THE VALUE OF CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 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. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
This is one of the most important passages in Scripture teaching the value of a Christian Marriage.
Not every marriage is a Christian Marriage. If your marriage is not a Christian Marriage, you are still blessed. But your blessing is not half the blessing of a Christian Marriage.
Paul is not describing the marriage of two people who do not know Jesus Christ. He is describing the value; the preciousness of a Christian Marriage.
It is so important that married couples recognise the preciousness of their marriages. I remember an elderly man visiting us who had recently lost his wife of many years. He took one look at our wedding photograph hanging on the wall and he said, “Appreciate that”. He wasn’t talking about the picture. He was speaking of the blessing of having each other and valuing every day that God gives. In this blog I not only want married couples to value the time that God has given to them, but I want them to value the institution itself; especially Christian Marriage
APPRECIATING THE VALUE OF
The Pattern upon which a Christian Marriage is created is the relationship, which exists between Christ and His Church.
The Husband represents Christ and the Bride represents the Church. A marriage which consists of two people who are not Christians cannot in any way follow this pattern. An unsaved man cannot be a picture of Christ nor can an unsaved woman be a picture of the Church. This pattern only exists for Christian couples.
Therefore, to appreciate what Christian Marriage is – we must taken a step back and consider this fundamental relationship, between Christ and His Church.
A The Primacy of Christ
Christ is the Head of the Church – the Church is not a particular denomination. All those who who are saved; all churches faithful to the core teachings of Scripture; Christ is their Head. A Christian submits himself or herself to the Headship of Christ.
B The Proposal from Christ
The Church is the Bride of Christ. Just as the Bridegroom has proposed to his Bride, so Christ makes us Christians when He proposes to us that we become His bride.
C The Propitiation by Christ
He gave himself for the Church. He appeased the wrath of God by dying for us. Suffering in our place.
D The Passion for Christ
Church is to be subject to Christ, devoted to the Saviour. Why? Because the Saviour has given his all for us. Logically it is not a big ask for Jesus to say – Give me your heart, when he gave His body and soul on Calvary for us.
E The Preparation through Christ
Christ, as the bridegroom of His people, prepares the Christian for heaven. Because of our works; our goodness? No, not at all. He creates a new nature within; he makes us radically different. One day he is going to present us glorious, and beautiful, sinless to His Father throughout eternity.
2: The Pathway of Christian Marriage
A Submissive and Selfless
The duty of the the wife is to be submissive to her husband. But what is submission all about? Could we ever expect a woman to be submissive to a tyrant? No; we could never advise a woman to be subject to a cruel husband.
A marriage consists of a bond or covenant, where two people make solemn vows to one another. The bride covenants to love, honour, obey, comfort and to be faithful to her husband. The bridegroom covenants to love, honour, comfort and be faithful to his bride. A marriage is about two people who together fulfil their vows. A wife will have no difficulty obeying a husband who is reasonable and whom whom she knows loves her with all his heart. A man who takes his marriage vows, will be a straightforward man to obey.
Christ is the pattern here – He loved the Church and gave himself for the Church. There is I suggest a greater onus on the groom than the bride. The love that Christ has for us is the challenge for every husband.
The story is told of a husband and wife who were talking after dinner. He was sitting back, she was clearing the table. Rather nonchalantly he expressed his love – “Darling, I love you so much, I could die for you. Quickly with that kind of feminine retort that we husbands are familiar with she replied – Well dear, while you are waiting to die for me could you please do the dishes”.
The moral is very simple. Love expresses itself in little ways, and often the little gestures; are full of deep and hidden meanings.
B Singular and Satisfying
The path of married love is singular in the sense that there is no other earthly relationship that should rival that which exists between husband and wife.
Paul writes of the exchange in priority that occurs at a wedding. The Bride is handed over to her Groom by her Father, emphasising that there is a change in priority.
V31 – “A man shall leave his Father and Mother and shall cleave unto his wife.”
Of course married couples will continue to visit and care for their parents; yet the most important relationship in life will now be the one that is enjoyed within marriage.
That is something that Parents and Lovers alike should recognise; havoc has been caused in marriages by improper interference.
By inference there is something I wish to draw your attention to – sometimes we use the old nuptials to describe a marriage ceremony. The word nuptials comes from a Latin word which means to veil the eyes. A husband and wife ought to have eyes that are so covered that they have no interest or desire for anyone except one another.
The Greek histories relate that the wife of one of the Generals of Cyrus, Emperor of Persia, was accused of treachery and condemned to die. As soon as her husband heard about what was happening he threw himself before the King crying out “Oh my Lord Cyrus take my life instead of hers, Let me die in her place”. Cyrus who appears to have been very sensitive , was greatly moved by this man’s sacrifice. He therefore said, “Love like that must not be spoiled by death”. He gave the husband and wife back to each each other and the wife walked free. As they walked away the husband said “Did notice the tenderness in the Kings eyes but his wife responded, “I had no eyes for the King. I saw only the man who was willing to die in my place.”
Such a relationship filled with love, sacrifice, with selflessness, will always be satisfying; throughout life.
3: The Prospect for the Christian Marriage
This beautiful passage takes us into eternity. Christ presenting his Church in beauty and glory forever.
Every Christian couple knows that while death will inevitably part their relationship in this life, yet in eternity we will always be together and will never be separated. A bond broken in time will never be severed in heaven when we all be one in Christ.
With that thought I wish to present a Gospel Challenge. We are present at a wedding celebration because of an invitation, which was accepted.
You have an invitation today to go to heaven. Christ designed it, he has paid for it.
All you have to do is say yes.
Christianity makes all the difference, in time and in eternity to homes,families and marriages.
If you don’t know Christ as your Saviour will you accept Him today but trusting Him as your one and only Saviour?