In this series we will be looking at some of the basic principles of what makes marriage important from the Christian’s perspective. I will simply be considering some of the ancient wisdom that has stood the test of time and is found in the Biblical texts.
Marriage is for reflecting
The words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5 are often quoted, sometimes out of context, by way of instruction as to how a marriage should operate. However, frequently the overarching point of what Paul is conveying is missed.
‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church. — Eph 5:31-32
Marriage is designed to be an illustration reflecting our union with God. Indeed, as we read many of the Old Testament prophets we see references to God’s people as an “unfaithful wife” or an “adulterous” people. This was not a concept that was introduced by the Apostle Paul.
Paul says that wives should submit to their husbands showing how we all, as the church, submit to God. Husbands are commanded to love their wives in the same way that Christ loves the church. Stop and think about that for a moment…
– How does Christ love us? How does the He express His kindness to the church?
– How do we respond to Him?
When we look at a marriage it should shout out loud to us, “THIS is how you are united with Christ!”
The marriage covenant is a life-long exclusive union between a man and a woman. This tells us that the relationship between us and God is legal. It is not dependent on us keeping our side of the agreement; God’s love is sure.
As we consider the other purposes of marriage we understand that it is a life-long connection. God has no beginning and no end so there is no end to His love for us. He is our provider and protector, shaping our character so that we become more like Christ.
As humans we are far from perfect and we do not always successfully live the way that God intended. Relationships break down and marriages fail to be the reflection they were designed to be, so God permitted divorce in some circumstances. But it wasn’t His first choice, it’s not what He wanted. This then is the reason that God hates divorce; marriage breakdown is a defacing of the image He gave us for understanding our union with Him.
Marriage is given for reflecting the relationship between Jesus Christ and the church. For those of us that are married this leaves us with a very great challenge: Am I accurately reflecting this relationship in my marriage?