Godly foundation guarantees the sanctity of marriage.
TEXT: Genesis 2:21-25; Ephesians 5:21-33
Marriage was instituted by God in the Garden of Eden where God placed the first man He made- Adam. God also provided a “help meet” for Adam, Genesis 2:18, whom Adam called woman, “the bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh”. The man and woman were called husband and wife.
God originally intended that marriage should be an estate of sanctity (saintliness, godliness, holiness). Hence marriage is described as Holy matrimony.
This study focuses on some factors that have polluted the marriage institution, and attempt to offer possible solutions.
The objectives of this study are:
- To understand what obedience is.
- Know what King Saul was asked to do, whether he obeyed God and the lessons for King Saul’s experience.
- Mention some specific areas that God demands obedience from man.
- Identify other authorities we are to obey and discuss how we are to demonstrate obedience to them.
- Know the consequences of disobedience, and appreciate the benefits of obedience.
Q1. WHAT FOUNDATION CAN WE LAY FOR THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE?
Marriage is a union of a man and a woman who live together throughout their life time having all things in common, being in one accord in every area of their lives. The individuals should realize that it is a creation of God; therefore no other foundation can guarantee its sanctity except the Word of God. In other words, sanctity of marriage can only be sustained through the fear of God that emanate from the knowledge of His word, and deliberate determination to obey the same. Psalm 127: 1 says, “Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders in wasted”. A
Christian should not marry an unbeliever. God’s desire is that marriage should be honorable in all things, Hebrews 13:4. Giving honor to a marriage will require the utmost in Christian conviction and only a monogamous type of marriage is more likely to provide the atmosphere for the exhibition of the honor God expects in marriage. Sanctity in marriage should be Bible based. In grateful acknowledgement of all that God has done for us, Christians must consecrate themselves to God, so as to live a life of holiness in the fear of God, even in marriage. Individuals in a marriage relationship must live honestly and commit themselves to honoring and glorifying God in their marriage.
Q2. DISCUSS HOW THE FOLLOWING FACTORS HAVE ADVERSELY AFFECTED MARRIAGE.
- Economic Problems: It is now a common phenomenon for husband and wife to leave home in the morning and come back at night, in the name of trying to make ends meet. Children in such a family are normally left either to themselves or in the hands of house helps, who may not care so much about the children’s welfare. Economic pressures can adversely affect marriage if not properly handled.
- Improper Child Upbringing, Proverbs 22:6: Improper child upbringing has had its toll on marriage. Children who become deviant constitute problems to their families and society. Children who would make positive contributions to the stability of a marriage need to be taught the word of God and guided to obey the instructions therein. When this is properly done, such children bring joy and peace to the family.
- Delayed Child Bearing: There may be pressure from parents, in-laws, relatives, brethren and even clergy men in situations of delayed child bearing. However couples under such situations should learn to wait patiently on God, 1 Samuel 1:1-22; Luke 1:5-20,57-64.
- Desired Sex of a Child: Every child is a gift from God; no father or mother is able to create a child. Insistence on a particular sex of child is an affront on the Creator. Therefore parents should thankfully accept any child irrespective of the sex.
- Infidelity, Proverbs 6:32-33; 1 Corinthians 6:13-20: The effect of infidelity is grievous. It brings scorn, ruin and destruction to those involved, to the entire family and the church. It’s a sin against God and the individuals’ body. Unwanted pregnancy could result and polygamous family brews with its attendant bickering. It should be avoided at all cost by spouses.
- Promoting Culture and Tradition over the Word of God, Genesis 18:19: In some parts of this country, culture demands that a man could allow his visiting friend sleep with his wife as a mark of regards for his friend. In some communities, a husband and wife cannot use the same water container to take their bath. In some others, people are not allowed to marry from a particular quarter on the basis of cultural differences. All these negate God’s purpose for marriage.
- Long Distant Marriage: In some cases husband and wire reside in different cities of the country, or in different countries, for whatever reason. This has adversely affected the sanctity of marriage and brought hardship on the offspring.
- In-laws/Parents, Matthew 19:5-6: Pressures from in-laws or parents over marriage challenge should not be allowed to disrupt marital relationships and family unity. The husband should remember that the Lord requires that he loves his family, Ephesians 5:25-32.
- Un-forgiveness: Christians are enjoined to forgive one another, Mark 11:25-26. If there is no forgiveness in a marriage, it will hinder fellowship with one another, fellowship with God (1 Peter 3:7), and prayers will be unanswered.
Q3. DISCUSS HOW THE FOLLOWING PROMOTE THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE.
- Family altar: This is a veritable platform for a family devotional fellowship together, where the word of God is studied, issues that promote Christian conduct and godly virtues are discussed, family corporate prayers and intercessions are made. An atmosphere of this nature guarantees oneness in a family. The fear of God and obedience to His word would always be the bedrock of such a family and the characteristics of such family would be love and stability.
- Unity and Openness: Unity and openness in a marriage relationship promotes family intimacy. Tendency for suspicion will be removed. When we fail to expose our secret thoughts to God, we break our line of communication with Him. In the same way, cord of oneness in marriage is broken when spouses fail to be open to each other, and naturally it gives room for suspicion and lack of trust. If such situation is not well managed, it could degenerate into a total breakdown in the relationship.
- Love, Submission and Care: The Scriptures enjoins husband and wife to submit to each other, Ephesians 5:21-30. Care is a product of submission. Submission simply means putting aside one’s interest in order to take care of another’s. When this is done in a marriage relationship, love is provoked. Forgiveness becomes easier in an atmosphere of love – love covers many faults. Husband and wife need the grace of God to “submit to each other in the fear of God”.
- Fruit of the Spirit: The fruit of the Spirit is the character of Christ. This includes love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; and this is the character trait expected of a child of God. If husband and wife manifest the fruit of the Holy Spirit, there will be perfect harmony in the relationship.
- Sound and Godly Foundation: The strength of a building is in its foundation. If any building must last and stand the test of time, it must of necessity stand on a solid foundation. Solid foundation in the context of this study refers to spiritual and eternal stand points. Any marriage that would maintain its sanctity and fulfill God’s purpose must be built on the word of God – a sure foundation that will never fail – such a marriage cannot be polluted.
- Fear of God: The fear in God is an essential ingredient of a successful marriage. This helps in keeping marital obligations and vows. Mutual relationships are built on the wisdom of God and the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Husband and wife learn the fear of God when they are constantly aware that God’s presence is all over the whole earth.
DAILY LIVING APPLICATION Marriage is of God. God intends that through marriage, humanity will be blessed. God expects that partners involved in marriage should work hard to uphold the sanctity embedded in marriage. He expects each spouse to have a positive influence on the marriage. If marriage is to be honored as ordained by God, husband and wife have a responsibility under God, to deliberately determine to commit themselves to each other in total submission to God’s will.
MEMORY VERSE Hebrews 13:4
“Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled, but whore mongers and adulterers God will judge.”