(Sermon Notes) By Warren Zehrung 12/19/2020
One of the greatest blessings from God in this life is a happy marriage. God instituted the marriage covenant between a man and a woman. Marriage is one of the ways that God has chosen to reveal Himself to us. God has created us to become like He is.
Everybody is familiar with the verse, “We are created in God’s image.” But the truth of the matter is that we are not yet in God’s image. We are becoming, and we are to be growing towards, being in the image of God.
There is no greater joy and fulfillment than that to be found within good Christian marriages. God, is allowing us to be a part of His fantastic creation process, by bringing children into the world. They too, will eventually become His eternal sons and daughters.
The picture of a very, very good Marriage—one made in heaven—gives us a slight glimpse of what it will be like to dwell with God for all eternity. This is where marriages in Church of God differ from those of the world.
A God-centered life is an absolute requirement, in order for a Christian marriage to exist. For a Christian marriage to exist, God’s Spirit must be present. It is not possible for worldly marriages to reach the spiritual level of a God-plane marriage.
Our God is a covenant God, and I might add, a faithful covenant God. Marriage is the foundation of our society. Satan is at work everywhere, media movies, news, destroying the concept of marriage. How many people have accepted Satan’s premise that single parent homes are just fine? That will be the single greatest factor in the down-fall of our country.
When God made Adam, He knew that there was no one to help him, and no one to be his mate. Adam needed someone to complement him physically, emotionally, psychologically, and especially, spiritually.
Genesis 2:18 The Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an helper, comparable to him.
Then God created Eve, a counterpart for Adam. Together, the man and woman were complete. They were the first human family. It is God’s intention that a husband and wife together, reach the very pinnacle of love and unity.
In a Godly marriage, between two called-out and converted Christians, there exists a covenant, not only between the man and his wife, but also with God. The man vows to God and his wife, while the wife vows to God and her husband. Marriage then, is a most serious covenant! For this reason, a marriage between two of God’s people rises to the level of a God-plane relationship.
It is God’s intent that the duration of Christian marriages – is for life. That is why we say, “Till death do us part.”
Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
That means that they are inseparably knit and woven together. God hates divorce! Before a converted Christian man divorces his wife, he should humbly repent before God; He should beg his wife’s forgiveness for his transgressions in order to save his marriage.
He should humbly beg God as King David did in Psalm 51, “Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.”
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right Spirit within me.
Psalm 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Psalm 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
Psalm 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Is a divorce and remarriage ever permissible by Jesus Christ? Is remarriage ever an option for a true Christian who is divorced? These are difficult questions, but we need to understand God’s word on these matters. Jesus spoke on the subject of divorce:
Matthew 5:31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away [divorce] his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
Matthew 5:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of [porneia], causes her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.
So we see right there, in these verses, that ‘putting away’ is divorce. Within the Church of God, we have had difficulty in coming to grasp the full intent of the Scriptures with regard to marriage, separation, divorce and remarriage. It is difficult because in one case, a converted person may remarry, and on the other hand remarriage is forbidden, because the marriage is still bound.
We do know what Jesus Christ meant. Though marriage is a physical union, it is a divine institution, [Title] established by God at creation. What does it mean to be bound in a covenant relationship?
When a man and a woman come together as husband and wife, a sacred covenant is established. A covenant is a binding compact or promise; It is a formal sealed agreement, or a contract that binds the parties until the death of one of the parties.
It is a great travesty when a marriage covenant is broken. There are ramifications that go throughout the life of all of the parties involved, especially when there are children. Jesus explained that the marriage covenant was to be kept sacred and unbroken because it is something very precious.
Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto Him, tempting Him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
That was a perfect set-up for Jesus Christ to teach the Word of God. The Pharisees were asking Jesus Christ if you can put your wife away for any old reason at all.
Matthew 19:4 And He [Jesus] answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
Matthew 19:5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain [two] shall be one flesh?
That is a covenant-bound marriage.
Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Let not man grant a divorce decree is what this verse is saying.
Matthew 19:7 They said unto [Jesus], Why then did Moses command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
The Pharisees thought that they had Jesus Christ over the barrel.
Matthew 19:8 He [Jesus] said unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts allowed you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for [porneia], and shall marry another, commits adultery: and whoso marries her which is put away [divorced] doth commit adultery.
We need to ask ourselves the question to define these terms, what is it that rises to the level of fornication, or porneia? Near the end of his life, Herbert W. Armstrong came to understand a broad meaning of “porneia.”
