“But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:20-24)
Today we transition from stewardship into relationships, beginning with one of the most important ones, the marriage relationship. Benjamin Franklin once said, “The happy State of Matrimony is, undoubtedly, the surest and most lasting foundation of comfort and love…the cause of all good order in the world, and what alone preserves it from the utmost confusion.” (1) Marriage is the first and primary institution God created for the right foundation of our society, as seen in Genesis 2, in Old Testament historical books, in wisdom literature, and in the epistles of the New Testament. The importance of entering into a marriage relationship is reflected in a public, religious ceremony during which couples vow before God and the community to be faithful to each other.
Views on Christian marriage have changed radically in the history of the church. Before the Reformation, the Catholic church taught that devotion to Christ required celibacy. The father of the Reformation, Martin Luther, was a single, celibate monk when God captured His heart for Christ through his Bible study. After his break from the Catholic church, he married and said, “Nothing is more delightful than the companionship of a good spouse.” (2) Marriage has the potential to be a source of great delight for men and women. Sadly, though, Adam and Eve, the first married couple, created perfectly by God for each other, failed to realize their potential. Their fall from grace by their rebellion against God’s command has impacted every marriage since then. There is evidence of this in some of the most well-known unions in the Old Testament including those of Adam and Eve, Abraham, and Sarah, Uriah, and Bathsheba, King Xerxes and Esther, Solomon and his many wives, as well as Ananias & Sapphira. Abraham instructed his wife Sarah to lie, saying that she was Abraham’s sister rather than his wife (Genesis 12:13; 20:2). Bathsheba was guilty of adultery (2 Samuel 11), and Ananias and Sapphira both lied to the apostles, conspiring together, causing their own deaths. Is it any wonder that so many marriages are in trouble today, that the rate of divorce is so high, or that many singles want to avoid marriage altogether?
What is your attitude toward marriage? As we explore this all-important relationship, are you willing to consider that your understanding of biblical marriage, your attitude, or your desires may need to change? Whether you are single, married, divorced, or widowed, do you accept God’s precise definition of the marital relationship?
- Henderson, Steven R., “A Reformed View of Marriage” (Colossians 3:18-19), sermonaudio.com