(You can find Part 1 of this series, addressing marriage as a picture of the gospel, here.)
It should go without saying that marriage is God’s idea, and I often joke that the Lord was having one of his best days when he came up with it! Sadly, many in our culture see marriage as a drag, a barrier to self-fulfillment through career, self-expression, and freedom. To defend the delay or even dismissal of marriage, many argue that marriage is an outdated cultural invention that has served its purpose but now only serves to inhibit progress. In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth!
Human marriage is not the central topic of the Scriptures, but God commends marriage and ordains it for his purposes several times in the Bible. Christians would do well to note the many ways God institutes and defends the marriage relationship in Scripture. Below are a few such instances:
Marriage was created for the welfare and happiness of mankind.
“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’” (Genesis 2:18 ESV)
Marriage is honorable for all people.
“Let marriage be held in honor among all…” (Hebrews 13:4 ESV)
Marriage is not to be forbidden.
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” (1 Timothy 4:1-3 ESV)
The physical nature of the marriage relationship is not to be denied.
“The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Corinthians 7:3-5 ESV)
The physical nature of the marriage relationship is to be enjoyed.
“Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.” (Proverbs 5:18-19 ESV)
Improper physical relationships that undermine marriage are forbidden.
“…and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” (Hebrews 13:4 ESV)
Marriage is God’s thing. We should not begrudge the fact that he ordained it from the beginning. Instead, we ought to celebrate it and encourage marriage as a good gift to be enjoyed. Far from being a cultural convenience, it is a loving and thoughtful blessing from our Creator.
** I’m excited to be speaking at the ERLC national conference, which will cover this and other issues related to marriage. We would love to have you join us in Nashville Oct. 27-29. **