I am excited to be able to teach the PUP (Precept upon Precept) Bible study, Marriage without Regrets. We met 2 weeks ago and began filling out the first lesson. After a 2 week pause for our Missions Conference, we will meet tonight to discuss lesson 1. We have a great class of people who want to learn how to serve God with their marriages. God has blessed us so far and we pray for his blessings to continue as we diligently study His Word and seek to apply what He teaches us.
In order to think through the first lesson, I would like to write an article on it, to be able to share with you as well. I pray that it will be a helpful tool for you, so that you can draw nearer to God. Marriage is a pretty important theme in the Bible. In fact, the Bible begins with a marriage in paradise. God takes Israel as His wife in order to bring about the birth of the Messiah, Jesus. The church is birthed as Christ’s bride, who is urged to keep herself pure as she patiently awaits the return of her groom, Jesus. The Bible then closes with another wedding in paradise. God has much to teach about marriage and we have much to learn. I am excited to be able to learn together.
I. In The Beginning
Human history begins with God and the very first thing that He does after creating man and woman is bring them together in marriage. Marriage is God’s idea. It is a holy institution, not a secular one. The State did not invent marriage. According to Genesis 1, God is the author of marriage. God created two distinct beings when He created mankind. He created male and female. From the way that they were created, God intended from the very beginning for the man and woman to come together as one flesh. As a married couple, the idea was that they would work together to be an earthly representation of their heavenly Father. By their character, attitude, and actions, they were to reflect who God was, and all of this was in the context of marriage. The first command that they are given as a married couple in Genesis 1 was “be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth”. God intended the sexual relationship to be experienced within the bonds of marriage. Marriage, from the very beginning and up until this very day, was and is to be between one man and one woman. After God had created male and female, with their similarities and differences, He looked at them and said “it is very good”. Marriage, when done God’s way, is very good. When not done God’s way, it can become very bad. Also, notice that man and woman were both created according to the image and likeness of God. Therefore, in marriage, there is equality between the husband and wife. One is not superior and the other inferior. They are not to fight with each other to prove who is superior. They are actually to work together, as a team, to subdue the earth and rule over it.
II. The First Marriage
In Genesis 2, God gives a more detailed account of the creation of mankind. He created the male first. The man was placed in the Garden to cultivate it. He was alone and all was well with him. God was the One who realized that it was not good for the man to be alone. He planned to make a suitable helper for the man. God put the man to sleep and took one of the man’s ribs and fashioned it into the woman. The man’s suitable helper was not to be an animal. After fashioning the woman, God brought her to the man. When the man saw her, he rejoiced at the gift which God had given to him. They met and were married. There is a very specific order mentioned in Genesis 2. Man leaves his father and mother, he then cleaves to his wife, and then the two become one flesh. They are married first and then they are able to experience the joy of the sexual relationship. As a married couple, there was nothing to hide from other. They were open in everything. There was nothing to be ashamed of in their relationship. They were honest and sincere with each other. The relationship between husband and wife is now the number one relationship in their lives, even more important than the parent/child relationship. Also, there is a distinction made between the roles or functions in the marriage. The man is clearly the initiator or leader in the relationship and the woman is the responder or helper. This does not change the fact that husband and wife are equal in the eyes of the Lord. They just have different functions within the bonds of marriage. How does this work itself out in marriage day to day?
III. Married Life
There are some passages in the New Testament that will teach us how we are to live our daily lives in the marriage covenant. Let’s look at II Corinthians 11 and I Peter 3. As we saw in the previous section, there is a distinct order of roles. Remember, this does not change the equality factor, just their functions. God uses His relationship to Christ. They are equal in position yet they have different roles. God is the Head of Christ, event though they are equal and One. Christ is the head of man and then the husband is the head of his wife. Just like in Genesis 2, the man is the initiator/leader while the woman is the responder/suitable helper. As a husband, the man is to be the glory of God. The word “glory” means “to give a correct opinion of” similar to “the image of God” in the first section. The husband is to live with his wife in such a way that he manifests the character of God. The wife is to be the glory of her husband which means that she is to live with her husband is such a way that she gives a correct opinion of who her husband is. When the two work together, they give an example to the world around them of who God is and how He is active in their marriage. In I Peter, there are some specific commands of how they are to live with each other in marriage. Husbands are commanded to live with their wives in an understanding way, since she is a weaker vessel and a fellow heir of the grace of God. If the husband is not living with his wife in an understanding way, his relationship with God will be hindered. You cannot have a good relationship with God and a bad one with your spouse. The two are interconnected. For both the husband and the wife, they are to be:
harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit with each other.
All of us want peace and harmony with each other. Nobody wants his or her home to be a war zone. In order to live in peace and harmony, we must be sympathetic to each need that our spouse has. We must be kind to each other and humble, seeking to meet the needs of our spouse over our own. Do not return an insult with an insult, even though you will be insulted from time to time during the daily grind of marriage. Instead, even when insulted, return an insult with a blessing. If you both will do this, then you will greatly reduce the fights and misunderstandings that come up from time to time.
God wants to bless you with a marriage without regrets. Are you ready to receive His blessing? Are you willing to do things His way so that you can have an awesome marriage, a marriage that glorifies God on a daily basis? May God bless you to fulfill your role in marriage so that God will be glorified and you will be satisfied in the godly gift of marriage.