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(Ring Pastor Jeffrey Khoo 62561189 Anytime)
|“The LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep SILENCE before him.”|
I have 11 maybe 12 weddings to conduct this year. It will be good for all wedding couples and all who intend to marry to get ready for the big day by paying attention to the doctrine of marriage as taught in the Bible.
Divine Institution of Marriage
There is a real need today to return to God’s original intention and purpose for marriage and restore the sanctity of marriage. This is because sin has brought a great deal of distortion and destruction to male-female relationships and the marriage institution. There is rampant lasciviousness and promiscuity today. Pornography is just a click away. Premarital intercourse, cohabitation, abortions, divorces, sexual crimes etc are on the rise.
The Bible commands, “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Tim 2:22). Young people have to beware of sexual lusts and all forms of sinful desires. Renowned French reformer and pastor John Calvin said, “young men [ought] to take heed to themselves, lest in the slippery period of their age, the lusts of the flesh should impel them to many crimes. For, at this day, greater license everywhere prevails, so that no moderation restrains youths from shameful conduct.”
Those already married should heed this warning as well, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” (Heb 13:4). So first things first: What is marriage?
A Covenant Relationship
Marriage was an institution created by God (Gen 1:26–29). God created the man and the woman together. Man was made from the dust of the earth and the woman from man’s rib (Gen 2:20). “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. … And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” (Gen 2:7, 21–22). Note that it was God who brought the woman to the man. It was something good.
God is Matchmaker and Marriage Counsellor. As such, He must always be in the picture in a marriage relationship. Marriage is thus not a bilateral but a trilateral relationship. Three is not a crowd when God is the third. The problem today is that God is taken out of the picture. A breakdown in our marriage is usually due to a breakdown in our personal walk with God. “Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Eccl 4:11–12).
Calvin said that marriage “is a covenant consecrated by God.” Malachi 2:14 speaks of marriage as a covenant: “Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.” What then is a marriage covenant? A marriage covenant is a solemn agreement before God between a man and woman to be each other’s loyal and loving companions for life. A covenant has rules. These rules are set by God. If we want a blissful marriage and be blessed in our marriage we must play by God’s rules. A marriage breaks down when we break the covenant by violating His rules.
God’s rules are found in His Word. All courting couples as well as married couples should be studying the Bible constantly and together. Here is wisdom: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Ps 119:9–11). “Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.” (Deut 4:40).
In Genesis 2:18–25, we find God creating marriage. In the Garden of Eden, God saw that it was not good for man to be alone. “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Gen 2:18). So He made for Adam a helper—a companion—a wife. He beautifully designed and carefully made a woman, and presented her to him (Gen 2:22). A perfect fit!
Woman was created to be man’s helpmeet, ie a helper suitable for him but not inferior to him. Both men and women are created equally valuable by God. Although they are equal as human beings, they each have their respective and distinctive roles. The man has his God-given role as leader and head of the household; the woman was made to help the man to fulfil this role. Ephesians 5:22–33 says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it … So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church … Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Eph 5:21–33). Such a spiritual and harmonious partnership will result in great productivity. Indeed, one will chase a thousand, and two will put ten thousand to flight (Deut 32:30).
However, when the God-given pattern for family unity and harmony is turned upside down—when the women wear the pants and the men don the skirt—confusion and chaos in the family arise. When male and female roles are distorted or reversed, you will find broken marriages, broken families, and broken societies. Marriage is not a necessary evil, but a necessary good within God’s ordained plan and purpose. Society is only as strong as the marriage/family bond. But pornography, adultery, polygamy, homosexuality etc will destroy marriage and family and bring about society’s downfall.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Gen 1:27–28).
Newly-weds, when they are married, leave their parents to set up a new family unit. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Gen 2:24). This is not an abandonment of parents, but rather the establishment of a new family which comprises father, mother and children. Persons who marry should be interested in children, and should plan to have children. “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” (Ps 127:3).
A Lifelong Commitment
“But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Mark 10:6–9). The word “cleave” (Gen 2:24, Mark 10:7) in the original is a very strong word for joining or binding. It has the idea of soldering two metal pieces together to form one piece. It is a permanent fixture.
This tells us that marriage is supposed to be a lifelong union and lifetime commitment. Hence the vow, “till death us do part”. Divorce should never be an option for the Christian; it should never be in the Christian’s vocabulary. Married life may not be easy, and staying married may be difficult, but God says He is there to help. Jesus tells us, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matt 19:26). When the husband and his wife grow more and more like Christ as they live together, their marriage would become sweeter and sweeter. God makes it possible. It is no wonder that the great German reformer Martin Luther said, “The life of a married couple, if they are in the faith, deserves to be rated higher than those who are famous for miracles.” Indeed, a blessed and successful marriage in the Lord is better than miracles.
A Heterosexual Monogamy
Genesis 1:27 tells us that God created man “male and female”. Take note that it is between a man and a woman, and take note of the singular—one man and one woman. Only one Eve was made for Adam, not many. Thus, a marriage should be monogamous. Also, it should only be between a male and a female. Homosexual relationships are an abomination to God: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Lev 18:22, see also Gen 19:1–24, Rom 1:23–24). JK
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