Saturday, October 11, 2014

What is Christian Marriage?

Scripture reading of Genesis 2:18-25; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Mark 10:6-9; 1Cor. 7; Ephesians 5:22ff

Marriage was ordained by God at creation, and it was God Himself who brought the first woman to the first man. By God’s own assessment of His creation, He said that it was not good for man to be alone and so He made Him a helper fit for him.  Therefore, marriage is a normal, honourable and holy state before God (Heb.13:4).  For this reason, it must be entered into with serious consideration, remembering the chief reasons why God ordained marriage.
1.      It was ordained, firstly, for the companionship, help and comfort which a husband and wife need from each other – for we read that God made “a helper fit for” the man.
2.      It was ordained, secondly, for the continuation and multiplication of the human race – for God blessed the first couple and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth”.
3.      It was ordained, thirdly, to enable the natural affection and desire between a man and a woman to have a holy fulfilment – for the Bible says, “Because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband”. (1Cor. 7:2)
4.      It was ordained, fourthly, for the welfare of human society, which can only be strong and happy where marriage is held in honour – for the family is the foundational unit of society and God says that it is in the family that children are to be brought up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”. (Eph._6:4). This outward outlook of marriage for social good is so downplayed in our day because it is the cornerstone of society.

How does a Christian marriage look like?
Complimentarian aspect of marriage – each person has a definite role to play: The husband must realize that there are things that he simply can’t do because of the manner in which God created Him – he cannot give birth, nor nurse the baby (for he does not have breast milk). His specific role is provide leadership, spiritually, financially, and socially and offer such protection to His family. This leadership is offered in love. In love the husband appreciates his wife and offers such affection that displays the love of Christ to the church. This is practically involves living with her in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life (1Peter 3:7)
On the other hand the wife is to appreciate that man was made first then woman, that she was made out of Adam so us to submit in everything, as the church submits to Christ. This involves showing such respect, honor and obedience as to the Lord. Sarah is the great example here who called Abraham ‘lord’.

a)      There is love on the part of the husband. What love are we talking about?
Love must be a
1)      Realistic love, for you soon discover things in the wife that seem to be unlovable. Yet a Christian must always remember that Christ loves you though He knows all your sins.
2)      Self-Sacrificial love, as Christ gave Himself for you, for true Biblical love gives.
3)      Purposeful love, just as He gave Himself to make the church perfectly holy, so you purposely get married to make your wife holy. Gary Thomas in His book Sacred Marriage says that God intended for marriage to make us holy not happy!
4)      Exclusive love, as Christ loved the church.
About love we read from God’s Word that: Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (1Cor. 13: 4-8)

b)      There is absolute submission on the wife’s part. For to the wife the Word of God says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord…  As the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands”. (Eph 5:22) 
·         The nature of submission is to trust him gratefully and joyfully as to receive his leadership as the husband is the head of the wife. It involves not only deferring to him but respecting and promoting this leadership always
·         The extent of this submission is in everything, covering every area of their lives – spiritually, socially, ambitions, manner of talking, financially and in all aspects of your lives as one who is before the presence of God, our Eternal Father who gave us this instruction.
·         The goal of this love is so that those who look on this marriage see something of that loving and trustful submission that the church gives to her sovereign, the Lord Jesus Christ.

About Submission we read from God’s Word:
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered (1Peter 3:1-7).

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