PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE

Is it necessary for a Christian to marry? What is the purpose of marriage? The Bible has a lot to say about this topic. Since the first marriage was between the first man and the first woman, it is assumed that marriage is God’s will for most people. It was instituted in the dispensation of innocence and is therefore a holy institution. The first reason that the Bible gives for the existence of marriage is simple: Adam was lonely and needed a helper (Genesis 2:18). This is the primary purpose of marriage—fellowship, companionship, and mutual help and comfort.

One purpose of marriage is to create a stable home in which children can grow and thrive. The best marriage is between two believers (2 Corinthians 6:14) who can produce godly offspring (Malachi 2:13–15). In Malachi, God tells the Israelites that He will not accept their offerings because they have been unfaithful to the wives of their youth. This shows how much God cares about marriage being kept intact. Not only that, but He tells them He was seeking “godly offspring.” This is a puzzling passage, and has been interpreted to mean a) that godly offspring are the purpose of marriage; b) that a good marriage between two godly people will mean that any children they have will tend to be godly as well; c) God wanted the Israelites to be faithful to their wives instead of leaving them for foreign women who would produce for them ungodly offspring because of the idolatry of those nations; and d) that God Himself was seeking His own offspring (the people) to exhibit godliness by their faithfulness. In any of these interpretations, we see a common theme: the children of faithful people will tend to be faithful, too.

Not only does marriage teach children how to be faithful and give them a stable environment in which to learn and grow, it has a sanctifying effect on both marriage partners when they submit to God’s law (Ephesians 5). Every marriage has difficult moments or difficult dynamics. When two sinful people are trying to create a life together, they must submit to God’s command to love each another as God has loved us—selflessly (1 John 3:16). Our attempts to follow God’s commands in our own strength tend to end in failure, and that failure tends to make the believer more aware of his dependence on God and more open to the Spirit’s work in him, which tends to result in godliness. And godliness helps us to follow God’s commands. So, marriage is very helpful for the one trying to live a godly life; it helps to scrub the heart clean of selfishness and other impurities.

Marriage also protects individuals from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 7:2). The world we live in is full of sexual images, innuendo, and temptation. Even if a person doesn’t pursue sexual sin, it pursues him or her, and it is very hard to escape it. Marriage provides a healthy place to express sexuality, without opening oneself up to the severe emotional (and many times physical) damage that is caused by casual, non-committed sexual relationships. It is clear that God created marriage for our good (Proverbs 18:22), to make us happy, to promote a healthier society, and to produce holiness in our lives.

Finally, marriage is a beautiful picture of the relationship between Christ and His church. The body of believers that make up the Church are collectively called bride of Christ. As Bridegroom, Jesus gave His life for His bride, “to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word” (Ephesians 5:25–26), and His selfless act provides an example for all husbands. At the second coming of Christ, the church will be united with the Bridegroom, the official “wedding ceremony” will take place, and with it the eternal union of Christ and His bride will be actualized (Revelation 19:7–921:1–2).

Prophet Nathan Emol

Email: nathanemol@gmail.com for any support or inquires

GOD HATES DIVORCE

Malachi 2:16 is the oft-quoted passage that tells how God feels about divorce. “‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel.” But this passage says much more than that. If we back up to verse 13, we read, “You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, ‘Why does he not?’ Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.”

We learn several things from this passage. First, God does not listen to the pleas for blessing from those who have broken the covenant of marriage. First Peter 3:7 says, “Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (emphasis added). There is a direct correlation between the way a man treats his wife and the effectiveness of his prayers.

God clearly explains His reasons for esteeming marriage so highly. He says it was He who “made them one” (Malachi 2:15). Marriage was God’s idea. If He designed it, then He gets to define it. Any deviation from His design is abhorrent to Him. Marriage is not a contract; it is a covenant. Divorce destroys the whole concept of covenant that is so important to God.

In the Bible, God often provides illustrations to teach spiritual realities. When Abraham offered his son Isaac on the altar, it was a picture of the day, hundreds of years later, that the Lord God would offer His only Son (Genesis 22:9Romans 8:32). When God required blood sacrifices for the forgiveness of sin, He was painting a picture of the perfect sacrifice He Himself would make on the cross (Hebrews 10:10).

Marriage is a picture of the covenant God has with His people (Hebrews 9:15). A covenant is an unbreakable commitment, and God wants us to understand how serious it is. When we divorce someone with whom we made a covenant, it makes a mockery of the God-created concept of covenant relationship. The Church (those individuals who have received Jesus as Savior and Lord) is presented in Scripture as the “Bride of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2Revelation 19:7-9). We, as His people, are “married” to Him through a covenant that He established. A similar illustration is used in Isaiah 54:5 of God and Israel.

