Marriage Faithfulness and Faith
Hebrews 13: 4 "Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge."
When God created man and woman, He created them to share life with Him and with each other. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, says the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Man became a living soul when God breathed into Adam the breath of life. God created man in His own image. God presented man all that had been created for man to steward/manage. God saw that man, Adam, did not need to be alone. God created woman, Eve, from the man so that the two would become one flesh. Because of this act in creation, “…a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) Because of this act of God, the man and his wife “…were both naked and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:25)
With the exception of the salvation experience, marriage is the most momentous of life events for a man and a woman. Marriage forms a bond of intimacy that either sweetens or embitters each other’s existence. In marriage, the two experience circumstances and consequences that reach to endless ages, especially when children are brought into the world in the bond. As Christians, we hold in high esteem and count most precious the value of marriage and the God given directives concerning marriage.
The Genesis admonition of a man leaving parents to be joined to his wife is repeated in Paul’s writing regarding the relationship of husband and wife in Ephesians 5. His conclusion to the honor of marriage is that a husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and a wife is to respect her husband. However, let’s go to the Christian source of wisdom and truth—Jesus said, “Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6) Marriage is held in honor because God Himself officiated and confirmed the first marriage. One has written, “God’s crowning creative act was the making of woman. At the close of each creative day it is formally recorded that ‘God saw what He had made, that it was good.’ But when Adam was made, it is explicitly recorded that ‘God saw it was not good that the man should be alone.’ As to man the creative work lacked completeness, until as all animals and even plants had their mates, there should be found for Adam… his counterpart and companion. Not till this want was met did God see the work of the last creative day also to be good.” The body of a man and a woman are found to be complementary in that they fit together body, soul, and spirit. The relationship reflect the character of God—justice and mercy; strength and beauty; initiation and response.
In the Greco-Roman society of the day in which our text is penned, male sexual immorality was rampant—prostitution, pedophilia, homosexual, and female slaves were common practices until a man was old enough for marriage.This This remains true today, not just for men but also for women as well, and not just before marriage for even some in marriage who do not know Jesus pursue unfaithful, immoral lives.
As Christians we hold to the truth that the marriage bed is to be undefiled. Physical intimacy is a right need that can be met in a wrong way. Marriage is the God ordained context in which that intimacy can be met—a life-long relationship full of joy and love. The purity and holiness of two made one is physical, emotional, psychological, and social. God made man’s very nature for the love of a spouse and a family. Yet, there are some, according to Jesus and the apostle Paul who are not to marry. Jesus said there are eunuchs who are born that way or made to be eunuchs by men or who are eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:11-12). Paul , in his marriage advice column to Corinthian believers (I Corinthians 7) also says there are those, men and women, committed to the kingdom of God and who do not and should not marry.
The marriage bed is to be unstained by moral impurity, uncleanness and defilement. This rules out premarital sex, adultery, and abnormal sex. The great tragedy of sexual sin is that it affects the lives of others: the Illicit partner(s), parents of both involved in the act, and it can also affect children, brothers, sisters, grandparents, friends, and neighbors. What does immorality cause? Immorality can result in the of loss of innocence, broken homes, damaged minds, destroyed lives in transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, abortion, and guilt. Trust is weakened. Guilt leads to physical, emotional, as well as the spiritual pain.
How is one personally affected by sexual immorality? 1) Sexual immorality lowers the person who is immoral to the level of an animal. Ignoring the spirit, sexual immorality declares life to be lived on the level of passion and instinct. 2) Sexual immorality causes one to see the other person as an instrument, a tool to satisfy urges and passions ignoring the peace of heart and mind for themselves and the other involved—“Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.” (I Corinthians 6:18) This is the harm of pornography. Pornography develops mental images that are not carried out in real life and therefore builds walls that separate us from reality. When reality does not live up to fantasy, there is conflict, hurt, shame, remorse, and for some, the search for the fantasy fulfilled--a search that will be found to be never ending according to many that I have counseled. 3) Sexual immorality corrupts the temple of God—“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (I Corinthians 6:19-20) Don’t join your body to a passing pleasure. How painful it is to see those who, even when married, relapse into immorality. There are those for whom adulterous living is a way of life. Marriage is designed to prevent immorality. I Corinthians 7:2
Note the eternal consequences of the immoral life, “…do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (I Corinthians 6:9-10). There is hope for those who will miss heaven because of these sins…and it is found in the believer nearest you in the room—“And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” (I Corinthians 6:11)
Our invitation today is simple. Are you committed to be a Godly man/Godly woman in the relationship that God has given you? If you are single, are you the Godly man or woman that gives testimony to commitment to Christ that puts off all things immoral and puts on all things holy? Give your lives to the living Lord… Commit to mentoring others to walk in commitment to Christ and His moral standards. Don’t grab a sign to march against--but rather volunteer to grab lives away from pain, misery, and hell and by pointing them to Jesus, point them to life.