For most of his life, he had believed ‘porneia’ to pertain solely to pre-marital fraud. He came to understand that porneia also comprised sexual transgressions within marriage; including, but not narrowly limited to, adultery, sexual immorality, homosexuality, perversion, prostitution, incest, or any sexually deviant behavior. He realized that sexual transgression violated the marriage covenant, and was cause for scriptural divorce.
That is what Jesus meant by, “Except for porneia.” (Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9) It became clear to Mr. Armstrong that the actions and mind-set of the transgressor showed that there was no intent to really be married, or keep the marriage covenant.
Matthew 19:10 His disciples say unto Him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
In other words, “Man you could really get yourself into a jam really quick getting married. Maybe it is better to stay single.”
Matthew 19:11 But [Jesus] said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
There is a difference between the mind of those in the world, and the converted mind. The reality of life all around the world is that people have human nature, and even in God’s church we have human nature with which to contend.
Brethren, when we have the failure of one or both partners to live up to the expectation of their marriage covenant, it could result in divorce. What do the scriptures say about divorce?
Malachi 2:16 “For the LORD, the God of Israel, says that He hates putting away [divorce].”
God hates divorce. God created marriage, and it is the natural state of man and woman. Converted Christians, who are led by God’s Holy Spirit, are held to the highest standard by God.
The purpose of a Godly marriage is, first of all, for each partner to help complete the spiritual development of their spouse. The purpose of a Godly marriage is to help develop Godly character within their spouse.
Each mate’s spiritual responsibility, their solemn duty within the marriage relationship, is to help and enable their partner. They have all of their lives together to achieve their full spiritual potential.
It takes work, and it takes prayer to help a spouse grow in Godly character to the highest degree attainable. Marriage is symbolically a type of the prophetic covenant relationship of Jesus Christ and the Church of God. Marriage among God’s people reflects the exact picture of Jesus Christ, and His loving relationship with the Church (Ephesians 5:32).
Jesus Christ died for the whole world. He gave His all. Jesus Christ died for the Church – and that is being applied to us right now. The world must wait for the second-resurrection. In marriage, we too lay our lives down for one another. In so doing, each spouse will ultimately arrive at the high place God has prepared for them.
Marriage is a close, intimate, nothing-held-back, personal relationship, where each spouse is willing to sacrifice themselves in Godly love for the other.
God is going to use the “good” marriages of today as beautiful examples to all the young citizens of the World Tomorrow. Good marriages are very hard to find. When you search the Scriptures, you will find very few exemplary marriages.
It is God’s intention, and with His help, that wonderful marriages are absolutely possible at this time. But, again, it takes sacrificing, it takes prayer and fasting.
Our marriages should be all that they can be. One of the greatest blessings from God in this life is a happy marriage.
If we can picture in our minds, the most beautiful marriage of serving, happiness, creativity, and happy children who honor their parents, then we can picture God bringing sons and daughters to glory in the resurrection (Hebrews 2:10).
Sadly, very few marriages reach the level of marital harmony that God has intended. Too many marriages are plagued with anger, resentment, hurt and unfortunately, infidelity.
As with all things, God has given us instructions on how to have a happy and successful marriage. In today’s chaotic world, the sanctity of marriage is all but lost. Brethren, keep in mind that God’s view of marriage is entirely different from what you would find on TV, in the movies, and social media.
God designed marriage for the purpose of bringing many sons and daughters to glory, and He has given man an integral part in the creation process. When a man and woman come together, and they bring about a little baby, that baby’s ultimate potential is to become a Child of God; ultimately born into the Kingdom and God, and resurrected for all eternity.
There are two categories of people being spoken of here; There are the unmarried people in God’s church; And there are those who have lost their mate.
1Corinthians 7:8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.
Paul was unmarried and he was saying it is difficult to be a Christian. It would be good if the unmarried and widows could also set a high standard, remain unmarried and serve the Lord continuously.
1Corinthians 7:9 But if they cannot contain, [i.e., that is maintain restraint, and keep themselves in check] let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
That word ‘contain’ has to do with restraint on one’s emotions and affections that need to be kept in check. This word ‘burn’ is pretty strong, and it means to be inflamed with inordinate desire. That is not God’s intention.
1Corinthians 7:10 And unto the [converted] married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
Paul is saying that Jesus taught this standard. What Paul is saying here in verse 10, is that when God called both partners into the church, and they came into God’s Church already married, their baptismal vows ratified their marriage vow, thus making them fully accountable to God. Vows made with God should never be broken.
