Volume. XXX, No. 10
Sunday, 06 September 2015


A Christian Marriage V: The Institution of Marriage Part C (Final)


God created man, both male and female “in his image”. God created the woman from the side of Adam, as opposed to Adam who was created out of dust. God performed the first marriage soon after the creation of Adam and Eve. It is a union between a man and a woman. The Institution of Marriage started from that first marriage. God made Eve and the woman to be a “help meet” for Adam and the man.

1. The woman as the Help Meet in the Institution of Marriage.
a. The meaning of “help meet”
The phrase “help meet” is often misunderstood. The word “meet” used in the Word of God means “suitable” or “fit”.
Note that they are two words “help meet” and not one word as in “helpmeet”. To call his wife a “helpmeet” reveals that the husband fails to comprehend this meaning.
b. God said the woman is “a help meet for Adam”.
God said He would make a woman as “a help meet for Adam”. This means the woman is a help or an aid, which is meet for the man. The woman is just right for the man, fitted to him and his need. God makes the woman to supply the man with what he is lacking, and hence to complete him. The woman “is the help of the man, suited for him in every respect, physically and bodily, mentally and emotionally” (David J Engelsma). Therefore, she is called “wo-man”, meaning she is the female complement of the man. Her name, by her very nature, is really “female man.”

2. The Institution of Marriage is a Divine Institution
Genesis 2:22 “And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”
a. Marriage is an institution of God.
Marriage, as an institution of God, started with Adam and Eve. He established it as a perpetual institution, an ordinance, a law for all time. If that is the case, we have no right to change it. What God has laid down in the Word of God is set in concrete, and to change it is blatant disobedience and sin!
b. Corruption of the Institution of Marriage by the sinful man.
i. The sinful man treats marriage as a man-made institution.
Why is man corrupting this God-ordained marriage?
It is because, by his sinful nature, man does not regard marriage as divine, but a human, man-made institution.
ii. Disobedience to the Word of God.
The world despises the authority of the Scriptures and conceives a different origin of marriage. Man disobeys God’s Word.
iii. There are Consequences.
Therefore, if marriage is a man-made institution, man may do with that institution as he pleases leading him to divorce and remarry, or to have concubines or mistresses. He may alter it or abolish it! In fact, it is in most western countries with a Judeo-Christian heritage where divorce becomes as common and accepted as marriage. As marriage is considered a man-made institution, many of the young people have no respect for marriage and they go on to live together in de-facto relationships or trial marriages committing the sin of fornication.
There are other causes for the destruction of marriage as a divine institution. They are the indifferent, careless and godless parental attitude; “modern” defective education by schools and universities; influences by psychologists and politicians; evolutionary scientists; liberalism and apostasy of the church; influences by paganistic religions; godless philosophers, etc…
Society, rather than God-centred, becomes man-centred and God-denying. When that happens, there will be attempts to change God’s laws! This is happening now. We are living in “perilous times.”
c. Believers’ view on marriage.
As believers, our descendants and we must view marriage as an institution of God. If we do not do that then we will begin to question and doubt the truth and authority of the Word of God. If we look at this country, the marriage institution is not regarded by many as a divinely ordained institution, and this leads to the breakdown of marriages, broken families, departure from God and truth, and eventually to crime, and civil breakdown. This also leads to the increasing support for “marriage equality” which is same gender marriage!
d. God’s regulations on marriage.
As marriage is a divine institution, it is governed by God’s regulations. What are these regulations?
Firstly, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4). Everything about marriage, and every marriage, is honourable. Anyone who forbids marriage as an abominable thing, Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 4:1-3 that this is a doctrine of devils.
Secondly, marriage is “the union and communion” of ONE man and ONE woman.
Matthew 19:4-6 “4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
It is clear that marriage is between one man and one woman, and once that marriage occurs no man is permitted to break that union and communion. The exception is that divorce may be permitted in the case of adultery but in such a case no remarriage is permitted as long as the man and his wife are still alive.
Thirdly, in a marriage union and communion, the man is the head and the woman must submit to her husband.
1 Corinthians 11:3 “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”
Paul uses the creation of Adam and Eve, and the original marriage institution for this assertion.
In 1 Corinthians 11: 8, 9 Paul declares: “8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”
The man was created first, and the woman second. The woman was created for the man, and not the man for the woman.
Fourthly, the man is incomplete without a wife, and therefore the woman is essential for the man. It is true also for the woman/wife. 1 Corinthians 11: 11,12 “11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. 12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.”
The Apostle Paul reminds us that man is made in such a way that he cannot live without the woman, but must live by the woman. This means that the wife lives her whole life out of her husband as the source – “the woman is of the man,” literally this means the woman is out of the man! The husband therefore, for him to be complete, lives his whole life through the woman. This means that his entire life of “thinking, of planning, and of working” passes through the woman, and is affected by her, and is good, finally, because of her “help.” By God’s rules, the woman may not live unsubmissively and the man may not live independently in relation to his wife. The man must not regard the wife as an unnecessary item to him and his life. He is to love her!
e. Disobedience of God’s laws on marriage invites misery.
To be disobedient to God’s laws on marriage is to invite misery because God does punish disobedient people. When God’s laws on marriage are disregarded, the blessings of God are withdrawn from the man and the woman in the union.
3. The Institution of Marriage is a Creation Ordinance
a. Marriage belongs to the sphere of creation.
Marriage is God’s institution and it “belongs to the sphere of creation and not to the sphere of redemption” (David J Engelsma).
Even though marriage is a symbol of the relationship between Christ and the church it does not depend on “its validity on the church or on God’s grace” (David J Engelsma).
b. Marriage is not a sacrament.
Marriage is not a sacrament. If it is a sacrament, then like baptism and The Lord’s Supper, it is instituted by our Lord Jesus in the church and it becomes a means of grace to the individuals who participate. Let this be made clear - marriage was not instituted by our Lord Jesus in His earthly ministry but it was God who instituted marriage at the time of creation. It was instituted before there was ever any redemption or any church of Christ. Hence, “marriage is an ordinance of God in the realm of creation, similar to the ordinance of civil government and the ordinance of labour” (David J Engelsma – Marriage, The Mystery of Christ and the Church).
c. Marriage outside the church.
As marriage between a man and a woman is a creation ordinance, this marriage is accepted as genuine outside the church, “even as civil government is legitimate apart from the church.” A marriage before God and men is accepted, even though it was not conducted and solemnized by a minister of God.
“Unbelievers are validly married, just as they are genuinely possessors and wielders of the authority of civil government. Therefore, those unbelievers who commit adultery are judged and condemned by God for a real violation of a true marriage.” (David J Engelsma).
d. Believers to have marriages in church.
Believers are to have their marriages performed in the church. This is the right and proper thing to do because believers show their obedience and honour to God by marrying in a service conducted by God’s ordained minister.

