THE PARTNERSHIP OF MARRIAGE

The Partnership of Marriage

Date: July 7, 2019


Quarterly Theme:

Examining the Household of Faith

Session XII

DISCIPLINES TO BE LEARNED

A Godly Marriage Depends On the Interdependence of The Husband, Wife and God. Within Marriage The Bed Is To Remain Undefiled.The Marriage Partner Should Display The Love of God Toward His/Her Mate, Even If The Mate Is An Unbeliever.


To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife” (vv. 10-11). I believe it’s imperative for married couples to fully understand these passages of Scripture so that they might have a Godly marriage interdependence of themselves and God. To fully understand the admonitions which Paul presents in this writing to married couples there are a few points which need to be understand. There must be a clear understanding of the words abstinence, celibacy and chastity; certain facts about Paul need to be understood. And finally certain assumptions about Paul need to be understood. Abstinence is the voluntary refraining from eating certain foods or drinking liquor, or restraining from certain activities. Celibacy is the state of being unmarried; abstention by vow from marriage. Chastity is the quality or state of being chaste; sexual purity. Facts about Paul, a) as Saul he was once a Pharisee (Phil. 4:5); b) as Saul he was a member of the Sandhedrin Council which was composed of older respected Pharisee, Scribes, Chief Priest and other religious rulers; c) He was born a Hebrew/Jew; d) he was educated. Assumptions about Paul, a) as Saul he was widowed or divorced, weaker school of thought suggests he abandoned his wife after his conversion. This is the second letter written to the church of Corinth by the Apostle Paul, which Paul addresses the issue of morality and sexual conduct (I Cor. 5:9). In chapter seven, beginning at verse one Paul addresses questions which were raised in a letter he had received from the church leadership. At this point and up to verse five, Paul gives divine instruction regarding a man’s conduct toward a woman.

A Godly Marriage Depends On the Interdependence of The Husband, Wife and God.

I’m no marriage expert, nor have I written a single book advising married couples on the art of living so that they may enjoy a great marriage. I have however, observed marriages which have enjoyed love, longevity, peace and happiness throughout the years. In fact I’ve often asked couples in such marriages the secret to their success. Time and time again the answer has always been, “We learned to trust and depend on God for everything”. The point being, such couples invited God into their marriage. God was a vital component within the marriage. There is interdependence between the husband, wife and God. It’s a common practice of most ministers who perform marriage ceremonies to quote Mark 10:9 “Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate”, Jesus means that married couples should protect their marriages from outside influences, particularly people whose negative influence could harm the marriage. In addition the verse implies that people outside the marriage of other couples should never allow themselves to become a negative influence to a marriage. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). The text doesn’t say that the man shall remain with his father and mother. Nor does it say that the wife shall remain with her father and mother. There is no mention in the text of either the man or woman remaining with another family member or friend, but rather that they both leave all others and unite as one. Marriage truly is like a job. To have a successful marriage couples must truly work on their marriages everyday. You cannot assume that the strong connection you had when you first married will simply always be tomorrow what it is on today. There will always be outside influences and forces which can come between a husband and wife to diminish your relationship. The pressures, temptations, and even genuinely good opportunities coming from outside the marriage are limitless. Therefore married couples need to insure that they have the proper blend and balance of time which afford interaction between each other and God.

Within Marriage The Bed Is Remain Undefiled.

“Marriage is an institution of divine appointment and is commended as honorable among all men. It is the most important step in life and should not therefore be entered unadvisedly or lightly, but discreetly and soberly”.[2] “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). As stated in an earlier lesson God intended for the man and woman to become as one. God has commanded both the man and woman to honor their marriage and that under no circumstance should adultery enter into their marriage covenant. Regrettably the divorce rate in today’s society continues to climb. There are several factors which cause married couples to divorce, such as financial, emotional and physical abuse. However, the greatest failing of any marriage is adultery. Adultery simply put is a violation of God’s commandment, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exod. 20:12).

Perhaps the most detailed account in the Bible which reveals the dark side of adultery is Proverbs 7:8-27), which tell of a young man who is snared into the trap of adultery by the flattering words of a woman. The story goes on to reveal that under the cover of darkness this woman dressed in the attire of a harlot has a heart filled with deception. The woman embraces the man and kisses him, while saying to him that she prepared her bed with the finest of linen and perfumes. She bids them to go to her house to be filled with passionate love, until the breaking of the day. She informs the young man that her husband is away on a business trip and it would be days before he returned. With her smooth speech and enticing lips she convinces the young man to follow her home. Without thinking, without delay the young surrenders to the woman’s advances and offer. Does the woman or young man sound like anyone you know? Better yet do they sound like you? I recall the first installment of BATMAN, starring Michael Keaton as BATMAN, during one the scenes a character is asked the question, “there do you spend your nights?” When the sun goes down and day becomes night, where do you go? Who do you visit? What do you wear? What do you drink? If a woman or man calls your home in the middle of the night inviting you to visit with them, how will you response? Will you later response like Geraldine, a character played by the late Flip Wilson, “The Devil Made Me Do It”, or will you have the boldness of David and declare, “…. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (Gen. 39:9). And for those who would dare say or argue that the temptation is too strong or great to escape such an invitation, the Bible declares, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (I Cor. 10:13). There are two final points to discuss regarding the Proverb texts which are found in verses 26-27, “Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death”. Men and women, who fall prey and become victims of adultery, will encounter loss in every area of their life. Families are loss, emotions are loss, trust is loss, finances are loss, and material possessions are loss, friends are loss, jobs are loss, respect is loss, and honor is loss.

