God Made Marriage For God's Own Glory.
Yesterday I was able to teach on and share from the scripture about the covenant of marriage, particularly from the creation story in Genesis 1 & 2.
Here is a summary of the teaching - to hear the teaching again you can find it here on our website under ‘Live’ tab.
WHO IS THIS TEACHING FOR?
This teaching really is for every Christ follower who believes the bible and believes that God created everything. The Creation account has a simple yet foundational teaching for us as christians and that is: GOD CREATED.
The assumption therefore is, if God is the One who created everything, then He is the One who has the right to define everything. Define meaning, God is then the One who has the right to tell us, His created beings, what marriage covenant is, who it is for, its purpose and its boundaries.
THE INTRODUCTION OF THE COVENANT AND ITS PURPOSE.
Genesis 1:27 & 28
So God created humankind in his own image
in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it.
From these two verses alone we see the marriage covenant between man and woman introduced.
God creates man and woman and speaks to them concerning their purpose together.
This is evidently not a platonic relationship (friendship) because we understand that the expectation is that they will now need to enter a sexual relationship in order to fulfil the purpose that is given to them; to fill the earth with godly image bearers.
In Colossians 1:16 Paul writes this:
For by Him (GOD) all things were created that are in heaven and that are on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.
All things were created through Him and for Him.
If we believe the account in Genesis that through God the man and woman, the covenant of marriage and the command came to fill the earth with sons and daughters, then we must also believe that these things; marriage and sex are also for Him.
Sex then is not only given its boundary between the man and woman in a covenant, but also with its true purpose attached.
God did not say to the man and woman ‘go and have pleasure in sex’, although it is pleasurable! He did not say it is for the purpose of fun, or to have with as many partners as you can find. In fact, to do so is a breaking of the divine covenant between the man and woman.
He did say, it is for bringing forth godly offspring. Sex in its creation then, is to be expressed and enjoyed within the boundary of marriage, fulfilling its ultimate design and purpose given through God, for God of filling the whole earth with godly offspring.
A LIFETIME COMMITMENT.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh.
Is marriage intended and created by God to last a lifetime?
This is a genuine question asked by many.
Jesus Himself references this very verse from Genesis in Mark 10 when Pharisees questioned him about whether it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife.
Jesus responds to their question by asking another ‘What did Moses command you?’
The Pharisees refer to Deuteronomy 24, that indeed there was a precept given by Moses that men could in fact divorce their wives.
Jesus however replies to them :
And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female’. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh, so that they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together, let no man seperate.
Jesus explains that although they are correct that Moses gave a law to divorce, he did it based on the hardness of their own hearts. Not because it was Gods original design or intention! Sin has made the hearts of all people hard to Gods way.
He points them further back in the scripture all the way to the beginning. And in verse 9 of Mark Jesus makes explicit what is not explicitly said in Genesis, “therefore what God has joined together, let no man seperate”.
This is Jesus talking! Putting a big exclamation point on Gods intention for the man and woman who step into the marriage covenant: It is a lifelong commitment!
Nothing has changed. Despite sin and despite Israels inability to live up to this idea of God, Jesus tells us even in our time and culture when divorce also has become an easy out for many, marriage is for life.
DIVORCE IS NOT THE UNFORGIVABLE SIN.
I understand that at this point it is sensitive, because many Christ loving, believing and following people have also had to walk through the painful, and devastating happening of divorce.
There is forgiveness, there is restoration and there is hope!
The reasons for divorce in some cases are valid and real. Adultery is one of them given in the scripture. For it is a severe breaking of the holy covenant. However, I know of stories that even in these circumstances of adultery, where Christ loving people have been able, by God’s great grace, to offer forgiveness to their partner, and together have worked hard to be restored to one another with the help of counsel, and the Holy Spirit.
Any form of violence and abuse in marriage, is also a severe breakdown of the covenant. And again, if it in no way can be restored, repaired and reconciled, which is also very possible with two willing parties, then divorce is the unfortunate, devastating and yet very real option.
God is merciful.
However, this does not change the ultimate vision God has in his heart for the marriage covenant even today.
Nothing has changed since creation. God Himself stands over the two on their wedding day and performs the act of the two becoming one flesh. This is why He says: what I have joined, let no man seperate.
It is serious to God. And we should also enter the covenant with serious, sober understanding that it is for life.
A HOLY VISION OF MARRIAGE.
Why is this so serious to God’s heart? And why does it seem that even the church has lost the seriousness of this marriage covenant?
We need to reclaim Gods vision of marriage in our hearts and homes. Paul gives us the spiritual and eternal vision in Ephesians 5.
For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Paul now speaks to the church, that we are one with Christ’s body, we are flesh of His flesh, bone of His bones.
And that just as Christ and His Church are One flesh, so is the man and woman who are in covenant on the earth, and he cites genesis, again.
So what is the vision?
God ultimately designed earthly marriage, patterned marriage, after Christ and His Bride the Church.
Meaning, Jesus was first! Jesus has always been first, not the creation of marriage.
Marriage between a man and woman on earth is not being represented by God making Christ and His Church a metaphor of a Husband and Bride... NO!!
It is the other way around!
The marriage seen on earth is patterned after God’s Son and His ultimate Bride His people who are made One with Jesus when they ‘marry Him by faith in Him’.
Therefore, marriage on earth is a type, a representation to the world of Who Jesus Christ is and what He is like for His people His Bride!
WOW… Let this sink deep for a moment.
Have you really understood that this is ultimately what your marriage is all about?
And this is why divorce becomes a horror to God, because it simply and completely does not represent how His Son is to His people.
Jesus will never leave us or forsake us!
Jesus will never be unfaithful to us!
Jesus will still be faithful to us even when we are unfaithful and adulterous to Him!
This is the truest Husband ever: JESUS!!
MAY THERE BE A RESTORED HOLY VISION OF MARRIAGE IN YOU PERSONALLY AND IN THE CHURCH.
I truly do pray that you personally, and we as the church of Jesus Christ in these days, will be filled again in our hearts with this holy vision of marriage. Because ultimately it is God’s way of telling and showing the world in a beautiful picture of what His Son Jesus is truly like.