Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Apologetics - Marriage

One of the most polarizing topics in our culture is the topic of marriage. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the politics and personal stories and such, but it’s important as Christians to first take a step back and look at what God says.

“Jesus answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-8).

This is Jesus’ response to the Pharisees’ question about divorce. He answers by quoting Genesis 2:24. All of Genesis 2 has to do with the creation of man. Between that and the brief account at the end of Genesis 1 we have a good idea of what God intended for marriage.

Marriage, according to the Bible, has a two-fold purpose. The first is for companionship and the creation of family. “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). None of the animals were Adam’s equal, so God made woman to be his helper and companion. The imagery in Genesis 2:24 has the man leaving his father and mother to start a family with his wife.

The second purpose is for procreation. You can have a marriage without procreation, but the very nature of husband and wife allows for that possibility. “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). This is the first great commission. The very wording of Genesis 2:18 “ I will make him a helper fit for him” implies the idea of procreation. The man and women together can have children. Sex is meant for a husband and wife. God is clear in other places in the Bible that sex outside of marriage is not good (see the 6th commandment). Studies today back that idea up. Children do better in a home with their married mother and father. Divorce rates are higher if you have sex or live together before marriage. To name just a few.

The concept of marriage as God instituted becomes even more important when you realize it has to do with Christ and the Church. Paul writes about this in Ephesians 5:21–33. “’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.” (Ephesians 5:31-32). Paul says wives should submit to their husbands as the Church submits to Christ and that husbands must love their wives and lay down their lives for them, just as Christ did for the Church. The Church is often referred to as Christ’s bride. Wedding imagery is everywhere in the Gospels.

In closing, it’s important to say that marriage (which was instituted before the fall) is affected by sin just as much as everything else. Even our idea of what marriage is has been affected. We must speak the truth that is God’s Word, but do so in love. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24).

Further reading from the Church Library:
        Ethics of Sex
        Sexual Morality in a Christless World

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