By Caleb Sattler
The state of marriage is in the hands of the State.
It’s also in the hands of news and entertainment. Television characters, headlining legislation and connections with loved ones all provide diverse examples for living, or attempting to live, the married life.
But marriage should be in the hands of God. In fact, it is. Marriage is God’s.
Lutherans encountering opposition to biblical marriage — and we all are — must become well-equipped in reflecting upon, discussing and living in marriage. Scripture uniformly teaches what becoming and living as one flesh before God means. Readers in and out of the Lutheran church recognize the earliest example: Adam and Eve, the first to be one flesh (Gen. 2:18-24). The Creator brought them into being, giving them to each other to live committedly with one another. And God didn’t stop at making marriage. He also gave His children complete instructions: The husband and wife, like Christ and the Church, should walk together in love (Eph. 5:22-33).
The world encourages otherwise. Lutherans are surrounded by options other than godly matrimony. Today, one can legally marry anything if no court precedent opposes it. A man could try to marry his car if it makes him happy. People continually address marriage as a matter of convenience or entitlement. In entertainment, it’s a person’s isolated feature, a solution to a problem or a burden — a Facebook status or returnable merchandise rather than a God-fearing way of life. Sadly, legality and preference drive the marriage concern today, not divine design.
Reduced, the concern is, “What pleases me?”
Married couples face pressure to ask this selfish question in many forms. Is this making me happy? Is this easy for me? Is this fulfilling my goals?
We miss the point in asking these. Instead, marriage looks to Christ and relies on forgiveness. It puts one’s wishes aside and benefits the other with the love that is described in 1 Corinthians 13. It returns to Scripture, prays unceasingly, forgives.
Were Adam and Eve perfect? No. They sinned and led each other astray, even blaming each other (Gen. 3:12). Though God’s punishment changed everything for them, it did not end Adam and Eve’s union as man and wife. They looked at each other and moved on together, living as one in God, trusting Him, receiving forgiveness from each other and, most importantly, from Him.
Is any marriage perfect? No. But it’s clear that marriage in God’s hands is best.
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