When God instituted marriage in the Garden of Eden, He created it as a picture of the greatest unity human beings can know (Genesis 2:24). He wanted us to understand the unity we can have with Him through redemption (1 Corinthians 6:17). When a husband or wife chooses to violate that covenant of marriage, it mars the picture of God’s covenant with us.

Malachi 2:15 gives us another reason that God hates divorce. He says He is “seeking godly offspring.” God’s design for the family was that one man and one woman commit themselves to each other for life and rear children to understand the concept of covenant as well. Children reared in a healthy, two-parent home have a far greater likelihood of establishing successful marriages themselves.

When Jesus was asked why the Law permitted divorce, He responded that God had only allowed it “because of the hardness of your hearts, but from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:8). God never intended divorce to be a part of human experience, and it grieves Him when we harden our hearts and break a covenant that He created.

Prophet Nathan Emol

Email: nathanemol@gmail.com for any support or inquires

SOLVING MARRIAGE PROBLEMS

Marriage is the most intimate relationship two human beings can experience, second only to a relationship with God. Marriage brings out the best and the worst in most people, as two separate individuals struggle to live as “one flesh” (Matthew 19:6Mark 10:8). At the root of most marriage problems is selfishness. When one or both partners choose to live as though his or her needs deserve top consideration, conflict results.

There are specific verses that address behavior of both husbands and wives. Some of those are 1 Peter 3:1-8Colossians 3:18-19, and Titus 2:3-5. Although not addressing marriage directly, Philippians 2:3-13 is an excellent recipe for resolving marriage problems. This passage tells us to adopt the attitude Christ demonstrated when He set aside His rights and privileges as the Son of God and came to earth as a humble servant. Verses 3 and 4 say, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” When that exhortation is applied to marriage, almost any obstacle can be overcome.

Certainly, seeking counsel from a pastor or Christian marriage counselor is a biblical thing to do (Proverbs 19:20). Getting counseling is an excellent way to clear misconceptions about marriage roles, to see a situation from another viewpoint, and to distinguish between God’s standards and those of the world.

Ephesians 5:21-33 gives specific instructions for both husbands and wives. A husband is to love his wife “as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for her” (verse 25). Such self-sacrificing love creates an atmosphere in which a wife can more easily submit to her husband’s leadership. When a husband is committed to demonstrating love for his wife, and a wife is committed to graciously allowing her husband to lead, the marriage will work.

It is also wise to pay close attention to the verses just before the specific marriage instructions. Verses 18-21 say, “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”

Notice all the commands that precede the marriage instruction. All Christians are to

• refuse to get drunk
• be filled with the Spirit
• encourage each other
• sing hymns and songs of praise
• have an attitude of continual worship
• live in a spirit of gratitude
• submit graciously to each other

We miss vital truth when we skip straight to the marriage instruction without applying the practical guidelines in the preceding verses. When each spouse applies those truths to his or her personal life and strives to make his or her relationship with the Lord the primary focus, marriage problems take a back seat. When two committed Christians purpose to seek God’s heart and follow His will no matter what, there is no problem that they cannot work through.

Prophet Nathan Emol

Email: nathanemol@gmail.com for any support or inquires

WHY SHOULD I GET MARRIED?

Many cultures in the world today are losing the understanding of what marriage was designed to be. We live in a world that says we should get what we want any way we can get it. Marriage is sometimes seen as confinement that may hamper our ability to have what we want when we want it. Marriage today is sometimes mocked as an archaic institution that has lost its relevance.

So what is marriage? Has it become outdated? It is important to realize first of all that marriage is not a man-made concept. When God created the first man in His own image (Genesis 1:272:7), He gave that man everything he needed to be content. Yet, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). So God created a woman from Adam’s side and brought her to the man. The first marriage occurred when God created a woman to complement the needs of the man so that, when joined in covenant, they become one flesh. The idea of “one flesh” implies an unbreakable seal meant to last a lifetime. When Jesus was asked about divorce, He answered, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh…So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:5-6). Notice that it is God who joins a man and woman in marriage. In Malachi 2:14, God reminds us that He was “a witness between you and the wife of your youth.” God takes marriage very seriously.

Marriage was the first institution God created. It preceded the establishment of either church or government. Marriage was the first social institution. Human beings are designed to function best when they are connected in healthy ways to others, and God’s plan for marriage is to establish strong families. The Bible contains much instruction for family members in how they should treat each other so that those emotional needs are met (Ephesians 5:21-336:1-4Colossians 3:18-211 Corinthians 7:2-510-16). God designed marriage as one man and one woman for a lifetime, and any deviation from that plan is a distortion of His intent (Matthew 19:8Romans 1:26-27).