The Marriage Partner Should Display The Love of God Toward His/Her Mate, Even If The Mate Is An Unbeliever.

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives…” (Eph. 5:22-25). Take caution as to what the verses say and don’t say. The text does not say, “Wives, submit to your husband the believer”. The text does not say, “For the believing husband is head of the believing wife”. The text does not say, “For the unbelieving husband is head of the unbelieving wife”. The text does not say, “Believing husbands love your wives”. The text does not say, “Unbelieving husband love your wives”. The text clearly has in mind that no matter what the husband’s status, believer or unbeliever he is to love his wife unconditional. The husband is to love is wife as a believer or unbeliever. Wives likewise are to love their husbands and submit unto them whether they believer or not. It’s obvious that Paul is not calling celibacy, chastity or abstinence a spiritual gift, rather God extends his gift of grace to all who prayerfully seek to live as such. Furthermore, Paul does not have sex in view, for in verses 2-7, he speaks directly of married persons not unmarried persons. Though, I do not expect all everyone to agree with this view, I do believe people should be able to defend their positions using Scripture correctly. Speaking to married persons, a) a man is not to touch a woman inappropriately (v. 1); b) a man is to have his own wife (v.2, ref. Gen. 1:26-28; 2:18-24); c) both the man and woman are commanded to fulfill their sexual duties to one-another faithfully (v.5). For the man is given to the woman and the woman to the man. The only time such duties are not to be fulfilled 1) time given to devotion in prayer and fasting, 2) period of uncleanness (Lev. 18:19). Paul now speaks his own mind and opinion, as he is given permission by the Holy Spirit (vv.6-7). Paul wishes that all men were even as he was. The question becomes-how was he? We know he was not married. We know that he practiced what some call abstinence or celibacy; however, based on the above definitions, this is incorrect. Paul, vowed a life of chastity, which means he vowed not to remarry and to keep himself sexually pure. Paul’s focus is marriage, not sex. He wished it were possible for persons to be as he was unmarried. It does not make sense to suggest that married persons practice abstinence or celibacy. “I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that” (v. 7).This text poses confusion for some people. The idea that abstinence or celibacy is a gift is wrong and theologically incorrect. Paul doesn’t have sex in view. His focus is on marriage. These passages address the issue of married individuals remaining married, if possible even if they are married to an unbelieving spouse (vv.10-24). Paul writes that married women are bound by the law so long as their husband is alive; however, if he dies, she is free to 1) remarry, or 2) remain unmarried (vv. 38-40). The Bible is very clear on spiritual gifts and gifts given to the church (or men). “And he gave some, apostles, and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers” (Eph. 4:8). “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit, and to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gift of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to other prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues” (I Cor. 12:8-10). The list is specific and exhaustive; yet I see no reference either implicitly or explicitly to sex or one restraining from sex listed as a gift. The question is, “what are gifts designed to accomplish”? “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12). How does restraining from sex, if it is a spiritual gift, perfect the saints, benefit ministry or edify the body of Christ? Better yet, lets reverse the question, when people engage in sex either married or unmarried, does it mean that as saints they won’t ever be perfected, or beneficial to ministry or edify the body of Christ? Of course not, if so we would never mature as Christians. Abstinence, celibacy and chastity could never be gifts because as we read above in the Genesis passages, they stand in opposition to God’s first commandment to man, “Be fruitful and multiply”. The best way to proof text Scripture is using other Scriptures, as I’ve done in his short study. The Bible is a Book of Harmony. It has been and always will be Infallible. Else where in Scripture abstinence, celibacy or chastity is not taught to be spiritual gifts. Persons who commit themselves to abstinence, celibacy or chastity or simply extended grace by God do so. It is the same grace God extends to the person who practices gluttony. Finally they go before God, fasting and praying to develop self-control and God through Jesus Christ delivers them from this bondage. But, we don’t say that gluttony is a gift. The same is true of people who stop using alcohol, drugs, watching, porno, breaking gambling habits, give up smoking, or other destructive vices. There are those who lift their ability to abstain from marriage and sexual activity as if it were an honor badge; however, such behavior is foolish. Jephthah’s daughter in fact lamented, grieved her virginity (Judges 11:38-39). In conclusion, the person is simply restraining and using self-control, which their Faith and belief in Jesus Christ, moves God to show favor (grace) in their lives. Your faith in God must be greater than the elements which are attempting to drag you down to defeat. If your faith is equal to the elements, you will always be in spiritual warfare against the elements. If you faith is less than the elements, the element will always have control over you, you will not have control over them. However, if your Faith is greater than the elements, you can say believing, “mountain be cast into the sea, and it shall be done”.

[1] Hodge, Charles, Editors: McGrath, Alister and Packer, J.I, The Crossway Classic Commentaries: 1 Corinthians, Wheaton, IL, Crossway Books, 1995

[2] Hobbs, James, The Pastor’s Manual, Nashville, TN, Broadman Press, page. 157

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