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Monday, December 28, 2015

Marriage is for Life

But did He not make [ them ] one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
Malachi 2:15 

In this day & age, even among many Christians, it seems that 'easy divorce' has become 'the name of the game', so to speak! Whatever the reason, this situation is not without precedent; it is simply symptomatic of a much greater disease; the Pharisees of Jesus day faced Him with the same problem! As He told them, it seems Jesus must say to many Christians today, 'Have you not read that He who made[a] them at the beginning ‘made them male and female', and said, 'for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh' ( Matthew 19:4 ( Genesis 1:27 & 2:24 )! 

Most Christians have realized for centuries that the Creator's plan for marriage was to produce a greater inheritance for His Kingdom & some have taken this to the extreme of saying that since the act of sexual intercourse is designed for this purpose, that is the ( only ) way in which it should be employed; others have gone to the almost opposite extreme & agreed with the culture around them which says that sex is mainly ( if not wholly ) for our enjoyment. Contraceptives have allowed us to, with almost no responsibility, engage in sexual intercourse with no fear of creating a new life! With this added security, such as it is, along with certain medical procedures, many marriages today have become a matter of 'easy come, easy go' because they are based upon the freedom that these contraceptives or medical procedures provide!

To many Christians, it seems that 'divorce is not an option'! In my own case, having recently been divorced, I was brought up to believe that 'marriage is forever', that once one says those vows 'before God & this company', you're in it for life; for this reason, there are doubtless many unhappy, even abusive situations out there! Although marriage should not make one unhappy or even countenance abuse, neither should these vows, 'to love, honor & cherish, till death do us part' be taken lightly! 

In western culture, not so much in eastern culture, it seems that both marriage & divorce have become a matter of convenience; in order to keep from breaking the law or to reap certain benefits, it seems that some people will 'tie the knot' with almost no consideration other than their own selfish ends, whether it be their happiness or simply a reward or goal. Again, I can tell you from experience that when a marriage is based on anything other than a purpose to raise up godly offspring, it will not last! A true marriage, from which there is no divorce, is based on a mutual decision, a Oneness of Purpose, to promote growth within the Kingdom of our God & Father!

Having established that true marriage is for life, why do we see in the culture around us & even within the hallowed walls of Christendom the trend of easy marriage & divorce? Is it because the Church has been influenced by the culture around us, or is it because the Church has failed to positively influence the culture around Her? Most Christians would immediately be tempted to throw blame ( 'mea culpa' ) at the debauched culture around us; this is what happened to Israel of old, except that her Intended knew what the case really was ( Ezekiel 16:33 ). The blame though, must ultimately fall, as it did on Israel of old, on the Church Herself, for She is the Creator's Agent of Reconciliation; She, like Israel of old, is to influence the culture ( 'world' ) around Her!

The apostle Paul wrote, in so many words, that true marriage is a picture of the union between the Christ & His Church. Since this is true, should not Christians especially have a greater urge to serve His Kingdom rather than their own selfish longings & desires? As Agents of Reconciliation, does it not behoove us to show the culture around us the blessedness of true marriage? Praise our Heavenly Father, there is a Remnant still that has determined to honor the Union of the Christ & His Church, a growing number who have refused to bow to the false gods of statehood or the debauchery of the surrounding culture & who are raising up a generation that, armed with this knowledge, are marching forth, expanding the Kingdom wherever they roam!

Much of the reason that the Church has allowed Herself to be influenced by the culture around Her rather than the other way around is that She has forgotten the true purpose in marriage! Although happiness is most definitely a concern, first & foremost should be a mutual decision to produce 'fruit' & expand our borders. Because we are Children of the King, this is our Kingdom as well; its growth should be of utmost concern to us & if we do not bear 'fruit' of any sort, but concern ourselves only with our own happiness, our own satisfaction, though the Kingdom will continue to expand & grow, it will advance without us, leaving us & our 'marriages' wallowing in the dyst!

Charles Haddon Shank

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