Principles of Christian Marriage

 

In the Christian view of life, marriage is more than a social convenience whose structure is shaped by a man and a woman desiring to live together and have a family.  Its foundation goes back to the time of God’s Creation. 

There are seven basic principles of a Christian marriage.

 

1.   Christian  Marriage  is  instituted  by  God

(Genesis 1:26-28)

26   Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27   So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

28   Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

Man and woman are created equal spiritually but are sexually different from each other.  This sexual difference draws them together in a mutually loving union that leads to the procreation of children. Marriage is a sacred union of a man and a woman who commit themselves completely to each other and to the wondrous responsibility of bringing children into the world and caring for them. 

Same sex marriage cannot procreate children, is unnatural and is an abomination to God (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:26-28).

 

2.  Christian  Marriage  is  exclusively between  one  man  and  one  woman

In the Old Testament we read about men having more than one wife. 

Those who did so have family problems and conflicts.  The descendants from Abraham’s first wife Sarah is Israel, and the descendants from his second wife Hagar are the Islamic nations.   They have been fighting each other for generations even up till today.  The children of Jacob’s four wives have conflicts amongst themselves.  After Solomon worshiped the false gods of his many foreign wives Israel became a divided nation.  The history of Israel’s men who had more than one wife has bitter lessons for everyone to learn.  Polygamy is not in accordance with the will of God.   

In the New Testament the Lord Jesus Christ has clearly defined marriage as a physical union between one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4-6).

4     And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning "made them male and female,'

5      and said, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?

6     So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

From the Christian perspective monogamy is the will of God which is revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is defined as the marriage with the exclusive sexual union of one man and one woman.  Marriage can only be entered with the acceptance of moral, legal and personal responsibilities entailed by this relationship. The marriage ceremony, whether civil or religious, is an announcement to society that this man and this woman have an exclusive relationship with one another and they are off-limits to all others.  From the Christian standpoint monogamy is the only right form of marital relationship.

 

3.  Christian  Marriage  requires Total  Fidelity  between  Spouses

 

The deepest reason for total fidelity in marriage is found in God’s covenant with His people Israel, and in the New Testament of the Lord Jesus Christ with His Church. Through marriage the husband and wife are enabled to represent this fidelity and witness to it.  Monogamy which is the principle of the lifelong commitment of exclusive sexual love and fidelity between the husband and the wife is what God has designed for the Christian marriage. 

“Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Heb. 13:4)

The terminologies “fornication” and “sexual immorality” are translated from the Greek word porneiathat has the meaning of “marital unfaithfulness”.  A general definition of "fornication" is: "sexual relationships outside the bonds of marriage.”  The technical distinction between fornication and adultery is that adultery involves married persons while fornication involves those who are unmarried.  But the New Testament often uses the term in a general sense for any immoral sexual thoughts and actions that include 'premarital sex,' 'extramarital sex,' and 'gay or same-gender sex'.

In order to uphold and maintain the purity of holy matrimony God has given mankind the Seventh Commandment: “You shall not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14).  Every thought promoting lustful sexual desires or action that involves premarital or extramarital union of a man and a woman violates this commandment and is punishable by death under the Old Testament laws.  Violation of this commandment results in excommunication from the Church of God.

 

4. Christian  Marriage  cannot  be broken  and  separated  by  man

 

In response to the question about divorce the Lord Jesus Christ established the foundation for marriage as being God’s original plan as stated in Genesis 1:27 and 2:24.  In the last part of Matthew 19:6 our Lord adds the statement, “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”  In other words, when a man and a woman stand before God and make a covenant of marriage, there is not only the obvious legal aspect, there is also a spiritual component to the covenant as well.  God Himself has sanctioned, or added His endorsement to that covenant.  Therefore, it is God Who “…has joined together…” that man and woman.  That being the case, there is no legitimate reason for man to grant a legal divorcement of one marriage partner from the other.  

The Lord Jesus Christ does make an exception (not a command) that permits divorce and remarriage.

“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” (Mt. 19:9)

Sexual immorality is the only scriptural reason for any divorce and remarriage.  If adultery or fornication is committed in a marriage, only the innocent spouse can divorce and remarry.  God does not allow remarriage for the guilty spouse.  Also God does not allow remarriage of people whose divorce was for other reasons than sexual immorality.  

 

5.  Christian Marriage Partners must have  the  same  faith  in  Jesus  Christ 

 

A strong, successful and joyful Christian marriage has not only the husband and wife believing in the Lord Jesus Christ but also having the same Christian faith, goals and ideals as they establish a family to the glory of God.  The Christian faith refers to the original “one faith” “which was once for all delivered to the saints.”  (Eph. 4:5; Jude 3).   

With so many different Christian denominations in the world it is imperative that both spouses must endeavor “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:4-6)

4   There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;

5   One Lord, one faith, one baptism;

6   one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

To achieve unity, solidarity and harmony in the Christian faith both husband and wife must become members of a home church that is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ.  They must regularly attend services in a Spirit-filled, Bible-believing and commandment-keeping church. 

God has expressed His strong objection to a believer marrying an unbeliever (2 Cor. 6:14-18).

14   Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.  For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?  And what communion has light with darkness?

15   And what accord has Christ with Belial?  Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

16   And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?  For you are the temple of the living God.  As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them.  I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’

17   Therefore ‘Come out form among them and be separate, says the Lord.  Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. 

18   I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.’

 

6.  Christian Marriage must have the  Divine Order in the Family

 

God created Adam first and then He created Eve from one of his ribs (Gen. 2:21-24). 

21   And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.

22   Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23   And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;  She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

24   Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

 

The creation of Eve out of Adam’s rib while he was in “a deep sleep” is an allusion to God’s creation of the church by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ (Jn. 19:33-35; Acts 20:28).  The apostle Paul wrote  in Ephesians 5:30-32.

30   For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.

31   ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’

32   This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

From this spiritual truth we also learn about the divine order in the family (Eph. 5:22-24) 

22   Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

23   For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

24   Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

In the Christian marriage both husband and wife must recognize and accept God’s rule of order in the family to have peace and joy.  The husband must be the head of the family  

“But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”(1 Cor. 11:3)

 

7.    Christian  Marriage  must  have  Love  and  Respect  for  one  another

The headship of the husband over the wife does not mean that he is spiritually superior to her.  Being the head of the family does not give the husband any kind of dictatorial, tyrannical, arbitrary, or absolute authority over his wife and children.  But with this position of headship God has also given the husband a very important role to play (Eph. 5:25, 28-29, 33).

 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, (Eph. 5:25) 

In the secular world the word ‘love’ is generally associated with romance and sex which has little in common with the pure ideals of a Christian marriage.  Here the word “love” is the Greek word agapaowhich is also used in John 3:16.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but has everlasting life.” 

The love that a husband has for his wife must also be the same self-sacrificing type of love that our Lord Jesus Christ has for the church.

“So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.”  (Eph. 5:28)

For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.”  (Eph. 5:29)

“Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Eph. 5:33) 

God wants husbands to love their wives unconditionally just like He loves the church.  In the same way God also wants wives to respect their husbands just like the church respects the Lord Jesus Christ.  When husbands and wives obey God’s commands there will be indescribable joy in their Christian marriage.

May God bless you

 

A sermon based on this article was preached by Paul Wong

to a Congregation in Houston, Texas on August 5, 2006

This article was published on this Website on August 5, 2009

For comments please write first to: arkpw@sbcglobal.net 

  

Paul Wong is a Christian minister and the President of ARK International.
His ministry also serves as an architectural service company in Houston.
The ARK Forum on the Internet is international and non-denominational.
 
 

 

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