“Marriage,” “husband,” and “wife” are terms that we hear and use on a regular basis. From where do these concepts come? They come from the God of heaven. Marriage exists because our Creator willed it to be so. Though different marital customs exist among distinct ethnic groups or societies, every culture has the practice of marriage.
Marriage is a blessing from God to mankind, and we might add, among all of God’s creation, it is a blessing in which only humans are able to participate. Marriage itself is a good thing (Proverbs 18:22), as God says, “Marriage is honorable among all . . .” (Hebrews 13:4). When it comes to marriage, there are numerous “C” words that go along with it. Let us take a look at some of those concepts.
Crisis – There is a world-wide emergency that is never highlighted by news agencies. The emergency of which I speak is a variety of crises that surround marriage. First of all, there is the crisis of ignorance – a high percentage of earth’s inhabitants have no idea what God’s will is concerning marriage. Such ignorance leads to disastrous choices. A second crisis is the reality that marriages are crashing at an alarming rate. Marriages are failing right and left, even in the Lord’s church. A third crisis that I am embarrassed to admit is that some Christians do not seem to really care what the Bible says about marriage. They have decided already what they are going to do, so they do not want you to bother them with God’s truth! Finally, there is the crisis that some who call themselves gospel preachers preach false messages about marriage and divorce, and thereby influence people to make unsafe decisions.
Creation – When some Pharisees asked Jesus if it is lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason, the Master replied, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4,5). What did Jesus do? He went all the way back to the creation of humans and what God revealed at that time about marriage (Genesis 2:23,24). How Jesus responded to the question about marriage and divorce makes it plain that marriage is not what some might call “a church ordinance.” Marriage was ordained by our Creator, but it is not the Lord’s church, nor is it part of the work of the church or under the authority of church leaders. The institution of marriage existed several thousand years before the church was established. Marriage is marriage and the church is the church. Let us not confuse those two institutions.
The Christ – A Christian cannot think about marriage without considering the Christ. After all, the relation between husband and wife is compared to the one that exists between our Lord and His bride, the church (Ephesians 5:22-33). The Christ has all authority in marriage matters: He has the final word on all questions pertaining to husbands, wives, divorce, and any other marriage-covenant matters (Matthew 28:18; Colossians 3:17). For those married persons that want to go to heaven, the Christ will be the accepted and acknowledged Ruler in their marriage.
Companionship – The prophet Malachi told the Jews of his day, “. . . the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant” (Malachi 2:14). A man’s wife is his companion, and vice versa. An animal can be a human’s companion, too, but the relationship that exists between husband and wife is the most unique bond that can exist between two humans. Husband and wife do not simply live in the same house or tent. God intends for them to be a team, with each fulfilling the needs of his or her mate. Adam needed Eve and she needed him, too (Genesis 2:18,24).
Covenant – As we just read from Malachi 2:14, beyond being companions, a wife and her husband are in a covenant relationship. They are joined or bound to one another by the God of heaven (Matthew 19:6). There is another aspect of the covenant that some do not know or else choose to disregard. Spouses are not only bound to each another, but it is also true that they are bound to God in the sense that they are under His authority in their marital activities and choices. There would be less cases of divorce if people would take their covenant/agreement more seriously. Entering a covenant is supposed to mean something, right?
Commitment – In every era of man’s history, when humans have taken vows, Jehovah has expected them to keep them (Ecclesiastes 5:4,5). Those who pledge that they will be faithful to their spouse and stay with them for the duration of their lives are duty-bound to keep their promises. When they do not live up to their commitment and decide to “quit” or “get out of” their marriage, they become unreliable, word-breakers. Humans have no right to attempt to separate or destroy that which God has joined together.
May God help us to build strong marriages in which spouses love and honor Him and one another. The Bible is God’s marriage manual. God blesses those who accept and submit to its wise instructions.
— Roger D. Campbell
TRUTH is published monthly by the Klang church of Christ in order to help educate, edify, encourage, and equip the saints of God.