SCRIPTURE STUDY: THE MARRIAGE COVENANT
I THE FOUNDATION
As a mature and fruit-bearing apple tree was fully contained in the seed of its origin, so is the full of
Scripture contained in the Book of Genesis. We may call it the “Seed Book of the Bible.”
So it is with all creation relative to the first verse of Genesis. All that heaven and earth presently are developed from that one seed act:
Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
And, so it is that the first marriage setsthe precedent for those that will follow:
Gen 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh [As together one body but perhaps also one in their children].
Jesus our Lord later confirmed that precedent: “The Pharisees also came unto him [Jesus], tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man [Male] leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife [Female]: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (Matt 19:3-6).”
II THE ORDER OF SUBMISSION IN A CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Paul urged the believers at Corinth to follow his own life's example. However, they were to follow him only as he followed Christ. As they did so they followed not Paul but the Christ who Paul was following:
1 Cor 11:1-2
11 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
Now Paul uses this same principle of submissive following of himself as he follows Christ in establishing the headship of the man over the woman: the woman submits to the headship of her husband only as he is in submission to the headship of Christ, thereby submitting herself to Christ through her husband and ultimately to God who is the head of Christ:
1 Cor 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.
III THE WOMAN'S DECEPTION: THE REASON FOR AN ORDER OF SUBMISSION
Eve, being deceived by the serpent, first entered the transgression. Adam, although not deceived by the serpent, paid heed the voice of his wife [Gen 3:17] and willfully disobeyed God:
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise [1Jn 2:16], she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
1 Tim 2:14 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
Rom 5:12-14 12 Wherefore, as by one man [Not woman: she was deceived] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
Why did Adam transgress God's commandment? Perhaps, being a figure of Him that was to come (Christ the Last Adam), he chose to die, as would Christ for His wife, the Church, rather than live on without her. This same level of love is that expected of a Christian husband for his own wife (Eph 5:25 above).
IV THE COVERING
In the beginning God gave the man instruction as to the dressing and keeping of the garden:
Gen 2:15-17 15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress [To work] it and to keep [To protect] it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Eve was taken from Adam's side after the Lords instruction to him concerning the garden. Therefore, we might rightly conclude that Adam was responsible for her knowing and obeying those instructions. However she gave credence to satan's lies. Again, I choose to believe that because the first Adam prefigured Jesus Christ the last Adam he did instruct her, but she chose to believe the serpent. Also I believe, for the same reason, that Adam chose transgression over obedience and to “ love his wife, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it,
Because satan continues to this day his unrelenting attack on womankind it is imperative that a Christian father cover his daughters in the Lord from their birth until the day He gives her hand in covenant marriage to a Christian man who will continue to cover her in Christ till his or her death.
V CONTRACT VS. COVENANT
In our nation, the United States of America, when a Christian minister joins a Christian couple in marriage he normally acts at once as an appointed officer of the State of their residence and as one divinely ordained to minister the vows they will make to one another before God our Father. Before our civil government the couple enters into a contract of marriage that may be lawfully broken by either of them at any time for any reason, or, for no reason at all. Before God our Father the couple enters into a covenant of marriage that is never to be broken for any reason by either except in the death of the other. Upon the death of either, the other may then remarry, but only in the Lord:
1 Cor 7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
VI CHRISTIANS MARRY CHRISTIANS
2 Cor 6:14-18 [This passage pertains to marriage, but also to much more] 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
VII SEX WITHIN THE COVENANT OF MARRIAGE
Heb 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
1 Cor 7:1-11 1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. 7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. 10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
VIII SEXUAL FIDELITY IN THE CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
A man and his wife in biblical covenant relationship reflect the image and glory of God. To corrupt that image and glory with any form of divinely forbidden sexual relationship may just be the worst form of idolatry:
Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
1 Cor 6:15-20 15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication [Run!! Don't stand and fight. You are not THAT strong]. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
1 Cor 10:7-15 7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry [Run!! Don't stand and fight. Take that way of escape. You are not THAT strong].