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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.”|
Believers should marry believers and not unbelievers. 2 Corinthians 6:14 commands, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” There is nothing spiritually in common between a Christian and an unbeliever. In Deuteronomy 7:4, God forbade the Israelites from marrying the Canaanites, “For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.” The unequal yoke will result in a backsliding, or even a falling away from the faith.
Danger of Unequal Yoke
The tragedy of Solomon’s marriages is a case in point: “But king Solomon loved many strange women, … And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.... And the LORD was angry with Solomon” (1 Kgs 11:1–9). God split his kingdom because of his sin.
Another bad example was Ahab who married a very good looking but a most wicked woman in Jezebel: “And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.” (1 Kgs 16:31). At the end, it was said of Ahab, “But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.” (1 Kgs 21:25). God was blasphemed and good people died because of his unequal yoke. It is dangerous to be unequally yoked.
Beware the Beauty and the Beast
The sin of the unequal yoke is both great and grave. It destroys faith and invites the judgement of God. So, when you choose a spouse, make sure he or she is a believer. 1 Corinthians 7:39 tells us to marry “only in the Lord” (i.e., only a believer). It is also required of us to marry a godly one for there are those who are carnal and worldly. Be wise in your choice.
In choosing a wife, physical beauty should not be the main criterion. Proverbs 31:30 says, “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” Calvin said, “marriage is a thing too sacred to allow that men should be induced to it by the lust of the eyes. … [O]ur appetite becomes brutal, when we are so ravished with the charms of beauty that those things which are chief are not taken into account.” Thus the woman we look for should be one who possesses the qualities of a “chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” (1 Pet 3:2–4).
Beware the Jezebel—she is a beauty but also a beast. A potent and deadly combination!
“But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.” (1 Cor 7:36–38).
1 Corinthians 7:36–38 concerns the father and his daughter. The father has the privilege and responsibility to give his daughter away in marriage. The Apostle Paul here says it is good for a father to give his daughter away in marriage, but it is better if he does not if there is no necessity to and if the daughter is pleased to remain single. According to Paul, marriage is good, but singlehood is better. Since time is short and the Lord will come back soon, it is better to devote oneself single-mindedly to the service of the Lord, “So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.” (1 Cor 7:38).
If a father chooses to give his daughter away, then there should be a period of engagement. The Bible speaks of “betrothal” where a couple makes a promise to marry before the actual wedding (Deut 20:7). Here, parents are involved and God’s will is sought. Engagement comes about upon proposal, when both sets of parents and children agree before wedding plans begin. There must be consensus. The engagement is not marriage and the man and the woman are not yet husband and wife. They should not be living together nor have any sexual relations with each other. Cohabitation in the days of Calvin was a criminal offence—the penalty was imprisonment for three days.
The wedding should follow soon after the engagement. Wedding invitations should be sent in the name of both sets of parents. The parents, not the wedding couple, are the ones who invite. The wedding should reflect godliness and not worldliness. The service is to be a sacred and solemn ceremony since lifelong vows will be made before God and man. This is not the time for jocularity or frivolity. The bride’s wedding gown should reflect chastity and modesty and be white in colour.
A Christian Home
Now that you are husband and wife, you are going to embark on a new journey with new experiences and challenges. You no longer walk alone or do things alone—you now have each other to think of, to consider, and like it or not, you are stuck with each other (super-stuck) for life, “till death us do part”. As Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore shall a man … cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” This cleaving speaks of an inseparable union that must last a lifetime.
How to have a happy, healthy, harmonious married life? God tells us how in Genesis 2:18 when He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” It is vital to understand what the role of man is in the family and why God made the woman for the man. Many marriages break down because people reject their God-given roles as husband and wife. There are three points for us to take note.
Husband the Leader, Wife the Helper
The husband is the leader and the wife is the helper. The best partner and helper the man can have is the woman. The woman is not man-made but God-made. Our God is perfect Maker and Matchmaker. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (Jas 1:17). Proverbs 18:22 says, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.” As such the husband should regard his wife as someone very important and very precious. She is going to help him be the spiritual leader God meant him to be.
God has conferred authority upon the man to lead. As Christ has authority over the Church, the man has authority over his wife. 1 Corinthians 11:3 says, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man … For this cause ought the woman to have power [ie authority] on her head.” 1 Timothy 2:12–13 says, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve.” When the Bible forbids a woman to teach, that does not mean she does not or cannot teach in any and every situation. We know that the Bible commands the older women to teach the younger women, and mothers are required to teach their children (Tit 2:3–5). The teaching prohibition here has to do with authoritative teaching that comes from a divinely ordained ministry given to the man by God whether it be at home or in the church (cf 1 Tim 2:7).
Husband the Provider, Wife the Homemaker
The husband is the provider and the wife the homemaker. If the man is the leader, then he must also be the provider. The head of the house must work hard to provide for his family. This is taught in 1 Timothy 5:8, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
The duty of the woman as a wife and mother is to be the homemaker. This is taught in 1 Timothy 5:14, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” Titus 2:5 calls on the young women “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
When the children come, parents should do their best to teach their children. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The father teaches, but the mother teaches even more since she is there in the house fulltime, to “guide the house” and is the “keeper at home.” Do not despise this good work of being a full-time mother and teacher at home. Proverbs 31:27–28 promises a blessing for full-time homemakers, “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”
Husband the Lover, Wife the Follower
Husband is the lover and wife the follower. Husbands are commanded to love their wives. Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” Verse 28 says, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.” Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (Gen 2:23). It is to the man’s benefit if he takes good care of his wife. The love the man must have for his wife must be total, 100%. That was how Christ loved His Church—He gave His life for her. Likewise the husband must love his wife that much—he must be willing to lay down his life for her. When a man loves his wife this way, he will keep himself from committing adultery and will not think of divorce.
Wives are commanded to submit to their husbands. Ephesians 5:22 says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” The submission entails obedience. Consider what 1 Peter 3:5–6 says, “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” The wife’s attitude towards her husband must be one of deep respect. Respect him and the decisions he will make. This does not mean the wife cannot express her thoughts and feelings, but she should let him have the final say. If a decision is not contrary to Scripture or ethics, submit to him, and let him take the lead. He is ultimately responsible and accountable to Christ. Christ is his Head and Christ will lead and guide him. She follows him because he follows Christ. This is the biblical pattern that makes for a happy marriage. JK
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