What is the real meaning of marriage

The real meaning of engagement and marriage

From Pastor Wolfgang Wegert - Church and missionary organization Arche, Hamburg

(From the series of topics: Friendship, Engagement and Marriage)

Table of Contents
Sermon text
The real purpose of a marriage
Marriage should reflect Christ's glorious relationship with His church
... and represent the glory of the gospel
Biblical marriage is related to God
The engagement is also a parable
Getting married in the Bible
The meaning for us
Love until death do you part
Real love is not based on feelings

Sermon text

“Therefore a man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, and the two will be one flesh. This secret is great; but I point it to Christ and the church. "(Ephesians 5: 31-32)

Before we go into any details, we need to understand what the basic purpose of marriage is. So ask yourself: "Why am I actually married?" Or: "Why do I want to get married?" Because it's not good to be alone? Yes you are right. This is also what the Bible says (Genesis 2:18). Another answer is certainly: Because we should practice love, enjoy the joys of sexuality and of course have children. These and perhaps other reasons that we give for marriage are all human-related. But what is the reason for marriage related to God? Certainly a Christian answers now that the purpose of marriage is to be the glory of God. Correct.

The real purpose of a marriage

But our text goes a long way further. It speaks of a mystery that concerns Christ and the church. When Paul calls it a mystery, he does not mean that it cannot be understood, but that it was hidden for a while but has now been revealed.

When God created Adam as man and Eve as woman, He was doing something prophetic that was hidden from people in the beginning. They only saw the ingenuity of creation, the Sexuality and Reproduction. But God saw more. He saw in the creation of the first couple a parable of Christ and His church. God kept this truth secret until He revealed Jesus and His church. That's why writes Paul now:
A man will leave his father and mother and be attached to his wife, and the two will be one flesh. This secret is great; but I point it to Christ and the church. "
In doing so, he explains why marriage is primarily and what its primary purpose is: to reflect the wonderful relationship Christ has with His church.

Marriage should reflect Christ's glorious relationship with His church ...

Against this background, I now ask again: "Why are you married?" Or: "Why do you want to get married?" If you take the reason for your marriage from the Bible, your first answer will be, “I want my spouse to reflect on Christ's relationship with His church!” In other words, God wants us to represent the glory of the gospel through our marriage The marriage of Christians is ordained by God to be a parable for the love relationship between Jesus and His bride-to-be, that is, the wife takes the role of the church and the husband shows the nature of Christ in his relationship with his wife how He dealt with His church.

... and represent the glory of the gospel

That is why Paul does not just write that women should submit to their husbands, simply because it should be. No, there is a huge rationale for this:
„Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands like the Lord "(Ephesians 5:22).
That is, they should view their husband as a parable for Christ. This should finally make it clear to us husbands how enormous our responsibility is and what God expects of us! Further describing the conjugal parable, the apostle says:
Husbands, love your wives "(Ephesians 5:25).
But you shouldn't just love them in the general way that non-Christians do, in the sense of being nice to them
you. No, just love her
just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it. "
Think about how Jesus loves your wife: is He bitter and hard on her? Does he nag at her all the time? Is He Resentful? No, He sacrifices himself for her, He cares for her, He forgives her more than 7x77 times. If you want to know how to be towards your wife, then as a husband be like Jesus to her - peaceful, merciful, gentle, loving, patient, kind and faithful. And you will see how the respect of your wife for you grows and also the willingness to confide in and join you.

Biblical marriage is related to God

Thus, biblical marriage is not primarily related to one another to ourselves, but it is related to God. Marriage is sacred because it has a sacred cause. It depicts Jesus and His church.

People without a living faith in God do not know such a profound reason for marriage. For them, the purpose of marriage is mostly to get as much out of the relationship as possible, but not to represent Christ and His church. Because they have no idea of ​​this precious depth of marriage, it does not have anywhere near the value that it has with children of God.

