Chapter 13:4-6 (ESV) - Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”
Question to consider: What are some of the attributes of marriage that classify it as a covenant?
We live in a unique time of history in which the traditional understanding of love and marriage has been entirely transformed. As a Christian, we must derive our definitions from scripture as it is the revealed word of God and does not change to suit cultural norms which vary from age to age.
According to scripture, marriage is the only other covenant in which we enter besides the everlasting covenant with Christ. In Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul treats the relationship between a husband and wife as a visual representation of Christ’s relationship with His church. Jesus proclaims in Matthew 19:4-6, ““Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” In this proclamation, you can see that Jesus affirms that the marriage covenant goes all the way back to creation, that people were created as either male or female, and that in marriage, the two are united by God until they are separated by death.
The context of the conversation was a discussion with the Pharisees who were questioning Him about divorce. He points out that divorce was only permitted because of the hardness of people’s hearts and that even then it was only to be for marital infidelity. Anything else would be called adultery in God’s eyes.
I realize this is extremely hard for people to hear these days because much of the world has accepted the reality of sex outside of marriage, of different sexual orientations, of non-binary genders, and marriages that involve many different preferences and lifestyles. Once people’s preferences change, or they grow increasingly dissatisfied with their current relationship, our society welcomes divorce. If you think I’ve completely misinterpreted scripture, I’m happy to listen to your arguments about where I’ve gotten off track. However, it’s also important that we set aside our personal preferences and let God’s word stand as the authority of truth in our lives if we belong to Christ.
It shouldn’t surprise us that the world rebels against God’s established order for sexuality and marriage because the world rebels against all of God’s commands. The world also tells us to accumulate for ourselves treasure here on earth despite the writer of today’s passage telling us to be content with what we have. Jesus himself proclaimed, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
One of my personal verses to live by is what Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:6, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Dear heavenly father, I know I have fallen short of your glory in my views on marriage and sexuality, and I have not always been content with what you’ve given me. Please forgive me and help me to understand and be changed by Your truth. Thank you for the promise of new life in Christ. Amen.