Marriages in Christ: The intimacy between a man and his wife is compared to the relationship between Jesus and His church! Therefore if a couple cannot realize the warm affection intended by God in their marriage, it's very doubtful either of them will find that close intimacy with God! A living faith in Christ is to be lived out at home, each one submitting to each other as intended by God and when one resists expressing this kind of sacrificial love, I seriously doubt they will experience a close warm relationship with God for God has given us the marriage relationship as an example of the relationship we should realize with Him in our everyday living. This is why the marriage is compared to Jesus and the authority He holds over the church. Take a close look at 1 Corinthians 7:4!!
1 Corinthians 7:2. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
Note in verse 5 that this marriage is under the direction of God and through prayer and fasting each can overcome their own selfishness to contribute all to this relationship. This verse also demonstrates that God wants to see a serious commitment from you (by your fasting) because you're going to need that kind of commitment invested in your marriage or Satan may come in and tempt your fleshly desires which can lead to a devastating outcome of ones marriage! God has given us a precious and wonderful beautiful bonding and faithful relationship that we can experience during our time here on earth to realize the wonderfulness of God. God wants to be the significant part in this marriage but at the same time does not interfere (without our choice) in that relationship between a man and his wife as He does not want anything to interfere in our relationship with Him! You can realize that point in the following verse where in the church the women are told to go to their own husbands for direction.
1 Corinthians 14:34. Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. 35. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.
In the following verses the marriage of a faithful home and church is compared as apples to apples!
Ephesians 5:22. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, 26. that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27. that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.'' 32. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Let us take Paul's view a little further. For the husbands will find, being a leader is not always easy. It takes a lot of patience. Consider the patience of the Lord. God had given men the leading drive for a most intimate relationship with their wives, as God is always seeking the close intimate relationship with us. As the wife does not always desire that time of intimacy nor does the Church, the wife of Christ seek His presence. Most times, in the flesh, we seek independence rather than dependency upon the Lord. Many wives also seek independence rather than dependency upon their husbands. With this kind of a heart, they feel smothered rather than comfort. In other words, God has given the man, a role similar to His for us to understand a little better the depth, not just His love but also His patience so not to smother. On the other hand God has given the wife, the role of the Church to experience this unconditional love and patience. For either sex, these roles in this life, is not always easy but very rich for those that will commit to God's plan of love and the giving up of self. Seeking self for either party is what destroys a marriage. God gave up self when He gave His Son, Jesus gave up self when He gave His life for our transgressions. The true Church gives up self when they seek and commit to the Lord. The Lord God is not asking anything more than what He has already done in providing for us both His presence and eternal life. The marriage, what a wonderful gift from God. I do not care how difficult a marriage may seem, it is mirror reflection of our relationship within the fullness of God. Consider this: In the following verse, we see that those that give up their lives to follow Christ find a very rich life in Christ but first they must give up seeking their selfish desires. Again, this is the same in a marriage. When each one gives up their selfish independent life and become committed to their marriage they will find a very rich married life. For sure the very first step in seeking marriage is an open and willing heart to commit and give one's life to another, and then seeking the Lord's help in directing you to the one that God has reserved for you.
Matthew 10:38. "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39. "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
And what is another purpose of bringing a couple together? To raise up Godly offspring!
Malachi 2:13. And this is the second thing you do: you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and crying; so He does not regard the offering anymore, nor receive it with good will from your hands. 14. Yet you say, "For what reason?'' because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. 16. "For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one's garment with violence,'' says the Lord of hosts. "Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.''
1 Peter 3:7. Likewise you husbands, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
It is no wonder why the Lord uses marriage as the comparison to our relationship with God because it is in that relationship we gain better understanding and experience some of the heartaches as well as the pleasures of God. In the marriage where one or the other will not submit to this understanding and take the marriage lightly the other must remain faithful to the Lord as Jesus remains faithful to the end! It is my belief that every divorce is the fault of the man! It may go all the way back to his choice of a wife but ultimately it lays on him. First of all, women were designed by God, to be mans helper and it is the mans responsibility to lead his wife in the ways of being that help for him. God has also placed in her heart a desire to be a significant part in her husbands life and should never be deprived of this need. Also as a helper, she is not a slave and if the husband abuses his authority over her she will ultimately turn against him. Consider this, we as a church are God's helper and God gives us that choice by our will and not forcefully. Also as God's helper we have been given the word of reconciliation and is pleading through us to others for their direction to salvation (2 Corinthians 5:19) This is a wonderful opportunity that God has given us to fill our need to be significant in His life for He has given us the responsibility to share and demonstrate the plan of the salvation of others. It is through our testimony that others will find the opportunity of direction and salvation!
