Lessons in Discipleship(22) دروس في التلمذة

Table of Contents

LID#22 – The Basis of Marriage

          This is Dr. Ed Hoskins welcoming you to Lessons in Discipleship, a series designed to help new believers become established in their Christian faith.  Today’s lesson is The Basis of Marriage.  First, let me tell you a little about myself.  I am a retired physician who spent 34 years in family medicine and student health.  I became a Christian 50 years ago and was helped early in my faith by the Navigators, an international, non-denominational Christian organization whose stated goal is To Know Christ and to Make Him Known.  I have been on associate staff with that organization since 1980.  Lessons in Discipleship is a compilation of what I learned from the Bible and from the Navigators during that time.  What I learned then I now pass on to you.  Today’s session is The Basis of Marriage.

The origin of marriage is with God.  In the first chapter of the Bible it says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:1-2)

On days One through Five, God created the earth, light, water, sky, land, vegetation, fruit trees, sun, moon, stars, birds, sea and land creatures.  On day Six, God created mankind and placed them in the Garden of Eden to care for it.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

On day Seven, God rested from his work and proclaimed it a perpetual day of rest.  From Genesis chapter 2 we know that God’s initial creation was perfect.  It goes on to say: “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree of 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.’” (Genesis 2:16-17)

In that second chapter it also says that God created woman.  “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.’” (Genesis 2:18)  “So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.  Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.” (Genesis 2:21-22)

Incidentally, this was the first marriage.  The Bible also states, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.  The man and his wife were both naked and they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:24-25)

But now we do see a problem – the fall of mankind into a life of sin.  In chapter 3 Satan questioned God’s words.  “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made.  He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” (Genesis 3:1)  This was mankind’s first sin – choosing to follow Satan.  “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.  She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.  Then the eyes of them both were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Genesis 3:6-7)

But that wasn’t the end.  God pursued Adam.  “But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’  He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’” (Genesis 3:9-10)

Because of all of this, Satan was cursed by God.  “So the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals!  You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.’” (Genesis 3:14)  This was also the beginning of God’s promise of a coming Messiah, the Anointed One, who would be a descendant of Adam.  We see this in the next verse, “And I will put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.’” (Genesis 3:15)

Because of their sin, Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden.  “To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, “You must not eat of it,” cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.’” (Genesis 3:17-19)

Later, discussing marriage and divorce with religious leaders, Jesus quoted from this Genesis passage.  “Some Pharisees came to him (Jesus) to test him.  They asked him, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?’ ‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” and said “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?”  So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.’” (Matthew 19:3-6)

Let’s keep going.  Marriage is therefore a unique picture of Christ and the church.  The apostle Paul writes, “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:23-24)

In the last book of the Bible it says, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:9)

Incidentally, regarding relative importance in marriage, the Bible also says “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (I Corinthians 11:3)  Now Christ is not less important than God, but equal to him.  In the same way, the husband and wife are in the same category.  Both are equally important.  The fact that one is the head does not mean that one of them is any more important than the other.

Here are some instructions of Christ for wives based on the church being the bride of Christ.  “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:22-24)

What about husbands?  Husbands also have a responsibility.  “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing of water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)

Here are a few additional instructions based on Christ and the church.

“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” (Colossians 3:18-19)

“This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church.  However, each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:32-33)

Here are a few final thoughts.  In the Christian marriage relationship, the wife must submit to the husband.  To the husband belongs the final responsibility for decision making.  But God will hold him accountable to make fair and reasonable decisions.  I always like to think of this as the following: “When two people ride on a horse, someone has to ride in front.”  Yes, it is the husband’s job to make final decisions.  However, he must always make those decisions before God with his wife’s best interest at heart, loving her as Christ loved the church.  The wife, in return, has a different responsibility – to respect her husband.

Here is an interesting command for husbands.  “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (I Peter 3:7)  If I, as a husband, have not been considerate of my wife’s interests, this is going to hinder my spiritual life – specifically regarding prayer.

Let’s summarize what we’ve learned in this brief presentation.

First, marriage is a lifelong relationship designed by God and involving one man and one woman.

Second, marriage is a picture of Christ and the church.  As a supplemental note here, divorce for Christians is not an option to be entertained.  Just because life situations change or things become difficult, marriage vows were made before God and are binding until the death of one partner.

Third, functionally, God has assigned the role of leadership in marriage to the husband.  This leadership does not mean dictatorship.

Fourth, the wife’s role is to support, respect, and encourage the husband while giving input.  But once a decision on any matter is made, the wife’s responsibility is to wholeheartedly support the husband’s decision as having come from God.

Fifth, husbands also have a responsibility to love, encourage and build up the wife as well as to considerately listen to her input.  The husband also must value the wife even above himself.

Sixth, marriage is characterized by mutual love and respect.  There is never any place in marriage for intimidation, coercion, or emotional or physical violence and abuse.

Here are a few additional thoughts in summary of marriage.

Children are a natural God-given part of marriage, but they are not essential to the marriage.  Not all married couples can have children.  Even without children, it is still a marriage relationship.

The sexual relationship was designed by God and limited only to marriage.  Their physical relationship is confined to that husband and wife.

The entire marriage relationship is a great mystery.  But in some way, marriage foreshadows the eternal relationship of Christ and the church in an unknown way.

There is a unique God-designed contribution to marriage that requires both male and female aspects.  Both are essential and important in marriage.

The marriage relationship ends with the death of either spouse.

Well, we will see you next time when we cover lesson 23 of Lessons in Discipleship when our topic will be Parenting and Child Discipline.  That wraps up today’s presentation.  Thanks for being a part.  Until next time, keep following Jesus.  He’s worth it!

Leave a Comment