God’s plan “from the beginning” for His image-bearers included the gift of marriage. He “made them male and female.” A man from one family and a woman from another would form a new and exclusive relationship with the possible fruit of precious new lives.
People throughout history have celebrated the taking of solemn vows of the “two” becoming “one flesh,” yet because of our “hardness of heart,” sins and offenses have led to the destruction of these important covenants between husbands and wives. Nonetheless, it remains God’s directive that what He has “joined together,” people must not “separate,” except in the case of union-destroying offenses such as “sexual immorality.” Even then, though, we can hope for reconciliation.
The only godly alternative to a public wedding prior to conjugal intimacy is the Lord’s special provision of celibacy. Not everyone can live in singleness with joy. Some few may conclude that they will serve the Lord best without the relationship that Adam and Eve first celebrated. “Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”
For the great majority of human beings, family life will mean important binding commitments of love and submission. Many see the little ones that may come from a God-designed sexual union as an inconvenience. Jesus had a different agenda. “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
When we contemplate our record of honoring God’s Law, we especially feel the guilt of our failure to care for those in our own households. We must remember that “there is only One who is good.” Human beings can only take refuge in Christ. He is the best of all husbands and He will protect His bride forever. All who give their lives to Him will gain far more than they give away for His sake. The only Man that we can trust for eternal life is Jesus.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Our Father, You have given many in Your church the blessing of having lifelong partners in marriage. This one-flesh relationship is such a wonderful provision, so why do we engage in entangling sins that are so destructive? There is much sadness all around us. We mourn our sinful thoughts, words and actions. We regret the seed of hate that has brought about the destruction of countless families, particularly among Your people. Help us to find life again after such significant loss. Lord Jesus we hear Your call to us that we should follow You in this and in every way. We offer up to You now all that we are and everything that we possess. Your demand for our obedience is absolute, but complete faithfulness seems impossible. You have the power to do things that we cannot do. Please give us the fullness of Your kingdom, and fill us even now with the joy of holiness.