Summary: There never has been a generation whose view of marriage is high enough. The chasm between the biblical vision of marriage and the human vision is, and has always been, gargantuan.
Between our more substantial sermon series I am taking up a few subjects that seem to me to be urgent. Marriage is always urgent. There never has been a generation whose view of marriage is high enough. The chasm between the biblical vision of marriage and the human vision is, and has always been, gargantuan. Some cultures in history respect the importance and the permanence of marriage more than others. Some, like our own, have such low, casual, take-it-or-leave-it attitudes toward marriage as to make the biblical vision seem ludicrous to most people.
Jesus’ Vision of Marriage
That was the case in Jesus’ day as well, and ours is vastly worse. When Jesus gave a glimpse of the magnificent view of marriage that God willed for his people, the disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry” (Matthew 19:10). In other words, Christ’s vision of the meaning of marriage was so enormously different from the disciples, they could not even imagine it to be a good thing. That such a vision could be good news was simply outside their categories.
If that was the case back then with the sober, Jewish world in which they lived, how much more will the magnificence of marriage in the mind of God seem unintelligible to the world we live in, where the main idol is self, and its main doctrine is autonomy, and its central act of worship is being entertained, and its two main shrines are the television and the cinema, and its most sacred genuflection is the uninhibited act of sexual intercourse. Such a culture will find the glory of marriage in the mind of Jesus virtually unintelligible. Jesus would very likely say to us today, when he had finished opening the mystery for us, the same thing he said in his day: “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. . . . Let the one who is able to receive this receive it” (Matthew 19:11-12).
The Biblical Vision of Marriage
So I start with the assumption that our own sin and selfishness and cultural bondage makes it almost impossible to feel the wonder of God’s purpose for marriage between a man and a woman. The fact that we live in a society that can even conceive of—let alone defend—two men or two women entering a relationship and with wild inconceivability calling it marriage, shows that the collapse of our culture into debauchery and barbarism and anarchy is probably not far away.
I mention all this in the hopes that it might possibly wake you up to consider a vision of marriage higher and deeper and stronger and more glorious than anything this culture—or perhaps you yourself—ever imagined. The greatness and glory of marriage is beyond our ability to think or feel without divine revelation and without the illumining and awakening work of the Holy Spirit. The world cannot know what marriage is without learning it from God. The natural man does not have the capacities to see or receive or feel the wonder of what God has designed for marriage to be. I pray that this message might be used by God to help set you free from small, worldly, culturally contaminated, self-centered, Christ-ignoring, God-neglecting, romance-intoxicated, unbiblical views of marriage.
Marriage Is the Display of God
The most foundational thing to see from the Bible about marriage is that it is God’s doing. And the most ultimate thing to see from the Bible about marriage is that it is for God’s glory. Those are the two points I have to make. Most foundationally, marriage is the doing of God. Most ultimately, marriage is the display of God. Let’s allow the Bible to impress these things on us one at a time.
1. Marriage Is God’s Doing
First, most foundationally, marriage is God’s doing. At least four ways to see this explicitly or implicitly are here in our text.
a) Marriage Was God’s Design
Marriage is God’s doing because it was his design in the creation of man as male and female. Of course, this was plain earlier in Genesis 1:27-28, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.’”
But it is also clear here in the flow of thought in Genesis 2:18-25. In verse 18, it is God, not man, who decrees that man’s solitude is not good, and it is God himself who sets out to complete one of the central designs of creation, namely, woman and man in marriage. “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Don’t miss that central and all important statement: God himself will make a being perfectly suited for him—a wife.