Is marriage important to God?
The Office of National Statistics released figures yesterday which showed that the marriage rate in 2015 was the lowest since records began in 1862 and about a third the level in 1972. Is this a problem?
The best place to start is with God, and God is a God of community and relationship. He existed before creation as the Trinity of Father, Son and Spirit; they created the universe together (Genesis 1v1-2, Colossians 1v15-16). When he made man, he said, “Let us make man in our image … male and female he created them … for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh.” (Genesis 1v26-27 & 2v24)
But God is more than a God of community and relationship, he is also a God of covenant ( a covenant is a contract or promise). He makes promises to those with whom he is in relationship. A common term in the Old Testament is “covenant faithfulness” where God is always faithful, but mankind often unfaithful. The covenant then forms a key part of any relationship. In our modern society, we don’t like to commit hence we have monthly contracts. But for us as the people of God, we are completely reliant on the covenant that God made with us in the blood of Jesus Christ; if God were to choose to renege on that covenant or to make it only a 12-month contract, we are in a hopeless situation.
Jesus builds on these core themes of relationship and covenant when he quotes the above verse (Matthew 19v1-12). In fact, he goes further and makes each marriage a God-made thing “What God has joined together, let man not separate.” Thus, the core element of a wedding is the uniting promises which are made by a man and woman as they are joined together in the sight of God.
Therefore, marriage comes out of the essence of who God is. God is both a God of community and covenant, let us not separate these two concepts, but do our utmost to ensure each marriage is one of both covenant and community. God “joins” each marriage, they are core to his purposes for the family and society, and he is interested in how our marriages function (eg Ephesians 5v22-33). Marriage is an opportunity for us to grow as believers, as each partner builds the other up in the faith, and as each partner gives challenges to the other in terms of patience and love!! Of course, not everyone marries – Jesus never married, Paul never married – and the Christian family is to operate for the benefit of all.
Married? Maybe getting married? – I would encourage you to consider the Care for the Family “It takes Two” evening on 20th March at the Park Inn in Telford. Full details and booking here: https://www.careforthefamily.org.uk/events/marriage-events/it-takes-two .
May God strengthen the marriages within our church, and may those who are not married know and feel they are part of our family,
With love and blessing,
- Compassion Experience – This is a virtual reality filled bus which is being hosted this Saturday and Sunday at Dudley and enables participants to enter into the work of Compassion. Details at compassionuk.org/experience
- Fairtrade – There are 2 more Sundays of coffee and tea tasting! Please express your opinions on the sheets.