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Saturday, July 15, 2017

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COVENANT OF MARRIAGE – Part 2
 
God created marriage; it was God’s design, not man’s.
 

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.  Genesis 2:18, 20-25
 
Interesting that this is the first “not good” we hear from God. He created man to be fruitful and fill the earth, to raise godly offspring. God created man, and it was good, but He saw something that was not good and he fixed it. He created woman, He did something to save the world from men left to themselves. I am glad He did!
 
Another note, God joined them as one flesh, not man, not a judge. God made them one flesh.
 
God calls the joining of two people in marriage a covenant by vow. Interesting thing, covenants and vows are made to God, promises are made to men. Throughout the entire Bible, God held His people to the covenants they made, He even held them to covenants made by their predecessors. God takes vows seriously!
 
When you married, you made a solemn vow to God, a promise that cannot be broken, “I take thee to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; and I promise to be faithful to you until death parts us”. This vow was a covenant promise you made to God, and there is nowhere in the Bible that allows us to annul or divorce that promise. God insists that you keep all of your solemn promises.

Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun–all the days of futility. For that is your portion in this life and in your work at which you toil under the sun.  Ecclesiastes 9:9
 
Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God; I will render praises to You.  Psalm 56:12 (NKJV)
 
When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. Ecclesiastes 5:4-5

 
As the Bible starts, it begins with a marriage. Marriage as a picture is repeated throughout the Bible. Marriage is God’s creation, it is His metaphor in the Bible and a picture of His love for us; the unconditional love He has, the forgiveness and the bond that cannot be broken. We, as a church, are the bride of Christ Jesus, His covenant people.
 
God created you one flesh with your wife, He made you one. Out of that union, He created children, all three from one flesh. Think about that for a moment, three in one. Is not that a picture of the Trinity of God? Father, Son, Holy Spirit – one. What an image God gave us through marriage, His creation, a copy of the original.
 

I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.  2 Corinthians 11:2
 
The Bible also ends with a marriage.
 

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.”  Revelation 19:7
 
As the “church,” we are the bride of Christ. You see God created marriage, not man. God joined man and woman and made them one flesh, not man. Throughout the Bible, marriage is discussed and presented as a picture of love, redemption, complete forgiveness and unconditional love, an unbreakable bond or union. Understand that human marriage is the copy of the original, God’s creation.
 
One of the most profitable catalysts for our sanctification is marriage. Being joined to a sinner, and having one’s own sin so closely witnessed and experienced, is humbling and convicting. This bond places us in the regular position of either denying our sinfulness and sliding into it further, or confessing it daily and experiencing mastery over it by the power of God (Romans 6:6). Ideally, marriage grows you, stretches you and changes you. The greatest joy in life is found in the hardest, most durable things, not the easiest. When you make a marriage work and honor your marriage covenant and not attempt to escape from it, you will find that you are increasingly focused, not on yourself, but on blessing others, which is the way a man of God thinks. Jesus, did not live selfishly. He took a bride for His own, loving her sacrificially. Marriage is costly, it’s deeply rewarding, and it’s never carried out alone, for the Holy Spirit is with every godly man who goes wholeheartedly after the glory of God through it.
 
The divine reality hidden in the metaphor of marriage is that God ordained a permanent union between His Son and the church. Human marriage is the earthly image of this divine plan. As God willed for Christ and the church to become one body (Galatians 3:28; 1 Corinthians 12:13), so He willed for marriage to reflect this pattern—that the husband and wife become one flesh through the covenant of marriage (Genesis 2:24).
 
David in Virginia

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