Friday, March 30, 2012

The Bible on Divorce & Remarriage - Three

What is the proper basis of marriage?

It is important to remember that our existence is not about us. We are not the center of the universe. We did not create the universe. We do not give meaning to the universe. We are not the measure of all things.

Man was created and we have come into existence at the pleasure of God and for His purposes. In Him we live and move and have our being. God is the Creator and the ultimate purpose for everything.

(Romans 11:36) For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. 
Jesus is God in flesh and is to be the focus of everything in our lives.
(Colossians 1:15–19 NKJV) 15 ¶ He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
19 ¶ For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 
Everything we do should be done for the glory of God - that He might be exalted for Who He is and What He has done and What He will do...
(1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV) ¶ Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
(Colossians 3:17 NKJV) And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. 
The glory of God should be the basis of everything we do - and certainly the basis of our marriages and our behavior in our marriages.

Why should you get married? Why should you stay married? Why should you be a good husband or wife? Why should you keep the vows you made before God? Why should you refrain from sin and pursue righteousness? Why should you cope with difficulties and remain faithful? Why should you avoid sexual immorality?

The short answer is, "For the glory of God."

In the ancient world marriages were often arranged for financial gain (dowery & bride price) or political alliances (families and nations). Many saw the purpose of marriage as a means to having children who would help in the family business and care for their parents in their old age. Barrenness was the worst thing that could happen to someone.

In the modern world marriages are often seen as a partnership for mutual pleasure. Physical attraction, sexual satisfaction, personality, companionship, and affection are all considered as sufficient bases for marriage. Romantic love is usually related to these motivations.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with these goals for marriage, but they cannot be the basis for marriage, or the marriage will be at the mercy of these things. Affections change. Health declines. Personalities change.

But the biblical basis for marriage is still the glory of God. The biblical marriage honors God and points to God and God's kind of gracious love. The husband loves his wife like Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her... (Ephesians 5:25). The wife follows her husband's lead like the Church follows the leadership of Christ (Ephesians 5:22).

The proper basis for marriage (grounds for marriage) is important because it is fundamental to the question of divorce and remarriage. If a person gets married to have children, but then finds his spouse cannot have children, that may seem like grounds for divorce and remarriage. But in God's view this is not an adequate ground for divorce and remarriage because having children is not the right reason for marriage anyway. If a person gets married on the basis of sexual attraction, but then finds that he is bored with his spouse and finds another woman more stimulating he may think he has grounds for divorce and remarriage. But he doesn't.

The proper basis for marriage and our faithfulness to our marriages is the glory of God. The marriage vows are explicit - "For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health until we are parted by death." In every circumstance and season of life, marriage is for the glory of God. The core commitment of marriage is properly our mutual commitment to Christ Jesus. 

We are committed to our marriages because we are first of all committed to Christ. Any betrayal of our marriage is a betrayal of Christ. By being a good husband or wife we bring glory to God in Christ.

Do all to the glory of God.

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