Each year the first of May, I try to preach on marriage because my wedding anniversary is in May. After looking over the letter I sent you last year, I reached the decision to send it again this year. If you don’t save these monthly letters, here it is again for your consideration and thought.
Our country has gone “downhill” over the past year. It seems that we are sinking to lower and lower levels of practice and morality. I call on you who read this letter to determine by God’s grace and strength (see Psalm 46:1) that you will stand by the Bible’s teaching (see Ephesians 6:13) about morality.
Since it is Marion’s and my 54th anniversary and some other folks in our church also have been married over 50 years, the world in which we live has gone “crazy” with what it says about marriage and homosexuality and transgender beliefs; thus, I write to you on what the Bible has to say about marriage.
My object is not to be critical of those who don’t have perfect marital relationships. None of us have achieved that. This is about God’s ideal. Nor is my intention to alienate those who are not married. The Scriptures are very clear (see 1 Corinthians 7:1-9), there is a season for singleness, and in some cases God has gifted individuals for singleness.
My objective is simply to encourage fellow believers about God’s purpose and design for marriage, and that we must strive to uphold His ideal for this foundational and divine institution.
Marriage is in decline in our nation, unwed cohabitation and unwed births have grown enormously, and so has the number of children who grow up in fragile families.
The numbers are virtually the same for Christians and non-Christians when it comes to divorce. A study by Rutgers a few years ago stated: “As an institution, marriage has lost much of its legal, religious and social meaning and authority. It has dwindled to a couple’s relationship, mainly designed for the sexual and emotional gratification of each adult.” Marriage is no longer viewed as sacred or even special. The Supreme Court ruling saying it can be between any people – man and man, woman and woman definitely goes contrary to the teaching of the Bible (see Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7-8; Ephesians 5:31). No men and women sitting on their high chairs at the court can change the Bible’s clear teaching.
The question before us today is why should we hang on to and protect the institution of marriage? (see Genesis 2:18-25). God’s purpose for marriage is for male/female companionship. Adam was alone in the Garden of Eden. He had no one that was suitable for him so God made a female (Genesis 2:20b-23). Folks, marriage between a man and woman is God’s ideal. It is not something that evolved over time.
God designed marriage between a man and a woman to be the first system of interdependent human relations; as the primary relationship of the family.
Married individuals are not carbon copies of each other, but two people who are both being transformed into the image of Christ.
Let me share with you a brief outline from an article in the “Parsonage” by Focus on the Family some years ago:
God’s purpose in “two” becoming “one.”
1. Genesis 1:26-27 To Mirror God’s Image
2. Genesis 2:18; 1 Corinthians 11:11 To Mutually Complete One Another (mutual interdependence)
3. Ephesians 5:25-33 To Illustrate the Relationship Between Christ and the Church
4. Genesis 1:28a To Multiply Godly Legacy
It is critical that we as the church honor this Divine Institution for what it is: God’s purpose for His created order. This order is being challenged today, but please remember this—we can learn to live in civil harmony even with those who disagree with us on these important issues, and that it is our responsibility to love our neighbors (see Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39; Romans 13:9; and Galatians 5:14) and perhaps even more so when disagreements arise, remembering that the goal is to win your neighbor with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The coming days ahead appear to be troubled ones for Bible believers. However, the Scripture promises us in Psalm 46:1 “God is
our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” and in Psalm 62:7 “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.”
Let me encourage you with the last words in Ephesians 6:13, “…and having done all to stand.” You can always stand in the strength the Lord will give to you daily if you just ask Him.
Standing for our Lord
Dr. Frederick W. Carroll