First Corinthians 7:1-2 gives us the best reason for marrying: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman. But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.” God designed sex to be enjoyed only within the boundaries of marriage. Any sexual activity outside those boundaries is sin (Galatians 5:19Colossians 3:5). If a person has a strong sex drive, it is usually a good idea to marry in order to minimize lust and avoid immorality (James 1:13-15). Engaging in sexual activity with someone other than one’s own spouse is sin and leads to heartache and disaster (Proverbs 6:26-291 Corinthians 6:18).

However, there is no command in Scripture that everyone must be married. In fact, the apostle Paul favored singleness as a way to devote more time to serving God (1 Corinthians 7:7-932-35). There are some who do not feel the need to be married, and there is nothing wrong with that. Single people can have fulfilling lives and find emotional support through friends, family, and ministry opportunities. However, our society has begun to equate singleness with sexual immorality, and that is very wrong. Paul’s promotion of singleness was so that a person could devote his or her full attention to the things of Christ. Singleness should never be used as an excuse to live in sexual sin. But if a single person can control his or her passions and live a morally pure life, there is no need to feel pressured to marry (1 Corinthians 7:37).

Prophet Nathan Emol

Email: nathanemol@gmail.com for any support or inquires

A CHRISTIAN WIFE

A Christian wife is a believer in Jesus Christ, a married woman who has her priorities straight. She has chosen godliness as the focus of her life, and she brings that focus into every relationship, including marriage. A godly wife has decided that pleasing and obeying God is more important to her than her temporary happiness or pleasure, and she is willing to make whatever sacrifices necessary to honor the Lord in her role as a wife.

The first step in becoming a Christian wife is surrendering to the lordship of Jesus. Only with the Holy Spirit empowering us can any of us live as godly people (Galatians 2:20Titus 2:12). When we place our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord (John 3:3), it is similar to the wedding day. The entire direction of our lives has done an about-face (2 Corinthians 5:17). We begin to see life from God’s perspective, rather than pursuing our own agendas. That means that a Christian woman will approach marriage with a different mindset than that of a worldly woman. She desires not only to be a good wife for her husband but also to be a godly woman for her Lord.

Being a Christian wife involves living out the principle found in Philippians 2:3–4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” If followed closely, this principle would eliminate the majority of marital arguments. Since we are by nature selfish, we must rely on the Lord to crucify that selfish urge and help us seek the best interest of our spouses. For a wife, this means remaining conscious that her husband is not a woman and does not think like a woman. His needs are different from her needs, and it is her responsibility to understand those needs and seek to meet them whenever possible.

One of the most frequent areas of conflict in marriage is sex. Men, in general, desire sex more often than their wives do. Men also place a higher value on the sexual relationship, and their self-worth can feel threatened when their wives refuse to cooperate. Though not always the case, most wives lose the level of interest in sex they may have had at the beginning of the relationship and find emotional fulfillment through other relationships, such as children and friends. This can lead to a husband’s resentment and hostility when his wife does not understand his true need for sexual expression. A Christian wife seeks to meet that need, even when she is tired or not interested. First Corinthians 7:1–5explains that husbands and wives do not have total control over their own bodies but have given themselves to the other. A Christian wife realizes that in submitting her body to her husband she is, in fact, surrendering to the Lord’s plan for her.

Ephesians 5:22–24 addresses the dreaded “S” word that has gained a notoriety it doesn’t deserve, often due to mishandling of the Scripture. Wives are told to submit to their husbands as they do to the Lord. Females cringe at the word submit because it has been used as an excuse to treat them like slaves. When these three verses are ripped from their context and applied to women only, they become a tool in the hand of Satan. Satan often twists Scripture to accomplish his evil purposes, and he has used this one to corrupt God’s plan for marriage. The command about submission actually begins in verse 18, which says that all Christians should submit themselves to one another. It then applies that to wives in marriage, but the bulk of the responsibility is placed upon the husband to love his wife in the way Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25–32). When a husband lives in obedience to God’s expectation for him, a Christian wife has little difficulty submitting to his leadership.

While there are Christian wives who have not been blessed with children, the majority of married women will become mothers at some point. When a woman becomes a mother, her identity changes. During this transition, it is natural for her to give all her effort and attention to the children. It can take some time to adjust to the new family responsibilities, but a Christian wife remembers that her husband is her first priority. His needs still matter. She may feel at times that she has nothing left to give him at the end of a frustrating day, but she can run to the Lord and find the strength and energy to remain a wife first and a mother second (Proverbs 18:10Psalm 18:2).

