Seeking Jesus First - July 8, 2023

Seeking Jesus First - July 8, 2023
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Marriage - Part One

What is marriage? Marriage is a voluntary lifelong covenant between a man and a woman who have recognized their own desire to love and honor each other above all others.

The Bible says, “Marriage is honorable among all.” All cultures honored marriage.

One minister calls it a “death march to a life camp.” I think this means that each decides that each other’s needs are more important than each other’s wants. I voluntarily put my wife ahead of myself. My wife voluntarily puts her husband ahead of herself.

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4, NKJV)

According to this passage, there is one safe place for people to have sex - the marriage bed. In that bed, the two can pleasure each other in any way as long as they are loving each other and serving each other unselfishly. The husband doesn’t coerce the wife and the wife doesn’t shame the husband and visa versa.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1, NKJV) “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13, NKJV)

We are not meant to be enslaved by each other through manipulation or threat or anything else. When God delivered us from the law and gave us Hs grace, He did not desire us to use the liberty that comes through Hs grace to hurt others.

Grace reveals the love of God. The love of God activates faith. Faith accesses the grace of God. The grace of God reveals the love of God and here we go again. This is how we move from grace to grace and from faith to faith. It is a growth cycle wrapped around the love of God.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:22–33, NKJV)

The church, which was run by men, has stressed the submission of the woman to her husband for centuries. It seemed to make the wife a slave to her husband. But we can’t just stop reading at verse 21 and we can’t ignore the implications of the comparison of Christ and the church.

People choose to submit themselves to Christ only after Christ laid down His life. Christ revealed His love to us through His sacrifice. He revealed Hs power to us through His resurrection. Christ became flesh. He humbled Himself. He took on flesh and blood and submitted Himself to persecution and punishment. Those who followed Him did so of their own free will. They received from Him because He was giving them love and life.

Husbands are the initiators of sacrificial love in marriage. Husbands are the initiators of humble sacrifice in marriage. Husbands are willing to suffer the “piercings” and “wounds” during marriage as they reveal their unconditional love for their wives. They do it willingly. A wife does not command this sacrifice. That would be a selfish misuse of her role as wife. The husbands love for his wife commands his sacrifice.  When Jesus talked to the disciples about marriage, they said, “If that is true, it is better not to marry.” Jesus responded something like this, “Yeah, but most people can’t handle that.”

Just as it would be a selfish misuse of her role as wife to command sacrifice, it would be a selfish misuse of the husband’s role if he were to demand submission. Each person is to possess his own soul in patience. The wife chooses her level of submission as she grows in the Lord. She offers herself freely to her husband and begins to serve him through love motivated faith in God and in him. The husband chooses his level of sacrifice as he grows in The Lord. He offers himself freely to his wife and begins to serve her freely through love motivate faith in God and in her.

Husband, love your wife as you love your own self. Wife, reverence your husband. These are basic needs for each spouse. For a marriage to flourish, a wife needs love and a husband needs respect.