Marriage In High Esteem – (Heb. 13:4) The writer of Hebrews tells us – “4 Let marriage be
held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will
judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” Now, some people might read
this, and think, well the writer of Hebrews is saying: consider the union
between a man and a woman sacred, and do not let it be broken by adultery. Now,
of course the writer IS saying this, but this is not all he is saying.
Because to hold “marriage” in “honour”, we have to understand how the Bible
defines marriage, and what to honour it actually means.
already seen that the Bible flatly rejects how modern Aussies conceive of
marriage, and I guarantee most Christians conceive of marriage the same way.
Now, this is important, why on earth would the world take Christians seriously
on marriage, if Christians themselves don’t follow what the Bible says?
this about the Jews in Romans 2:21-24 – “21 …you then who teach others,
do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22
You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who
abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by
breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed
among the Gentiles because of you.”
saying that the attitude of believers to God’s own word will rub off on the
society around them. But if we do not have a strong and submissive attitude to
God’s word, and think we can do better, then society will just follow
It is basic and
correct to say that adultery is wrong, Muslims get that, ancient Greeks got
that, both these cultures executed adulterers. No, if we want to honour
marriage, then we need to understand how the Bible talks about marriage. Some only
want to define biblical marriage as a committed relationship between a man and
a woman, but while this is true, it is so much more than this. So, let’s
examine this in detail.
Bond - Marriage is a
not to be broken bond of unity between a man and his wife – Genesis 2:22-25
says, “22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made
into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is
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 his mother
and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and
his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”
I say it is
not to be broken, because it is breakable. It is broken all the time. But to
break it is to break a unity that is forged in the Spiritual realm by God. This
has spiritual and physical ramifications. All of us here from divorced families
have scars of various kinds because of this.
supposed to be sacred. Not just marriage in general, your marriage, your union,
is supposed to be sacred. The relationship between a man and a woman represents
the relationship between Christ and his Church, Ephesians 5:31-33 – “31
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am
saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you
love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
supposed to represent the relationship between Christ and his Church. Whenever
a couple, Christian or otherwise, but especially Christian, divorce, this sends
the message to the world that Christ might abandon his church. Now this is a
false message, because Christ will not abandon his Church, but it is the
message that abandoning a marriage sends. Marriage is supposed to be sacred and
life-long, not interchangeable. The Church has a lot to answer for with high
divorce rates. What we do sends a message as much as what we say.
rates show we do not honour marriage as we should.
Submit To Your Husbands – Marriage is a relationship where the woman submits to the man. Let’s see
if this fits with our cultures broken view of marriage – Ephesians 5:22-24 – “22
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the
head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is
himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives
should submit in everything to their husbands.”
try to mitigate what Ephesians says here, by saying that verse 21 says, “Submit
to one another out of reverence for Christ.” But there are several
issues with this: 1) It is a deliberately misleading thing modern translations do,
by disconnecting all the doing words from the previous verses, and making this
one, on its own, connected to the families. This is a continuous passage (illustrate
from the KJV). 2) The passage explains how mutual submission in the Church
looks for different people, and no one argues that parents should obey their
children and submit to them. 3) This would contradict every other thing in the
whole bible. Can anyone who has ever read the Bible say that it teaches
husbands should submit to their wives?
marriage is not a ship with two captains. It is a navy where Jesus is the
admiral, and he commands the man to captain the ship, and the wife to follow
her husband in everything, except sin.
Protect Your Wives –
This authority of the husband should not be abused. Christian marriage is also a
relationship where the man protects the woman – 1 Peter 3:7 - “7
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor
to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace
of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
vessel – what does
this mean? It literally is a reference to the physical frame of the human body.
In other words, it means exactly what it says it means. But the implication is
to not being violent with your wife, obviously. But it means so much more than
that. Understand that your wife’s body is weaker, so be gentle, but also do not
ask too much of her. Do not expect her to work day in and day out in the workforce
like you do, competing for employment opportunities. She is not built for that.
Don’t put burdens on her she doesn’t need to know about. Be considerate of her
marriage is where men treat their wives as very different to their equal, she
is the ‘honoured weaker vessel”. Like a treasured ornament, because that is
what the word translated vessel can also mean. The man’s body is for working the hard stuff, the
wife’s body is not.
why so many working women are stressed out today, and why their marriages
suffer in so many ways. Because men are asking something of their wives they
are not meant to do. If your response is: but she wants to work like this! Then
I say, its your job sometimes to protect your wife from herself. She lives in a
world telling her she can do everything you can do and more. But this is
killing women, and breaking them down.
This is not
my opinion, this is written about often. Men expect their wives to work, but
also to do all of the traditional mother stuff. This is too much for women: “From
the 1950s, when we had the women at home and men as breadwinners, this was the
way it was done, she was at home full-time doing all the thinking. We have
mentally not moved from that.”[i]
suffer more stress than men because their response to stress is different.
Women have a completely different hormonal system, which as a result causes
them to react more emotionally and become more exhausted on an emotional level.
Furthermore, they are exposed to more stress factors as they have to assume
many roles in their day to day.”[ii]
literally tells us exactly what the Bible warned us about: if you treat women
like men, you will break them down, because they are the weaker vessel.
Christians should not do this.
Partner – those of you following along in the
NIV will note it says “weaker partner”, which you may says disagrees with my
previous point about “partner”, but this is not the case. The word partner is
nowhere in that verse in the original Greek, it just proves my point that even
modern Christians cannot avoid using that word, so much, that they will even
put it in the Bible.
This is an excerpt from a sermon, if you wish to hear the rest click here.