The engagement is also a parable

Now that we have recognized the very first purpose of a Christian marriage, let us see what the very first reason for engagement is. It is not just a traditional practice either. Suddenly we hear that it is in the New Year's Evesecretly engaged two again at night or at some other exclusive time. The surprise coup was a complete success for the parents as well as the pastors and the congregation. But do they actually know what engagement means? Do they know that they did what is a parable of what Jesus did to His church? Indeed, in the beginning He said to her:
“I want to be engaged to you for all eternity, I want to be engaged to you in justice and justice, in grace and mercy. Yes, I will be betrothed to you in faithfulness, and you will know the LORD "(Hosea 2: 21-22).
This is an eternal promise, an irrevocable covenant. Here in this world the church of Jesus is in a state of engagement; but the marriage of the Lamb takes place in heaven. And so we read in Revelation:
„Let us rejoice and rejoice and give him honor; for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has prepared "(Revelation 19: 7).
The engagement between the Lord and his bride, the children of God, consists in the fact that he enters into a firm, irrevocable covenant here on earth according to the counsel of his will. The Lord's engagement to you and me looks like this:
„But it is God who fixes us together with you in Christ and anointed and sealed us and gave the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge "(2 Corinthians 1: 21-22).
When Jesus became engaged to us, He anointed us and sealed us tight. He has given us a pledge so that we can know without a doubt that this engagement will last forever. Because the Lord doesn't play games with us, He doesn't get engaged to us on a trial basis. No, He makes a covenant with us that will last forever and ever. With this engagement, He swears eternal loyalty to us and even swears an oath
from. Because it says:
„That is why God, when he wanted to prove to the heirs of the promise even more forcefully that his plan was not wavering, still guaranteed himself with an oath "(Hebrews 6:17).
Christ's engagement to you is therefore absolutely firm and clearly binding. But marriage is - figuratively speaking - not yet consummated here on earth. Only when we are fetched home to the Lamb's wedding are we allowed to attend the. our lust for the unveiled fullness of Christ. Here we are in the covenant of our engagement with him, he has given us his signet ring, the Holy Spirit, so to speak, and we wait in fidelity, purity and holiness for our bridegroom, so that one day we can see what is not here on earth Eyes see, no ears hear and no heart can perceive. We will be overwhelmed by the glory of our Bridegroom when the promise of engagement is redeemed and the Lord's church becomes the wife of Christ. Someone called this "love story" of Jesus and His Bride the most delicious romance in the universe.

But when is the decisive moment that we will be married to Jesus forever? The wedding in heaven or the engagement here on earth? The answer can only be: the engagement decided everything! It is therefore more important than the wedding.

Getting married in the Bible

This is exactly how the Bible sees it with regard to engagement and marriage. Because before a couple could get married they had to get engaged. But that was not a night and fog action. No, in Bible times the engagement was more important than the wedding (Exodus 22:15; Deuteronomy 20: 7; Deuteronomy 28:30). Because the bride and groom committed themselves publicly through the engagementlich for marriage and premarital fidelity (Deuteronomy 22: 23-27). Not at the wedding, the so-called homecoming, but already at the engagement, they vowed loyalty until death. The engagement was therefore just as indissoluble as the marriage itself and was a public one Act with all legal consequences. An engaged couple, like a married couple, were bound and no longer free. A fiancé didn't have to go to war. It should be absolutely avoided that he falls there (Deuteronomy 20: 7) and it should be ensured that he can keep his marriage vows. According to the law of Moses, not only spouses were punished when they broke up, but also betrothed (Deuteronomy 22: 23-27).

At the engagement, a bride price had to be paid to the parents of the betrothed (cf. Genesis 24:53; 34.12; Exodus 22.15-16; Deuteronomy 22.28-29; 1. Samuel 18 , 25; 2 Samuel 3:14). That means, just getting engaged quickly, as it is done today, did not exist in the Bible. The bride price was due at the engagement and not at the wedding, but not as a purchase price, but as a guarantee of the fiancé's oath. That is, the bride price belonged not to the girl's father but to her betrothed daughter, and it was used to ensure the bride's care should the husband dismiss her or treat her badly. The bride was given her own resources that the husband was not allowed to use (Genesis 24:59; 29:24 + 29; Joshua 15:18ff; Judges 1:14ff; 1 Kings 9:16).