What Paul is saying here in verse 10, is that converted people have a marriage covenant, and that Godly vow is not to be broken.
They are “bound” to remain that way. They have a marriage covenant unto death. Under no circumstances is a converted man who is married to a converted woman, ever allowed to “put away his wife” and re-marry. It is totally out of the question according to God’s law.
For converted brethren, – – marriage is for life. We need to remember that those who are converted are being judged now (1Peter 4:17).
1Corinthians 7:11 But and if she depart, [the reasons would have to be extremely serious] let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
This verse tells us that Converted brethren are allowed to SEPARATE, but are never allowed to DIVORCE.
Paul is saying that between converted married couples, there could be a problem that is so horrendous, and so impossible to deal with, that they would not be able to stay under the same roof.
God allows for the person who is being abused to move out. It is not right, and there must be some terrible sin involved, but the point is that, neither one of them, is allowed to remarry. They cannot have a divorce.
We have covered married, unmarried, widows, and now Paul says:
1Corinthians 7:12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord…
Who are the rest? We saw unmarried, widowed, and married, but what other category is there? Paul is speaking to those converted Christians who have an unconverted spouse, and they constitute a unique category. Prior to this, God has not addressed this anywhere in Scripture, and it needs to be set forth.
1Corinthians 7:12 But to the rest [those with an unconverted mate] speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believes not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
Paul is speaking to the converted brethren in the Church of God about marriage.
When Paul says, “a brother” or “a sister,” he is speaking of converted brethren in God’s Church—as distinguished from those in the world who are unconverted.
(Repeat 1Corinthians 7:12) But to the rest [those with an unconverted mate] speak I, not the Lord: If any brother has a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
So we have a situation here in Corinth, and we have this situation all over the world today, where when a married man has an unconverted wife.
The converted Christian man in the Church is not allowed to divorce his wife, even though she is not in the Church, and she is not converted. That is how sacred the marriage covenant is.
Converted people must do everything humanly and spiritually possibly to build a Godly relationship within their covenant marriage. They have a covenant marriage, and their covenant is to each other. The converted mate has a covenant with God that is not to be broken.
If a converted person were to decide to divorce a non-believer who was pleased to dwell, that converted mate would not be free to remarry, because the marriage would remain bound by God.
We are not talking about infidelity, or any kind of abuse here. The unconverted woman (in this case) agrees to stay in the marriage to her converted husband. We would all agree, “We’ve seen some pretty good marriages in the world.”
God says that you do not dissolve a marriage like that. God is clear in His instructions to us: A Converted person is not permitted to marry an unconverted person. Christians are to marry “Only in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39).
1Corinthians 7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
When we see that phrase ‘that believeth not,’ (1 Corinthians 7:12-13) that is not saying that a believer is ever permitted to marry an unbeliever.
This situation arises only when one or the other became a converted believer AFTER they were married.
There is no divorce allowed by God for two converted people, or in this case one who is converted and one who is not converted when she is pleased to dwell with him.
God makes no provision for a converted person to divorce. A converted person is not allowed to initiate or precipitate a divorce. Quite the contrary, a converted person will do everything possible to make their marriage a wonderful relationship, and a Godly marriage.
God has not addressed this situation in the scriptures, but Paul is facing the problem and must give an answer according to God’s word. Paul says in:
1Corinthians 7:40 …after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.
Paul is saying, “I know the scriptures – and I am led by God’s Holy Spirit.” And he is not bragging here, he is just saying that he is in a position to relate to us what God has said about this situation of divorce and remarriage.
1Corinthians 7:13 And the [converted] woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
It works the same way for the wife and husband. So Paul is saying it both ways here so that there can be no question.
Why? First of all, the marriage covenant has been ratified when two people are married, at least on the part of the converted believer. When a person goes into the watery grave at baptism and says, “God, I will put your Way first,” that also ratifies his marriage covenant. He is also agreeing to remain faithful to his mate.
At our baptismal vow we make God a party to all of our contracts, vows and covenants. We then, after baptism, for the rest of our lives, represent God in all our dealings. God is very involved in this situation – He may be calling the unconverted through the converted mate’s actions.
1Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
We are talking about a situation where there is a believing spouse who is married to an unconverted mate. For example:
A believing wife [converted] goes to church and keeps the commandments, because she has been baptized and received God’s Holy Spirit. She is married to a heathen.
