Meaningful Marriage #2
How did we get where we are in modern marriage views?
Views about marriage are all over the map. We may think that things have progressed so rapidly today and we just can’t understand why, but we should realize that there was already an undercutting of the marriage relationship long ago. This undercutting happens in several ways:
• Easy divorce.
• Living together before marriage.
• Homes that fail to honor differences and roles between husbands and wives.
• Husbands and wives who do not treat each other as the Lord desires.
Put this together with a world that thrives on instant gratification, constant entertainment and pleasure, and an emphasis on personal rights and entitlements, and we have a perfect storm for reshaping moral questions into idolatrous images of our own making. The path for changing marriage was cut long ago by a diminishing respect for God, His word, and respect for others.
There are even more foundational issues that have been redefined. People are concerned about the redefinition of marriage, and rightly so, but there is the greater problem of redefining even more fundamental issues:
1. God. God gets conceptually redefined into something of our own liking. The modern god is amenable to us and must rubber-stamp whatever we desire. This is a non-judgmental god who is nothing like Scripture describes, except in isolated cases. This god looks and acts like us. His wish is for us to have a good time, be nice, and be happy. Since God loves all people, that must mean that whatever we want to do, as long as it conforms to what we deem nice, is going to be perfectly fine with Him.
2. Love. With the redefinition of God comes the redefinition of love. Love is now defined by our preferences. If two people love each other, no matter the biology, no matter the preference, no matter the circumstance, then it must be acceptable, and God will be good with it. Those who disagree are deemed unloving and judgmental.
Once God and love have been redefined by our own standards, everything else follows. Marriage is one of the casualties of these redefinitions. We need a recommitment to understanding the true God and His definition of love.
How is this Resolved?
Resolving the problems starts with God. We can only understand the true purpose of marriage in the context of His authority and will. This is about foundations, and our ultimate foundation is God (Gen. 1:1). God created mankind in His image (vv. 26-27), and He made marriage as a means to provide for companionship, protection, procreation, and a living example of what it means to be in covenant with Him.
Here are a few fundamentals of Marriage that we need to learn to exemplify and demonstrate to a world that has lost its moorings:
1. Marriage mirrors God’s image and covenant relationship with His people (Eph 5:22-33). God established marriage as a unit that reflects the Lord’s marriage to His bride. Consideration of marriage should lead us to consideration of God and His glory.
2. Biblical marriage tells the gospel message. Ephesians 5:22-34 speaks of both submission and love. Submission mirrors Christ in serving others, and love mirrors the love of Christ in dying for others. Submission and love comprise what Paul means by “the mind of Christ” (Phil 2:1-5). When husband and wife, together, submit and love, they demonstrate the mind of Christ through their relationship. This is the mind we want to bring to the world.
What Christ did for His people is what the husband and wife do for each other (Eph. 5:22-33). Biblical marriage is not a clever device of society in order to survive. It is not a mere tool for validating physical partners. It is a living manifestation of God’s relationship with His people. It is a purposeful, living symbol intended to reflect God.
Marriage cannot be redefined without losing its intended meaning. Marriage:
• reflects the image of God in creation.
• mirrors the covenant relationship God has with His people
• reflects the Gospel wherein is found grace, love, and sacrifice.
• mirrors the unity of God as one.
• belongs to God. It was His conception, and He rules over it. The kingdom of God is as much a part of marriage as anything else we do.
• is built upon the prerequisite of the one flesh relationship that God approves: male and female joined by God (Matt 19:4-6).
• is God’s established relationship for having and raising children. Marriage manifests the creative nature of God.
• is built upon sacrificial love and submission. It is not meant to be selfish, but to emulate Christ, who sacrificed Himself for His body.
We cannot afford to turn marriage into a selfish, convenient, toss-away political issue. Christians need to view marriage on the grounds of God’s creation from the beginning along with Christ and His sacrifice, and they need to show they believe this through the way they live out their own marriage, becoming living examples of God’s desired covenant relationship with His people.
To be continued…