I really believe that to understand divorce and remarriage, we need to start with God’s view on marriage. I appreciate Leightee’s comment asking if marriage isn’t really something created for God, not merely for us–I think it is absolutely so! First, because we know that all things were created by Him and for Him (Col. 1:16), including marriage; but also because marriage is so much more than a human relationship. Let’s look at a few Scriptures…
‘For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
Paul commands husbands to love their wives and wives to submit to their husbands…why? Because although this is a terrific mystery, the truth is that their marriages are a reflection of something more awesome: the relationship between Christ and His people! And this is not just coincidence. Nor is it a late, great idea–it’s not as if God created the first marriage, and thousands of years later realised that the marriage relationship would be a good way to describe His relationship with His people. No, the relationship between God and His people came first!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…
When were we chosen? Before the foundation of the world! Before even the events of Genesis 1, you were chosen to be a child of God, the bride of Christ, the friend of God, if you are in Him! Marriage began with Adam and Eve; your marriage to Christ was established before the world was made. So first we have to know that God created marriage between a man and a woman specifically to show us a picture of our relationship with Him in Christ.
That is huge! We have to begin by understanding that God’s original intention for marriage was that it would show to all people everywhere the nature of His relationship to His people, through the love and submission of the partners in a marriage. So when you or I are married, that marriage is designed by God to show the world around us a picture of the love He has for us, and the submission we show toward Him. How grand is that?! What an enormous calling for some, to receive that favor from the Lord!
For those of you who are married–how are you doing? Is your marriage a reflection of Christ’s love toward the church, and of our obedient response to His love? In what ways can you grow toward that purpose? And for those of us who are single–wow, do we ever need to see the gravity, beauty, and seriousness of marriage! It’s not for someone swept up in romance to stumble into lightly. When you think about a future marriage, do you realise the roles you will have? Single guys, are you becoming now the kind of men who will love their wives just as Christ loves the church? And how about growing in leadership and responsibility? And single girls–are you learning to encourage and “put yourself beneath” the spiritual authorities over you now, so that when that husband comes, you will be able to do the same for him, helping him lead actively and in the power of God? What a high calling for us both!
This is marriage, the first human relationship given by God. And since it is a gift from God, we should probably give some thought to God’s role in every marriage…that’ll be next. But for now, I pray that for our generation, marriage will come to mean so much more than it has for those before us. I pray we would show Christ by our marriages…