How does God fill in the blank – Marriage is ________. Does it matter what God says? Isn’t his just one of many opinions? And his book, the Bible, talk about outdated – makes my great-grandparents (who spoke mostly German and are long deceased) seem hip and with it. Put ‘em up there on the Super Bowl half time stage with Eminem and Snoop Dogg.
Actually, what God says does matter. He designed marriage. He set up marriage and family – not as policy for tax purposes or for who can receive health benefits or receive inheritance payouts – he set up marriage and family as the cornerstone of society. And there is only one Biblical kind of marriage – the one man and one woman kind.
How does God fill in the blank – Marriage is ____________. Marriage is very good. For all those out there who call the Bible a misogynistic book, that is, a book that hates women, please note that God withholds the words very good (Gen. 1:31) from creation until He made the woman.
What God does here is amazing. As he institutes marriage and the family, he sets the tone for how things will be. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) Generation after generation, until the end of time, this is how it will go: boy meets girl, boy and girl leave all others, cling to one another, and weave every aspect of their lives together as one. This is how it has been, this is how it will continue to be. It’s God’s design.
God knew that sin would remove the “very good” label from marriage and from all of creation. He knew that sin would stain and strain every marriage and that husbands and wives would struggle and seek to turn away from one another. But he kept his plan in place: one man, one woman, lifelong, the foundation of the home, of society, of the world.
God knew about Lamech who would be the first to take more than one wife at the same time, creating polygamy. He knew about the men of Sodom, who probably didn’t invent homosexuality, but certainly made it famous, permanently naming these unnatural relations: “sodomy.” He knew about the Samaritan woman with whom Jesus chats, the one who made her way through five husbands and then decided to defile marriage by shacking up with her latest boyfriend. He knew about the Pharisees who would make use of Moses’ so-called “permission” to hand out certificates of divorce for any and every reason, thus more easily breaking apart what God joined together until death.
God knew all of this, and he knows the sins that strain marriages today, even yours if you are currently married. He didn’t just wring his hands and moan, “What have I done?” He continued with his plan – set in place before creation – to see evil undone. Generation after generation, the one flesh behavior of marriage produced children until the One child was born who would undo what Adam/Eve/we have done, the One who makes imperfect, unholy people holy through his perfect life and innocent suffering and death. Ironically, he/Jesus arrived outside of marriage, in a virgin birth, without an earthly father. Had to, in order to be without sin.
Our Savior provides forgiveness, life and renewal each day. These provide renewal for Christian marriage and enable husbands and wives to continue to follow God’s template for life together as one: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
Whatever your current status: married or unmarried, or looking to be married one day, may we say with an awestruck Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration, “Lord, it is good for us to be here! It is good for me to be where I am!” And may we continue to ignore Satan and society’s twisting of a wonderful blessing and declare with the Lord God who designed it – Marriage is very good!
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand