned a new life, – a woman.  Genesis 2:23  He could well have created several women, or another man.  But he didn’t.  He created a wife for Adam, someone who is like him, but different from him.  Both of them were made in the image of God.  Genesis 1:27  
  • To the exclusion of all others. Adam had one wife, and Eve had one husband. But then what about the Moslems and the Mormons, who practise polygamy? Polygamy was first recorded among ungodly in Gen 4:16-19.  Polygamy was the result of the fall. Gen 6:5.  But didn’t some OT heroes have more than one wife?  Jesus comments on this in Matthew 19. where he says in verse 8 “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.  Deviation from monogamy, even by the OT saints was falling short of God’s perfection. 

So, God’s unchanged standard is lifelong monogamous marriage, between a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, ‘till death do us part. Because God invented marriage – no human or human institution, no church or parliament has the right to change it.  

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2 The Purpose of Marriage. 

Savoy: Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife; for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed, and for preventing of uncleanness.

So what is the purpose of marriage?  There are several and all of them are of equal weight and importance:-

  • Companionship and Consummation.   
    • To alleviate loneliness. God saw that Adam was lonely – that nowhere on earth could a helper be found for him and for that purpose he brought him a wife.  For companionship!  Genesis 2:18     
    • To be the only framework for sexual fulfilment. 1 Corinthians 7: 2-5,  Marriage is our authorisation to enjoy physical pleasure! Indeed for a marriage to be valid it must be consummated. Even our private lives, the deepest privacy of all, must be lived firstly, to glorify and enjoy God. 
  • Procreation. Genesis 1:28  Now in the 70’s there was a belief among some liberal ‘Christians’ that marriage is little more than a form of companionship and sexual fulfilment  that THE EARTH HAS BEEN REPLENISHED!’   That’s wrong – and this philosophy of marriage without issue, purely for love and sexual gratification, became the underlying principle for modern secular marriage philosophy. For Christian believers deliberate childlessness should never be a conscious selfish decision.  Malachi 2:15  God’s will for believers is to bring into this world a godly offspring who will be brought to faith in Christ.  Thus in Acts we read  Acts 2:39    So our children are precious – they are the heirs of the promise of salvation!
  • Healthiness.  SIDs have always been present and the answer is to obey God’s plan, to promote Christian marriage, and total abstinence from any sexual activity outside marriage. The health benefits of marriage extend well beyond avoiding STDs. Why?  Because marriage is God’s plan, God’s will for human flourishing.

So, the purposes of marriage are clearly laid out in the Bible.  Marriage is to enable us to live in a companionable, loving, sexually embracing relationship, wherein children are born, and nurtured, and the health and well being of all are protected.

3 The Boundaries of Marriage. 

Savoy:  It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent. Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry in the Lord; and therefore such as profess the true reformed religion, should not marry with infidels, Papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly, be unequally yoked by marrying with such as are wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies. The bible sets boundaries for marriage. 

  • For the Whole of Mankind. Because marriage is an ordinance of God, given at creation, it is for everyone in the whole world.  This is real marriage equality.  Every man has the right to marry a woman, and every woman has the right to marry a man.  In that we are all equal!   Marriage must be consensual.  Both parties to the marriage must WANT to marry each other.
  • For Believers, the situation is different.  A believer must marry only ’in the Lord’.  1 Corinthians 7:39   There will be restrictions on who a Christian may marry, which are not applicable to unbelievers.  A Christian who marries an infidel sins. 2 Cor 6:14-18   Savoy clarifies this further. What if a Christian wants to marry someone else who also claims to be a Christian but who is part of a sect or a cult which is heretical, for if the spouse should refuse to forsake their heretical associations, they will have a deleterious effect on the believer who marries them.  Deuteronomy 7:1-4   

So we have begun our exploration of marriage and we have already learned that Christian, biblical marriage is greatly different from the view of marriage in this secular world.  We must order our opinions according to the Bible, not be influenced by the opinions of the prevailing culture.

© BobMcEvoy March 2019

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