Today, marriage is on a slippery slope. More and more millennials and even other generations have decided to shake off the need for “traditional marriage” instead, opting to simply live together. After all, marriage is just a piece of paper right?
Well, to answer that question in short, no, marriage is not just a piece of paper. Marriage is an institution that was created by God. God is in the business of relationship and He is certainly in the business of honor and love. In fact, love is not just something that God does, it is what He IS.
God designed us for two primary reasons; first to love Him and to be loved by Him and secondly to experience relationship with Him. A huge part of our relationship with Him comes through our relationship with each other.
Matthew 22:36-40 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
36 Teacher, which [a]kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light—which are heavy?]
37 And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).
38 This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.
40 These two commandments [b]sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets.
But, we aren’t just talking about relationship or love, we are talking about covenant and God is all about having covenant with those He is in relationship with and for us as His children to be in covenant with one another.
So why would two people want to unite in marriage and a marriage covenant?
Marriage is a very special kind of covenant because it is where two people actually become as one person and are connected not only on a physical and mental level, but a spiritual level as well.
God designed relationships to have intimacy and marriage has its own unique and exclusive forms of intimacy that cannot be experienced outside of the boundaries of marriage between a woman and a man. The level of relational commitment, love, honor, transparency and exclusivity mirror our relationship and covenant with Jesus Christ in the highest possible way for natural relationships.
More and more, we see the church embracing world systems of thinking and world standards concerning the declining importance of and definition of marriage rather than those that are biblically defined and upheld by Jesus Christ.
Putting aside for just a moment the doctrinal issues of doing this, it presents a huge dilemma for believers because it begins to erode the foundations of what relationship and covenant with Jesus Christ are and the exclusivity of our relationship with Him.
If we as the church begin to allow the boundaries of marriage in the natural to be compromised and the exclusivity and honor of marriage becomes less than what it is as defined by God to be, then we soon find ourselves in danger of allowing the same compromises to infiltrate and destroy our relationship, intimacy and exclusivity with Jesus Christ.
In the context of intimate relationship between a man and a woman, there is no equal experience to marriage. In the context of intimate relationship between us and Jesus Christ there is no equal experience to marriage. The natural mirrors the supernatural and in all of the scriptures, throughout all of creation and the ages we see the truth of this.
Hebrews 12:2 paints a picture of the type of love, commitment, honor and selflessness that covenant and marriage can produce as exemplified by Jesus Himself:
Hebrews 12:2 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
2 Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
The write of Hebrews refers to the “joy” that was set before Jesus. That joy, is us; His bride, His beloved.
Jesus, looked into the future and saw us as we are in Revelation chapter 19 –
7 Let us rejoice and shout for joy [exulting and triumphant]! Let us celebrate and ascribe to Him glory and honor, for the marriage of the Lamb [at last] has come, and His bride has prepared herself.
8 She has been permitted to dress in fine (radiant) linen, dazzling and white—for the fine linen is (signifies, represents) the righteousness (the upright, just, and godly living, deeds, and conduct, and right standing with God) of the saints (God’s holy people).
9 Then [the angel] said to me, Write this down: Blessed (happy, [b]to be envied) are those who are summoned (invited, called) to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me [further], These are the true words (the genuine and exact declarations) of God.
Marriage, allows for us to see beyond ourselves and gives us an opportunity to see the very best in another and to love and honor them as the person God is calling them to be. Marriage gives us a unique place in another person’s life to be a part of the journey and experience to fulfil their destiny in Christ.
It allows us to speak into, influence and love through things that only covenant relationship can bring about; things that only the deepest of commitments and the most selfless of acts can produce.
Through the experience of marriage, it can help us grow in the revelation knowledge that we are not only the one that Jesus love, but we are the one that Jesus is in love with.
While God has called some people to a life of celibacy for the sake of his kingdom, overall, marriage is a gift from God that we have an option to experience and for anyone who is involved in intimate relationship with a member of the opposing gender, the benefits of joy, intimacy, relationship and fulfillment cannot be imitated or argued.
God has created us for love, for relationship and for covenant. We as the church must always strive to see the model and example set by God as not confining rules, but as treasure that elevates our life to the fullest of joy and satisfaction.
John 15:11 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
11 I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.