Genesis 2:18. And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.''
Genesis 3:16. To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.'' Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, `You shall not eat of it': "Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. (You're in God's will when you consider your wife's opinions but you make the decisions based upon your own heart in how you've been led by God through His Spirit!)
2 Corinthians 5:19. that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.
One can clearly see that happiness in a marriage is by choice. The scriptures teach that one must render affection when desired by the other! This means that even if you are not in the mood, you have the ability and power to change your state of being into enjoyment in fulfilling this need for your mate. Think about it! God would not force you into faking love, He wants it shown from the heart! And this is done by choice as God also wants us to freely choose to meet His desire and need of being loved that is due to Him!
Review 1 Corinthians 7:3. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
One must stop and think of this marriage relationship and ponder as to why it was compared to the church. Only then will you start to realize the significance of your investment in any relationship whether it's to your wife, husband or God.
1 Peter 3:7. Likewise you husbands, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
The wife is referred to as the weaker rather than the husband being referred to as the strongest of the two indicating the both need to find strength in God! The wife being the weaker is also an example of us, the church being the weaker when compared to God and we need to find the comfort that is found in Gods strength as wives need to find the comfort found in the strengths of their husbands. Notice here that divorce is only for the unbeliever!
1 Corinthians 7:12. But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace.
Divorce is only for unbelievers because if one really believes God and has the understanding in their heart how marriage was given to us as an example of how wonderful our relationship should be with God then they could not possibly take this covenant so lightly.
1 Corinthians 7:12. But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her.
Why in this verse did Paul say "I, NOT THE LORD!" Think about it. If the Lord had given us this commandment then our relationship with our mate could be by force and not by choice! What Paul is saying if you know the Lord and have experienced this relationship with Him and bring this understanding into your marriage your response to a less than desirable marriage will be that there is always hope and you'll never give up because by your testimony of faithfulness you may be influential to your unbelieving mate as well. I used to think that to be a leader in the church, one must be able to keep his own family in order through forced obedience but now that I know my Lord, I realize how one must keep his family in order and in obedience, and that is through his own testimony of love and servitude to them as their provider. To be in leadership in the true body of Christ, one must be able to understand God's patience to us and how we come to Him by our choice and not by His tyranny. God rules by showing us the righteousness of His love and we rule our homes in exactly the same way, through our sacrificial love with patience and understanding in righteousness.
1 Timothy 3:1. This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; (we teach through our example) 3. not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4. one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5. (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6. not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 5. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 8. Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9. holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. 10. But let these also first be proved; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. 11. Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 12. Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13. For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Titus 1:5. For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you 6. if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. (how did the children learn to be faithful? Was it not through the faithfulness demonstrated by their dad!) 7. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8. but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9. holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
God hates divorce! Malachi 2:16. "For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one's garment with violence,'' says the Lord of hosts. "Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.''
I believe God will give the man the primary blame for every divorce! Take notice that when God created a woman He created her from the rib of the man and placed in her heart a desire for her husband! (Genesis 3:16) Deeply consider that it was God that placed that desire in her heart and if that desire for her husband is no longer in her heart than you have no choice but to question what happened in that relationship that quenched that loving desire that was place by God Himself. The Lord God that is the same yesterday today and forever spoke through the prophet Malachi and blamed the man and gave him this warning! ..."Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.'' When God created a woman to be a helpmate, He did not create a slave or something burdensome for the man but rather a beautiful intelligent thinking helpmate! God did not create her to be stupid, and if she has given up that God given desire for her husband you can surely bet that there is a good sound reason in her heart for that decision! There could be one argument to this and that would be when a man has truly committed his life to Christ and the wife hasn't and has no place for God in her heart. But this scenario would not be there if Christ was the center of that marriage, even from the very beginning of that relationship. A rich marriage can only be found when both, husband and wife are committed to serving the Lord in their relationship with each other.
