The Nature of Marriage

The Nature of Marriage

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). 

God Himself instituted marriage – it should, therefore, be our desire to encourage a view of marriage that reflects His design and intent for it. 

After all, a high regard for marriage is an integral aspect of the pursuit of holiness among God’s people (cf. Hebrews 12:14; 1 Timothy 4:1-4). 

The Greek expression for “held in honor” means “to view with respect and as something to be highly valued or prized; precious.” 2 Peter 1:4 uses the same word of God’s promises, while 1 Peter 1:19 uses it of the blood of Jesus. Sadly, in this day of “same-sex” marriages or thinking of marriage as “a breakable alliance (if it’s convenient) between two self-seeking individuals,” we’ve seen a dishonoring of God’s purpose and intent regarding the nature of marriage. There are at least some things a couple must understand and commit itself to before marrying. Let’s consider five together. 

(1) The Permanence of Marriage. God intended for marriage to be a serious and life-long commitment (cf. Matt. 19:6; Romans 7:4). Marriage involves a solemn promise or pledge, not only to one’s marriage partner, but to God Himself (cf. Ecc. 5:45). Divorce is not permitted except in the case of adultery for the innocent party (see Matthew 5:32; 19:9). 

(2) The Sacredness of Marriage. Marriage is a relationship before and under God (cf. Gen. 2:22; Matthew 19:4-6). It is sacred due to the origin and place it has been given by God. “Same-sex” relationships are condemned in both the Old and New Testaments; therefore, it is unthinkable that God would sanction such unions today. 

(3) The Intimacy of Marriage. Marriage involves a “leaving,” a “cleaving,” and a “becoming as one” (cf. Genesis 2:23-25). This makes it the most intimate of all human relationships. There is an intimacy and a sense of unity or oneness in the marriage bond that supersedes all other human relationships. 

(4) The Mutuality of Marriage. In God’s will, marriage entails the free self- giving of a man and a woman to each other (cf. Ephesians 5:22-33). In a marriage, a husband and a wife are first and foremost committed to the well-being of the other in steadfast love and devotion. 

Only their relationship with God Himself is more important. “Mutuality” does not mean “sameness of role,” but it DOES MEAN that there is a mutual self-giving between husband and wife when God’s will is honored. 

(5) The Exclusiveness of Marriage. No other human relationship should interfere with what God intended for marriage (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:1-5; Hebrews 13:4). This is but one of several reasons why premarital and extra-marital sex IS sinful. Jesus Himself took the exclusive nature of marriage VERY seriously (see Matthew 5:28 and 19:9). God will judge “whoremongers” and “adulterers” (Hebrews 13:4). Why? Among other things, the exclusive nature of marriage has NOT been honored. 

The shifting standards of society and the opinions of men do NOT constitute the real standard of right and wrong – God still rules heaven and earth! Let’s respect what He says regarding the nature of marriage. 

Mike Vestal 

(with some thoughts coming from Andreas Kostenberger’s God, Marriage and Family 

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