The unbelieving husband is sanctified and set apart, and he may even be being called [John 6:44] by God through his mate’s demeanor, her actions, her life, her sacrifices, etc. This also goes for the unbelieving wife; she is sanctified by her converted husband. By the way that he acts, by the way that he treats her, and by the way that he reacts and deals with his family and those in the world.
Also the children are holy, they do not need a special individual calling by God as their parents received, they understand and accept the holy things of God THROUGH their parents. We are “in God’s stead” when the children are small and they are malleable, and they look up to us.
We can say that God sent the rain, and the little child looks up toward the heavens and he thanks God. Our children are holy if just one of the parents knows God, speaks of God, and tells them about God. It is not something that is automatic. If God is never mentioned in the home, then we are denying our children, and they are not going to be holy as God intends them to be.
Here is God’s instruction when an unconverted person departs the marriage:
1Corinthians 7:15 “But if the unbelieving [mate] departs, let him depart. A brother or a sister [converted person] is not under bondage [bound or enslaved] in such cases: but God has called us to peace.”
Let us understand this. If the unbelieving person in a marriage, where there is one converted and one not converted, breaks the covenant relationship, finds somebody else, or behaves inappropriately, if they seek the divorce let him depart. That covenant has been broken by the unconverted mate who ran away. So the converted man or woman left in half a relationship, is not under bondage.
But, it should go without saying that there is no way the converted person can make life hard, run their mate off and say, “See? They left!” God will hold them guilty if they do something like that.
God intends for Christians who have been betrayed, frauded, abused or deserted, to be free to re-marry and to go forward, having peaceful productive Christian lives.
It is not God’s intent that a Christian remain in lifelong bondage to a lawless mate who departed and could not care less.
1Corinthians 7:15 But if the unbelieving depart, [departs the marriage – departs the marriage covenant, goes back into the world, finds another mate] let him depart. A brother or a sister [converted husband or wife] is not bound, not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
The covenant has been broken, and ended by the one who departed the covenant [the one who broke or ended the marriage vow]. In the case of binding and loosening there is no in-between, one is either bound or free.
I mention that because some in the church have said they are not bound, but they still cannot get married??? Let us understand that in the case of binding and loosening, according to God’s word, there is no in-between.
You are either bound or you are free. When Paul says that a brother or sister is not under bondage it means that they are free, and there is no covenant relationship that exists any more.
The converted believer is free to remarry, because an unconverted mate does not, in effect, depart a marriage and still continue to hold the converted Christian in bondage the rest of their life. God hath called us to peace (1Corinthians 7:15).
The brother or sister in Christ is loosed, and they are not bound when the unconverted mate departs the relationship.
1Corinthians 7:16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knows thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
Paul is saying that the unconverted spouse may be being called. When he says “For what knowest thou,” Paul is saying it is entirely possible that their spouse may be being called through the converted person’s actions, sacrifices, giving, loving, yielding, and giving 100% in the marriage.
Let us say, for example, that the unconverted person is being called by God. Maybe because of the way that you live your life as an example to your mate, they might one day say, “My husband/my wife is a changed person since they started going to “that church.” “I have seen him hold his tongue, I have seen him yield and sacrifice when he should have done something terrible.” “He is a changed person, and it seems that very good results come from the way that he is living. I might look into it and start listening to the Word of God.”
Who knows whether you shall save your husband, who knows whether you shall save your wife?
1Corinthians 7:17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.
What Paul is saying is, if two unconverted people are going along in Corinth and they are involved in all of this idolatry and fornication, temple prostitution and all of those kinds of things, and God calls one of them into the Church of God and he repents and he accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Savor, and he has hands laid on him, and he receives God’s Holy Spirit, he is still married to his unconverted mate.
That is what it says: ‘so let him walk’, in other words, stay married to that unconverted person. Paul says in a positively authoritative way, ‘And so ordain I in all churches.’ The Apostles set the doctrine in the church, as we read in Acts 2:44.
If God called you to His truth while you were married to an unconverted spouse, He knew what He was doing. You are to exemplify every aspect of Christianity and sacrifice to your spouse, and then perhaps God will see fit to call them also.
God has called us into a covenant relationship with Him. God is faithful. That means that God will never break His covenant promise to us. God is a faithful covenant keeper.