Conclusion
Christian Marriage is the union between a believing man and a believing woman. God calls marriage a mystery of Christ and the church. Accordingly, wives must submit “as the church is subject unto Christ” (Ephesians 5:24) and husbands must love their wives “even as Christ also loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25). In that mystery, there is an intimate union which can only be broken by God.
Marriage is an Institution ordained by God at the time of creation. The woman was not created to be on her own, but to be the “help meet” for the man. God honours the woman highly and husbands should honour their wives.
or believers, it is imperative that they marry “in the Lord,” and their marriages must be performed by a God-ordained minister.
To all believers of our Lord Jesus, I appeal to you all to obey God’s commands in the area of marriage.
Amen.

Elder Michael D Lee
(Reference: “Marriage - The Mystery of Christ & The Church” by David J Engelsma, 1998 edition).

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Announcements

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Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Those who arrive safely at their destinations.

Visitors & new worshippers.

God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
 
31st Anniversary Thanksgiving of Calvary Jaya Fellowship (KL)

Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore); Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe, & others in affliction.

New Life BPC (London) - Dr Carl Martin; God’s guidance & encouragement for congregation.

Covenant BPC (Perth) - purchasing of church property.

Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.

Journey mercies: those who are travelling.

Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.

Persecuted believers in Islamic countries.

God’s guidance: purchase of new church property.

Australia: God’s wisdom for our political leaders. People to repent and turn to God.

Hope BPC’s new location: God’s guidance & provision of office space & temporary place for worship & fellowship activities while looking for a permanent location.

 

 

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