Second In A Series
In our November Spokesman we spoke of God’s Wonderful Marriage Math Equation: 1 + 1 = 1. Even though our amoral society and our own sin-nature would emphasize other “new math” marriage equations: 1 + 1 = 2 (independence) or 1 + 2 = 3 (extra-marital relationships) we do well to implement the design of the Master Marriage Architect and Counselor, our Lord Himself.
Our Lord created, defines, and regulates marriage, and has provided for us a marvelous model love-relationship to emulate: Christ and His Church (Eph. 5:22f). Through His Gospel He provides Christian marriages with their essential “agape-love” ingredients: nourishing and cherishing, sacrifice, commitment, and forgiveness.
Everything God planned for and has given to man is for his well-being and happiness. “Every good and perfect gift is from above…” (Jms. 1:17). Marriage is surely a part of this bundle of blessings God has graciously heaped upon us.
The World’s View
From evidence around us one might easily conclude that marriage has caused countless problems and heartaches.
Those looking for a “better way” would point to our high divorce rate and all its life-shattering consequences: broken hearts and homes, single-parent families, adulteries, as well as considerable other social and emotional fallout. These, they say, prove that marriage is simply not working in today’s society. Yet to blame marriage itself for all these problems is like blaming the doctor or pharmacist when we aren’t helped by the medical prescription we neglected to take.
The problems are not with marriage, but rather with those who sinfully disregard God’s plan and therefore not only deprive themselves of its blessings, but bring upon themselves countless problems in its place.
The Christian View
Marriage was instituted and designed by God as a timeless blessing for man. “Marriage is honorable in all” (Heb. 13:4). And each of its three purposes remain wonderful blessings today: companionship (Gen. 2:18); sexual love (Heb. 13:4b); and children (Ps. 127:3-5).
These blessings were given to man and woman in order to enhance and enrich their lives. Luther well said: “The world says of marriage: a short joy and long displeasure. But he who understands it finds in it delight, love, and joy without ceasing.”
Yet when God speaks of marriage as a blessing, His intent goes even further than the afore-mentioned earthly gifts. His ultimate hope is that marriage will provide a unique and wonderful environment for the sharing of His greatest blessing–the Savior Himself.
Through their respective callings–husbands and wives, parents and children–all within the Christian family have opportunities to influence, encourage, nurture, and build up one another in the faith.
Such a family heritage bears spiritual and eternal dividends in God-fearing children as well as in spiritual blessings for generations yet unborn.
Marriage is part of God’s plan not simply for the propagation of the human family on earth, but for the very filling of heaven itself. It is His hope that husband and wife not just live together in love, but “dwell together as heirs of the grace of life” (1 Pet. 3:7).
What more could we pray for than that those who loved their Lord and one another here on earth might bask in God’s love together forever in heaven?
To that end, may all of us regard, treasure, and live our Christian marriages as one of life’s great heaven-sent blessings.
–Pastor David Schierenbeck