It is God’s Word and his Word alone that we, as faithful men and women, stand on. In fact, without the Bible, there can be no faith, salvation, maturity, wisdom, or knowledge of the Holy One, let alone a marriage after God. The Bible is and must always remain our only source for defining what our lives and marriages mean and what they are meant for.
So then, what does the Bible say about marriage? Why did God create this beautifully messy thing called holy matrimony?
Paul proclaimed, “For [God’s] invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:20). God made everything to show the world who he is and what kind of God he is. Every star, every plant, each and every animal, every cell, light, wind, and sound, it was all created with this purpose in mind.
Marriage, too, is something that God created to reveal his nature. Marriage is not man’s idea, nor is it anything man could ever define. Marriage is a heavenly concept with divine implications.
Marriage was so important, in fact, that God didn’t waste a moment to introduce this powerful symbol to us. Right in the very beginning of the Bible, not more than 26 verses in and barely six days into history, God chose to unveil his divine masterpiece: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26–27).
After God creates Eve, and after Adam rejoices in his new companion, the Bible states in Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Marriage isn’t simply a part of God’s perfect creation; it was a gift he gave to his favorite part of creation—man and woman. In fact, everything God created was for the benefit of the man and the woman. He gave it all to them for food, for pleasure, to cultivate, subdue, and rule over. On almost every day of creation, God declared his work to be “good” (Genesis 1:10, 18, 21, 25). But after he created man and woman, he declared it all to be very good (Genesis 1:31).
Do you see it? Are you beginning to grasp his grand narrative? Creation was only good until the introduction of man and woman made it very good. Doesn’t this show us just how much God values and cares for his children, how much he values and cares for you, and how much he values your marriage?
Humanity is God’s greatest creation, and his desire is to show us who he is. God’s decision to bring man and woman together in marriage wasn’t an afterthought, although it can seem that way when we read about Adam not seeing a suitable helper out of all the animals he was naming. On the contrary, marriage, Adam and Eve being united, was necessary for God’s purposes to be fulfilled.
God had a job for his two new children to fulfill, and their marriage was the vehicle to accomplish that job. This job he had for them was simple, yet also profoundly mysterious. Simple in that they were told to tend to the garden and be fruitful and multiply, profoundly mysterious in that ultimately their marriage would be a picture of Christ and the church. Paul points this out in Ephesians 5:31–32, where he reiterates the words of Genesis and pushes the symbol farther: “‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”
In God’s infinite creativity and wisdom, he used marriage to masterfully paint for all the world a picture of his love and his redemption plan.
As we reflect on the words of Paul, we can begin to see God’s divine purpose for marriage. Marriage is much more than an earthly institution. It is not just a man and a woman coming together under the same roof with a legal document stating that the state recognizes this to be the case. Marriage is and always will be an earthly symbol of a heavenly truth. Marriage is a picture of Christ and his relationship with the church.
This is what God created marriage for. The symbol of unity within marriage has a greater purpose to serve than a husband and wife coming together for their own satisfaction or desire. The relationship between a husband and wife, when they operate in obedience to God’s Word, is the representation and reflection of the gospel, the redemption of man being reconciled through Christ to God.
God reinforces the power of unity within marriage again and again throughout his Word by telling us that a husband and wife are one flesh. Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:8, and Ephesians 5:31 all show us that marriage is the spiritual event of two separate creatures becoming one, or in other words, an entirely “new creation.”
This new creation teaches us and the world that God’s plan for humanity is to make them one with his Son in an inseparable unity. What a wonderful and powerful way to show the ones he loves that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39 KJV).
This new creation that a marriage creates, when two become one, is to show the world the supremely freeing truth that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
As the author in Song of Solomon expresses his love for his bride in Song of Solomon 8:7, he makes a bold statement, in essence that love cannot be purchased. The love you choose to walk in, in your marriage, is meant to show the world this same truth—that God’s love is unearned and cannot be bought with anything you have to offer.
Our marriages are to be walking examples of God’s unending love, grace, and mercy. Whether we are being good examples, walking in the direction and command of the Lord, or we are being disobedient and rebellious to it, we are being a symbol to the world. What gospel is your marriage preaching to this lost and dying world? Is it proclaiming the never-ending and ever-patient love of God?
Our marriages can and should bring glory to God and point outsiders, who are looking in, to a loving and redeeming God. Marriage was created by God, it is his, and he desires for it to be used his way and for his purposes. More to the point: Your marriage is God’s, and he desires for it to be done his way and for his purposes!
Are you ready for that?
Adapted from Marriage After God: Chasing Boldly After God’s Purpose for Your Life Together by Aaron & Jennifer Smith. Click here to learn more about this book.
What if God has purposed your marriage for something so much more than happily ever after?
Since the very beginning, God’s design for marriage is for husbands and wives to be ambassadors of holy love to a hurting world. Still, so many couples stop short at happy and wonder why they feel unsatisfied. Rather than “you and me against the world,” God calls each couple to the rich and meaningful mission of “you and me for the world.”
Aaron and Jennifer Smith, popular marriage bloggers at HusbandRevolution.com and UnveiledWife.com, transparently share their journey from a marriage in crisis to a marriage built on Christ’s redemptive love. Through fresh biblical insight and intimate stories of their own struggles and victories, this book will guide you toward a God-centered, ministry-minded, and thriving marriage. In these pages you will . . .
Discover the signature marks of a marriage after God
Find principles for building an unshakable marriage foundation
Learn how to let God’s story take the lead in your love story
Recognize the tools God has already equipped you with for a missional life together
Filled with helpful illustrations, this thorough and practical book will empower you and your spouse to dream, decide, and do as you step hand in hand into God’s ultimate purpose for your marriage.
Your oneness is also meant for witness. God has purposed your remarkable, romantic, and redemptive relationship to be a powerful light to a dark and hurting world. This is your invitation to marriage as God intended–a life-saving, hope-inspiring, and transforming force of God’s love.
Aaron Smith has been encouraging husbands to lead their families according to the Bible through his site HusbandRevolution.com since May 2011. He passionately urges men to strive for spiritual maturity, supporting husbands with daily marriage and parenting encouragement. Aaron has co-authored several books on marriage with his wife including Husband After God and 31 Prayers For My Wife. Aaron has been married to his wife Jennifer since January 2007. Aaron’s greatest motivation is sharing the Gospel.
Jennifer Smith married Aaron, her best friend, in 2007. Their first few years of marriage were challenging in many ways. However, God helped reconcile their marriage relationship. Jennifer began sharing positive encouragement for marriage through UnveiledWife.com in March 2011. She shares vulnerable stories from her marriage and things she is learning to inspire other wives along the way. With her husband’s support and help, she has traditionally published The Unveiled Wife and self-published Wife After God, 31 Prayers For My Husband, 31 Prayers For My Future Husband, and more recently 31 Prayers For My Son and Daughter. Jennifer is grateful to be used by God in an extraordinary way to bring hope and the power of the Gospel to wives around the world.
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