In my previous post I mentioned some of societal factors hampering good marriages. I mentioned that we needed to get with God’s plan for marriage. Jesus spoke about God’s intentions for marriage in Mark 10:1-12.
Jesus reminded the religious leaders of the day that marriage was God’s plan from the very beginning by referring to Genesis 1.
In V6-8 Jesus said, “at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one.”
Marriage is a creational ordinance. Marriage was not invented, discovered, enacted by law or forced on people by the church. God knew for humans to be happy and healthy and enjoy God’s good world, marriage is what’s needed, not cohabitation, civil partnerships or multiple-partners. Because marriage is a creation ordinance it is good for all people, nut just Christians.
We live in a world with a high divorce rate, many children born out of wedlock, teenage pregnancy, marital unfaithfulness and premarital promiscuity. People are still getting married, but they are getting married later, less frequently, more hesitantly and less successfully. A prenup contract is the norm, as often we expect divorce. A large number of people, Christians and non-Christians, are realising that there is something seriously wrong.
We know that we live in a fallen world and sin pervades every aspect of our society, including our relationships and marriages. Here are some ways, I think, sin has affected society and caused the failure of many marriages*:
This weekend a couple in our church who’ve been married forty-one years renewed their marriage vows. The reason was two-fold: forty-one years ago they were married in court and on top of that they were both not Christians. Today she has been converted for many years and has prayed faithfully for her husband. A few months ago he too entered Jesus’ Kingdom.
So they renewed their vows in front of the church and we were all very encouraged. In fact, I think this was the first wedding ceremony that I’ve officiated that I can say that the couple knew exactly what they were doing! The wedding couple have a disabled son and have been through their fair share of hard times. For them to promise to love and care for each other “in prosperity and distress” and “in sickness and in health” was especially meaningful.
We were reminded that the Bible says that marriage is a present, a promise and a picture.
A present: Marriage is a present from God for our joy and good. Marriage is not a human idea created by a theological symposium or brainstorming workshop. Therefore we cannot change or alter it, but must respect and treasure it.
A promise: In our version of the marriage ceremony the couples say “I will”, not “I do” because they are making promises for the future, not simply stating what may be true at the preset.
A picture: Ultimately marriage is a picture of Jesus relationship with his people. Jesus is the best bridegroom who sacrifices all for his bride, the church. The reunion in the future in the new heavens and new earth between Jesus and his people is often referred to as a wedding banquet in the bible.