This is very important! The marriage in a godly home is the true example and testimony to the world that God has given to us to demonstrate His love and righteousness to all! No believer can ask for a divorce and make the claim that he or she is being led by the Holy Spirit into that decision because God has given us this wonderful chance through this relationship to be an example to the world and through our influence and testimony others can be born into the family of God! Marriage is an example and testimony of our relationship within the fullness of God!
Matthew 19:6. "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.''
John 17:11. "Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.
John 17:21. "that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the (the testimony>) world may believe that You sent Me. 22. "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23. "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and (the testimony>) that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
1 Corinthians 6:16. Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For "The two,'' He says, "shall become one flesh.'' 17. But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20. For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.
The Scriptures clearly indicate that anyone including spiritual leaders that accepts divorce, as part of today's way of life does not know God because he has not experienced this marriage relationship with God himself and does not understand the significance of marriage.
1 Corinthians 6:17. ...But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
I take comfort in the understanding that God has given us through the marriage covenant and understand how He has given "all" so we could have life and find life through Him! Relationships are something we must work to maintain and have a great time doing it! Marriage in a wonderful and precious example of the free gift! Imagine the testimony to the world if the churches of today would boldly teach the true significance of marriage and when the unbelieving mate stepped out of that relationship, the world could witness the faithfulness and patience of the believer in waiting and always leaving the door open for reconciliation, the example of Christ's patience in waiting for our reconciliation with God! Imagine the saved marriages and the guilt felt if the unbeliever knew that if they left their mate that their mate would remain faithful until death! Many have been taught that it is OK to divorce their mate if they are found to be sexually unfaithful. I do not believe this to be true.
Matthew 5:31. "Furthermore it has been said, `Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' 32. "But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.
In verse 32 it says that if a man divorces his wife he causes her to commit adultery unless she is already committing adultery by being unfaithful to her husband. In other words, Jesus was not giving a loophole for divorce but pointing out that the cause of committing adultery was not placed on the husband if the wife was already committing adultery.
I think Jesus made His point very clear as recorded by Mark in Chapter 10: 6 "But from the beginning of the creation, God `made them male and female.' 7. `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8. and the two shall become one flesh'; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9. "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.'' 10. And in the house His disciples asked Him again about the same matter. 11. So He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12. "And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.''
1 Corinthians 6:13. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
1 Corinthians 6:17. But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20. For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.
1 Thessalonians 4:3. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4. that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5. not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
In the resurrection God will no longer need to use marriage as an example of our relationship with Him for at that time the selfishness of all unrighteousness will have been removed once and for all from His presence.
Matthew 22:30. "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.
Luke 20:35. "But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;
Bottom Line! The sin! Mark 10:6. "But from the beginning of the creation, God `made them male and female.' 7. `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8. and the two shall become one flesh'; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9. "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.'' 10. And in the house His disciples asked Him again about the same matter. 11. So He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12. "And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.''
The wages of this sin! 1 Corinthians 6:9. Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10. nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. Jesus said:..."Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."
I personally believe that Jesus was speaking this to His Church. Take note: "what God has joined together", God has nothing to do with the world, or it's choices in marriage. This verse is dealing with a marriage that was given with the blessings of God. I believe that "what God has joined together" is when two children of God, male and female, led by the spirit of God, made a "marriage covenant" to each other. In this marriage there is no possibility of divorce for in doing so, they have rejected both the covenant relationship they made with each other and their relationship within the fullness of God. I believe that when the world marries, without the direction of the Holy Spirit, that marriage was not under the direction of God and since they're already living a life of sin, they're already condemned, so if they get a divorce, it makes no difference. But when the world marries or remarries, and then one of them finds their relationship within the fullness of God, then I think God will sanctify that marriage and then they are bonded by the "marriage covenant" that God ordained. I strongly believe that anyone that can find justification in divorce, and remarry, has never experienced a personal relationship within the fullness of God.