A Great Mystery
In our day many of the most valuable things are under attack. The Word of God is denied, the gospel is decried and the Sabbath is desecrated. Marriage is also suffering at the hands of the ungodly. First there was easy divorce which was followed by widespread cohabitation. Then there were civil partnerships. Now it seems that homosexuals must be allowed to ‘marry’ in church. What an awful state of affairs!
Why is marriage so under attack from an unbelieving world? It would be safe to assume that it must be something precious to God and important to His eternal plan. And so it is, as the Bible reveals. It is worthwhile noting a few important things about marriage.
Firstly there is its origin. Marriage is not something devised by man for his own convenience, such that it can be altered by him if it suits him better. God instituted marriage in the garden of Eden before man’s fall. Having made a man He then made a woman and brought her to the man (Gen.2:22). One man and one woman. That is God’s pattern.
Secondly there is its purpose. Marriage is designed chiefly for three reasons. The obvious one is procreation, or the continuance of our race. God blessed our first parents and said to them: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Gen.1:28). The marriage union provides a loving and stable environment for the rearing of children.
The main purpose of marriage however is companionship. Before He made a woman the Lord said: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Gen.2:18). Marriage involves friendship and fellowship and the beauty of the relation is that husband and wife with their differing qualities complement and enrich one another. There is a mutual support and traditionally promises are made to this effect when a wedding takes place. A man is leaving his father and mother and cleaving to his wife: so close and intimate is the marriage bond that Scripture says they shall be “one flesh” (Gen.2:24).
Marriage is also meant to provide a holy seed for the church. When a couple marry “in the Lord” (1Cor.7:39), sharing faith in God and striving to keeping His Word, they have covenant promises from God which they are able to plead at a throne of grace as they bring up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph.6:4). God said to Abraham: “ I will...be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee” (Gen.17:7).
Finally there is its symbolism. Marriage reflects the tie between the Lord Jesus Christ and His dear people. When Paul ends his treatment of marriage in his Epistle to the Ephesians he says: “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Eph.5:31). Christ is the heavenly Bridegroom and the church is His bride. She has delightful communion with Him in the means of grace. In all her experiences, whether it be of joy and gladness or sorrow and affliction, she is aware of His love and knows that it will last forever.
No wonder then that the devil wants to destroy marriage! Let us defend this institution which God has appointed for man’s temporal benefit and by which He teaches us a wonderful spiritual truth. And if we are married let us thank the Lord daily for our partners in life.