Sabbath, December 27, 2008
“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you….” Ephesians 5:2, 3.
• To understand the origin of marriage as a divine institution.
• To study the principles upon which God intended this institution to be based.
• To consider the warnings about marriage in the Holy Scriptures.
• To enjoy the spiritual and social benefits of this sacred institution.
“Marriage, a union for life, is a symbol of the union between Christ and His church. The spirit that Christ manifests toward His church is the spirit that the husband and wife are to manifest toward each other. If they love God supremely, they will love each other in the Lord, ever treating each other courteously, drawing in even cords. In their mutual self-denial and self-sacrifice they will be a blessing to each other….” –The Adventist Home, p. 95.
The marriage institution
1. What are the main concepts to be considered in marriage?
Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
“God Himself gave Adam a companion. He provided ‘an help meet for him’–a helper corresponding to him–one who was fitted to be his companion, and who could be one with him in love and sympathy. Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self, showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 46.
“Then, as the Creator joined the hands of the holy pair in wedlock, saying, A man shall ‘leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one,’ He enunciated the law of marriage for all the children of Adam to the close of time. That which the eternal Father Himself had pronounced good was the law of highest blessing and development for man.” –The Adventist Home, p. 340.
2. What should be considered before marriage?
Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Proverbs 13:16 Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.
“Let every step toward a marriage alliance be characterized by modesty, simplicity, sincerity, and an earnest purpose to please and honor God. Marriage affects the afterlife both in this world and in the world to come. A sincere Christian will make no plans that God cannot approve….
“Every marriage engagement should be carefully considered, for marriage is a step taken for life. Both the man and the woman should carefully consider whether they can cleave to each other through the vicissitudes of life as long as they both shall live.” –The Adventist Home, pp. 49, 340.
“No one who fears God can without danger connect himself with one who fears Him not. ‘Can two walk together, except they be agreed?’ (Amos 3:3). The happiness and prosperity of the marriage relation depends upon the unity of the parties; but between the believer and the unbeliever there is a radical difference of tastes, inclinations, and purposes. They are serving two masters, between whom there can be no concord. However pure and correct one’s principles may be, the influence of an unbelieving companion will have a tendency to lead away from God…. The Lord’s direction is, ‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers’ (2 Corinthians 6:14, 17, 18).” –Conflict and Courage, p. 57.
3. How should the marriage bond be preserved?
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
“All who enter into matrimonial relations with a holy purpose–the husband to obtain the pure affections of a woman’s heart, the wife to soften and improve her husband’s character and give it completeness–fulfill God’s purpose for them.
“Christ came not to destroy this institution, but to restore it to its original sanctity and elevation. He came to restore the moral image of God in man, and He began His work by sanctioning the marriage relation.” –The Adventist Home, p. 99.
“Marriage, when joined with purity and holiness, truth and righteousness, is one of the greatest blessings ever given to the human family….” –In Heavenly Places, p. 202.
4. What advice did the wise Solomon give regarding the institution of marriage?
Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
Proverbs 5:18, 19 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
“The divine love emanating from Christ never destroys human love, but includes it. By it human love is refined and purified, elevated and ennobled. Human love can never bear its precious fruit until it is united with the divine nature and trained to grow heavenward. Jesus wants to see happy marriages, happy firesides.
“Like every other one of God’s good gifts entrusted to the keeping of humanity, marriage has been perverted by sin; but it is the purpose of the gospel to restore its purity and beauty….
“The grace of Christ, and this alone, can make this institution what God designed it should be–an agent for the blessing and uplifting of humanity. And thus the families of earth, in their unity and peace and love, may represent the family of heaven.
“The condition of society presents a sad comment upon Heaven’s ideal of this sacred relation. Yet even for those who have found bitterness and disappointment where they had hoped for companionship and joy, the gospel of Christ offers a solace.” –The Adventist Home, pp. 99, 100.
5. On what principles did God intend marriage to be based?
a) Fellowship: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14. “Your companionship in the marriage relation should be close and tender, holy and elevated, breathing a spiritual power into your lives, that you may be everything to each other that God’s word requires. When you reach the condition that the Lord desires you to reach, you will find heaven below and God in your life.” –The Adventist Home, p. 112.
b) Temperance: “… Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:23; “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” Proverbs 25:28.
c) Moral purity: “But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matthew 5:28.
“Like every other one of God’s good gifts entrusted to the keeping of humanity, marriage has been perverted by sin; but it is the purpose of the gospel to restore its purity and beauty.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 64.
d) True love: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.” “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.” Ephesians 5:25, 28.
6. Although Adam had no human father or mother, why did he receive the marriage law in Genesis 2:24? What principles can be found in this divine command? Matthew 19:5, 6.
Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Matthew 19:5, 6 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
“Around each family there is a sacred circle that should be kept unbroken. Within this circle no other person has a right to come. Let not the husband or the wife permit another to share the confidences that belong solely to themselves.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 252.
7. What is the secret of happiness in marriage?
Ephesians 5:33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
“Make Christ first and last and best in everything. As your love for Him becomes deeper and stronger, your love for each other will be purified and strengthened.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 361.
“The sweetest type of heaven is a home where the Spirit of the Lord presides.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 252.
“Only where Christ reigns can there be deep, true, unselfish affection.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 358.
Dangers and benefits in marriage
8. What dangers is marriage to counteract?
1 Corinthians 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
“Polygamy was practiced at an early date. It was one of the sins that brought the wrath of God upon the antediluvian world. Yet after the Flood it again became widespread. It was Satan’s studied effort to pervert the marriage institution, to weaken its obligations and lessen its sacredness; for in no surer way could he deface the image of God in man and open the door to misery and vice.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 338.
9. What other warnings are given in the Scriptures regarding the marriage bond?
1 Corinthians 7:10, 11 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
Malachi 2:16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
Luke 16:18 And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.
10. Explain the spiritual and social benefits of a well-established marriage.
Luke 1:5-6 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
1 Peter 3:1-6 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
“God desires His people to bring into their homes all the peace and joy and love that it is possible for them to have. The love that they bring into the home, they will bring into the church. My brethren and sisters, you can bring the peace of heaven into the home and into the church, if you will sanctify to God the talent of speech.” –The Upward Look, p. 210.
11. When is marriage a blessing?
Genesis 2:18, 21-24 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him…. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Genesis 1:27, 28 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
“God celebrated the first marriage. Thus the institution has for its originator the Creator of the universe. ‘Marriage is honourable’; it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one of the two institutions that, after the fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise. When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man’s social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature.” –The Adventist Home, pp. 25, 26.
12. In whom will all families be blessed? Why?
Isaiah 45:25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.
Genesis 28:14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
“In the call of Abraham the Lord had said, ‘I will bless thee;… and thou shalt be a blessing:… and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.’ Genesis 12:2, 3. The same teaching was repeated through the prophets.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 27.