Summary: Marriage is a pre-fall institution, and it is worth fighting for!
God’s Best Plan or Ball and Chain? A Christian Theology of Marriage
January 23, 2005
I believe that there is a lot of wisdom in children; allow me to share with you the responses of some children to some marriage questions…
How do you decide who to marry?
• "You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming." Alan, age 10
How can a stranger tell if two people are married?
• "Married people usually look happy to talk to other people." Eddie, age 6
• "You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids." Derrick, age 8
What do you think your Mom and Dad have in common?
• "Both don’t want no more kids." Lori, age 8
What do most people do on a date?
• "Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough." Lynnette, age 8
• "On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date." Martin, age 10
How would the world be different if people didn’t get married?
• "There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn’t there?" Kelvin, age 8
• "You can be sure of one thing - the boys would come chasing after us just the same as they do now." Roberta, age 7
How would you make a marriage work?
• "Tell your wife that she looks pretty even if she looks like a truck." Ricky, age 10
This January we have been talking about a Christian response to issues that our society faces, and asking that God would “transform (us) into new (people) by changing the way (we) think.” (Rom 12:2, NLT). One of the real biggies in Canadian society is the issue of marriage. What is marriage? How should it be defined? Who should be allowed to get married? Why does it matter to Christians? That is the issue I want to begin today.
A Word To Singles:
But first, let me acknowledge that not all of us here today are married. Some of you are single by choice, but most of you are not. In all that follows, as I talk about God’s design for marriage, I don’t want you to feel like second-class citizens, or like your situation is somehow less significant, because you are not. In fact, I believe that God has a very high regard for people who are single, as 1 Corinthians 7 makes clear: “It is good for a man not to marry.” (vs. 1). Also, vs. 8, “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.” Even, in verse 28, “But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.” Yes, that is actually in the Bible… Paul makes his reasons clear in vs. 32-35: “An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs–how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world–how he can please his wife– and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world–how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.”
So for Paul, being single was the best option because you could devote yourself single-mindedly to pleasing the Lord. Yet Paul recognizes that as the exception rather than the rule, stating so up front in vs 2: “But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.” Which brings us to God’s plan for marriage.
God’s Design For Marriage
To see God’s design for marriage, we need to go all the way back to Genesis 2:15-25. “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."