Today the bride price and the dowry are often ridiculed. But the modern day alimony after divorce is a poor substitute. Because how often do women suffer from lousy payments afterwardsmoral of men, they often have to fight for their rights in court. The Bible, however, lets the man pay at the engagement and places any means of subsistence that may be needed later in the hands of the woman. So she was not an unlawful being without any claim, but God placed her under a social and legal protection that is still unparalleled today. The engagement had such a firm legal binding force that the Bible not infrequently refers to the betrothed as a woman. For example, in Matthew 1: 18-20 we read about Mary and Joseph:
“When Mary, his mother, was betrothed to Joseph, she was invented pregnant by the Holy Spirit before they were together. But Josef, her husband, who was righteous and did not want to expose her publicly, thought of secretly dismissing her. But while he was pondering this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said: Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary, your wife, to you. "
The engagement bond was legally so tight that the betrothed were already referred to as man and woman, even though they were not yet one flesh. They only became that on the day they were brought home, the feast of their wedding.

The meaning for us

What does all this mean for us today in a very practical way? We should realize that engagement and marriage are a sacred parable of the relationship Jesus has with His church. That is why engagement should be given a completely different weighting in our thinking. When you have become one to get engaged, present your intention to your parents and, above all, discuss your plan with your spiritual leaders so that they may consider the deep meaning of such a step with you and pray with you. Then you should stand in front of the congregation and publicly covet your engagement blessing. Because engagement and marriage are not a private matter. They both belong in the church, namely where Christ dwells. You take your vows before Him and before your brothers and sisters as witnesses. The church is the altar of God, the holy family of the Lord.

If we want to walk the path into marriage more pleasing to God, then go we the way of Bible. Then we want to be a parable of Christ and His church with our actions. In front of the registrar we only regulate our relationship with the state, but not our relationship with God. No registrar certifies a marriage according to the criteria of the Bible. No bridal couple is required to pledge allegiance “until death do you part.” Of course we go to the registry office, but we only consider ourselves married when we bring the bride home before God and His community on the day of the wedding and take our engagement vow affirm before the Lord.

Love until death do you part

„Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it "(Ephesians 5:25).
Paul compares love between married couples to Christ's love for His church. If God wants to teach us what love is, He leads us to the cross on which a blood-soaked man hangs, namely His beloved Son, and He declares: "That is love!" Today the necessity of self-love is often spoken of, including on Christian pulpits. But there is no word of this in the Bible. It comes through the spirit of the world, which penetrates the church and which propagates selfishness. To protect us from the lie of self-love, Jesus gives us His healing truth by He says (after a linguistically more modern translation):
“If you want to go with me, you have to give up yourself and your wishes. He must take up his cross and follow me on my way "(Matthew 16:24).
These words show us that true love is not selfish
Satisfying our own desires means, but it is directed towards the well-being of the other. True love is selfless. Jesus also shows us that real love is not based on feelings. Did He really feel like dying for us? When we read the biblical account of what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane, we notice how all of Jesus' feelings resisted being beaten and scourged, being nailed to the cross, and suffering death. But did He follow His feelings? No! Because real love doesn't follow feelings. Rather, Jesus surrendered all of His feelings to His Heavenly Father and accepted His will. His love was expressed in it.

Real love is not based on feelings

If you link your love to your feelings, it will be like your feelings - up and down and in and out - just as relationships are so general today. But God wants us to remain His in our relationships, in marriage and in the family. Give love. By His power and because He dwells in us, we are allowed to love our spouse until death do us part. Therefore, in all situations choose the love that obeys God and is there for the other, because the Lord himself has poured it out into your heart in the new birth through the Holy Spirit.

This article was taken from the "Arche Taube" issue 1 - March 2007.

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(Last update: March 6th, 2007)