Here in Hebrews notice the subject is still the marriage covenant:
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honorable in all, and the [marriage] bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
Marriage was designed by God, and it is a divine institution. God intended for man and woman to come together. But if one in the marriage leaves and commits adultery then God will judge those who leave. God says:
Hebrews 13:5 Let your [conduct] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
In order for us to know the mind of God on the subject of divorce and remarriage, a lot of Godly wisdom is necessary. We can find it within the pages of the scriptures.
There was a time in the Church of God, when the first question the minister asked a person who contacted the Church was, “Have you ever been married before?” Sadly, there were many marriages where the newly called converts were required by the minister to separate because one or the other had been married before.
Sometimes there had been a marriage right out of high school. The girl had become pregnant, and they just hurried up and legitimized the marriage. They later found out, because they were immature and went their own ways, and it just did not last, that their marriage was not founded on any kind of principles.
And so here, you have a couple of divorced kids, and later on they get their lives together and they grow up and get married to someone else and they get a house and a car, they have children and they put their lives together.
And God calls them like that. The minister went out and he said, “You are going to have to leave your wife, your kids, and the house.”
The church broke up the marriage and so often children found themselves in broken homes. It was a terrible error – a terrible sin on the part of the church. All because of an incomplete understanding of what God requires.
The world is not being judged now – only the Church of God – not the organization – but the people are being judged.
1Peter 4:17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
Converted Christians, you and I, are being judged now. It does not matter if the original marriage took place by a Justice of the Peace, or in a major denomination church. For those in the world, the unconverted, they were NOT able to live by the laws of God.
It takes God’s Spirit to lead one into righteousness. Jesus has shown the distinction between those that are in the world, and those converted brethren within the church.
Jesus said, “Moses because of the hardness of your [unconverted] hearts allowed you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” (Matthew 19:8)
What took place in the beginning? How did God create the world? What was God’s intent?
Certainly God hates divorce, and He hates all sin.
Our understanding within the Church of God finally matured after 1974 from a “letter of the law” interpretation to a better understanding of the “spirit of the law.” First, we came to understand that all worldly marriages were not bound by God, and subsequent divorces could be forgiven. You could come before God and repent of being an immature youthful lustful person, and be forgiven.
That first point; that judgment is now on us, on the Church of God, and not on the world, was key to further understanding.
Two young unconverted people get married and then the marriage covenant and vow is broken by one or both. It is wrong. It is a sin, but not an unforgivable sin. Later, one of these divorcees re-marries, and even later is called by God into His Church as a repentant sinner. God forgives the sin of divorce in the first marriage.
Paul shows that the repentant sinner, the converted person must remain married to the present mate when called.
“As the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches” (1Corinthians 7:17).
That is not a double standard. God forgives. Just like God forgives murder (even Moses’), He forgives adultery (even David’s), He forgives divorce of the unconverted.
Marriage is a covenant – a sacred covenant. It takes two to make a covenant. It takes two to keep a covenant. It only takes one sinner to break a covenant. Abandonment of the marriage agreement by one of the parties destroys a covenant.
It is sometimes difficult for those who once embraced the pre-1974 church position on divorce and remarriage to come to the fuller understanding of God’s intention. That position appears, to them, to be safe and righteous – “upholding the institution of marriage.” Spiritually and scripturally there is something missing in that approach.
Those people who had their marriage broken up when they came into the church were being unmercifully and further victimized. The innocent party was being victimized.
Jesus Christ desires to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke (Isaiah 58:6).
We know that the Pharisees kept the law with a super-righteous perfection; yet, we also know that there was much missing in their grasp of the fundamental principles of Christ.
With a discernment of what Christ’s mercy is, we can begin to incorporate the elements of God’s teaching on the subject.
**God intends for Christians who were betrayed, frauded, abused or deserted, to be free to re-marry and go forward, having peaceful productive Christian lives, and not remain in a life-long bondage to a lawless mate.
God’s desire is that we not enter into unequally yoked marriages, and for the very same reasons, He looses those Christians who have become victims of a broken marriage covenant through no fault of their own.
This is why Paul wrote it this way. “But if the unbelieving [mate] depart, let him depart.”
Jesus Christ means for marriage to be for life: “He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” (Matt 19:8) (Deut 24:1-4).
In the beginning, the Tree of Life would have imparted God’s Holy Spirit to all. In the beginning, it was God’s intent that all men become converted.
It did not happen, with the exception of a very few, including the prophets in Old Testament times. Most people have been unconverted, and that is what Jesus meant by “the hardness of your hearts.”
Here is the understanding: The scriptures show that there is a difference between “believing” and “unbelieving”, and between converted and unconverted. A converted person is being judged by God, now – and is responsible to God now. The unconverted person will be judged in the second resurrection.
What a wonderful and beautiful thing it is to have a truly blessed covenant relationship in marriage.
End: A Divine Institution
A Divine Institution
Countdown 520 12/19/2020
One of the greatest blessings from God in this life is a happy marriage. God instituted the marriage covenant between a man and a woman. This is one of the ways that God has chosen to reveal Himself to us. God has created us to be like Him. Our God is a covenant God, and a faithful covenant God. All that we know of God is found in His Word, the Bible, and in His creation. Yes, even creation itself reveals the wonderful hand of God’s work. By looking at His creation, God tells us that we are able to know His invisible attributes and even His divine character.
Romans 1:19-20 That which can be known of God is plain before their eyes; for God Himself has shown it unto them. For the invisible attributes of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even His eternal power and divine character; so that they are without excuse.
When God made Adam, He knew that there was no one to help him, and no one to be his mate. Adam needed someone to complement him physically, emotionally, psychologically, and especially, spiritually.
Genesis 2:18 The Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an helper, comparable to him.
Then God created Eve, a counterpart for Adam. Together, the man and woman were complete. They were the first human family. It is God’s intention that a husband and wife, together, reach the pinnacle of love and unity. In a Godly marriage between two called-out and converted Christians, there exists a covenant, not only between the man and his wife, but also with God. The man vows with God and his wife, while the wife vows with God and her husband. For this reason, a marriage between two of God’s people rises to the spiritual level of a God-plane relationship.
Though marriage is a physical union, it is a divine institution, established by God at creation. What does it mean to be bound in a covenant relationship? When a man and a woman come together as husband and wife, a covenant is established. A covenant is a binding compact or promise; it is a formal sealed agreement, or a contract that binds the parties until completion of the terms, or as in marriage, until the death of one of the parties. It is a great travesty when a marriage covenant is broken. There are ramifications that go throughout the life of all of the parties involved, especially if there are children.
Man enters into covenants, and God enters into covenants, but only God has proven faithful to honor and keep the covenants He has entered into. But Jesus explained that the marriage covenant was to be kept sacred and unbroken because it is something very precious.
Matthew 19:4-5 [Jesus] answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder. [Let not man grant a divorce decree is what this verse is saying.]
Matthew 19:7 They said unto Him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? [The Pharisees thought that they had Jesus Christ over the barrel with this question.]
Matthew 19:8-9 [Jesus] said unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, commits adultery: and whoso marries her which is put away [divorced] doth commit adultery.
The purpose of a Godly marriage is first of all, for each partner to help complete the spiritual development and character within their spouse. It is the solemn duty of each spouse to help their mate achieve their full spiritual potential. In so doing, each spouse will ultimately arrive at the highest place in God’s Kingdom that is attainable. Marriage is likewise a symbolic type of the prophetic covenant relationship of Jesus Christ and the Church of God.
God will use the “good” marriages of today as beautiful examples to all the young citizens of the World Tomorrow. These days, good marriages are very hard to find. When you search the Scriptures, you will find very few exemplary marriages. It is God’s intention, and with His help, that wonderful marriages are absolutely possible at this time.
Marriage reflects the exact picture of Jesus Christ and His loving relationship with His Church (Ephesians 5:32). Sadly, very few marriages reach the level of marital harmony that God has intended. Too many marriages are plagued with anger, resentment, hurt and unfortunately, infidelity. As with all things, God has given us instructions on how to have a happy and successful marriage. God especially designed marriage for the purpose of bringing many sons and daughters to glory – and He has given man an integral part in the creation process (Hebrews 2:10).
In today’s chaotic world, the sanctity of marriage is all but lost. Marriage as an institution is being rejected as unnecessary, and out of date. God’s view of marriage is entirely different from that of the world. The sacred establishment of marriage is under attack by Satan, because it is the foundation upon which the family and society is founded.
In today’s sermon we will be looking at how our marriage is an integral part of our faith.
The Children of God
Working together around the world
Bringing the message of hope to a world in turmoil
Tune into live Sabbath services from The Sabbath Church of God at 2:00 pm Central Time.
Jesus Christ said that the Good News of His Father’s coming Kingdom over the earth was to be published among all nations. The original apostles did not fully complete that mission. “This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14)
We wish everyone a happy Sabbath.
Your brother in Christ,
Warren M. Zehrung