Communication is critical during the early child-rearing years, and a Christian wife will initiate non-judgmental conversations with her husband, explaining how he can help and what she needs from him in order to be more responsive to his needs. Couples who stay connected and set aside intentional times together grow stronger and build deeper bonds that will keep their marriage healthy. A Christian wife also realizes that carving out time for herself is not selfish. She is open with her husband about her own emotional and psychological needs. Wives who bottle up their own needs for fear of sounding selfish are only setting themselves up for later resentment and burnout. Before a wife and mother can give her family what it needs, she must take care of herself.

Proverbs 31 has been met with skepticism by many Christian wives because it seems to portray the godly wife as an impossible ideal for women. But it is important to remember that the “virtuous woman” described does not exist. She is a fictional example of the kind of woman a man should seek as a wife. It stands as a contrast to the qualities that would make a woman an unsuitable partner, such as laziness, selfishness, foolishness, carelessness, and dishonor. A Christian wife seeks to demonstrate the reverse of those bad characteristics, and Proverbs 31 is an illustration of what that may look like. It is not to be taken literally, as though any wife whose children don’t “wear scarlet” (verse 21) or who “turns off her lamp at night” (verse 18) is a failure. But this chapter is applauding virtuous, intelligent, and industrious women at a time when the contributions of wives and mothers went largely unnoticed. Godly women can take joy in this when their own choices reflect some of the qualities described there.

Wives often cry that they want their husbands to be good leaders. They are correct that God expects husbands to bear the responsibility for the well-being of their families. But good leaders must have good followers, and often that is where the problem lies. As part of the curse God placed upon Eve for her sin (Genesis 3:16), women by nature desire to boss their husbands. She sees him as an unfinished project and it is her job to “fix” him. Her attempts to “help him” can often shut him down, especially if he is not comfortable in a leadership role. That does not excuse his refusal to step into the role God designed for him. But a Christian wife recognizes her role and lets him lead. She may respectfully offer her advice and opinion, and a wise husband will seek it, but she recognizes that, once she does, her responsibility is over and the final decision rests with him. When he knows that she will not shoot him down when she disagrees, he is more likely to step forward and lead.

One danger that Christian women can encounter in marriage and motherhood is when they completely lose themselves. The escalating divorce rate among middle-aged couples bears testament to this destructive pattern. Many times it is the wife who leaves a good man for no reason other than she is not happy. Part of her disillusionment is due to the way marriage has been exalted as the ultimate goal for young girls. She has believed since nursery school that, once she meets and marries Prince Charming, she will be fulfilled. Much church teaching has been a party to this deification of marriage, so, for a Christian woman, the letdown can feel as though God has deceived her. While marriage is good and right and a vehicle for blessing, it should never be viewed as the source of a woman’s value and fulfillment. Only God can be that, and Christian wives are those who see their roles, not as ends in themselves, but as avenues through which they can better serve their Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31).

A woman who desires to be a godly, Christian wife can ask herself the following questions:

1. Am I keeping my spiritual life healthy and my top priority? (Matthew 6:33)

2. Have I willingly accepted my God-given role as a partner to my husband, not his boss? (1 Corinthians 11:3)

3. Do I seek daily to humble myself and serve like Jesus did, rather than seeking to be served? (Mark 10:44–45)

4. Have I stripped my heart of idols, such as shopping, flirtations, hoarding, or addictions? (Exodus 20:3)

5. Does my free time indicate that I value my husband, my family, and my Savior? (Galatians 5:13)

6. Am I guarding the spirit of my home by what I allow in through media, magazines, and music? (Philippians 4:8)

7. Do I keep myself physically and emotionally pleasing to my husband? (Proverbs 27:1531:30)

8. Do my dress, makeup, and presentation indicate that I respect my body, my husband, and my Savior? (1 Peter 3:3–5)

9. Have I eliminated worldly vulgarities from my speech (swearing, gross talk, dirty jokes) so that my words are gracious? (Colossians 4:6)

10. Am I a wise and careful manager of household finances? (Proverbs 31:16)

11. Do I give my husband respect because of his position, or only when I think he deserves it? (Ephesians 5:33)

12. Do I take good care of my husband’s house and children? (Proverbs 31:27–28)

13. Do I guard his heart by never revealing private discussions publicly or using his weaknesses against him? (Proverbs 31:11)

14. Am I continuing to develop the gifts and passions God has entrusted to me? (2 Timothy 1:6)

15. Am I relying on my own power or the power of the Holy Spirit to be a godly wife, mother, and disciple? (Galatians 5:25)

Because Jesus canceled our sin debt (Colossians 2:14), anyone who so desires can become a godly person. Godliness is not dependent upon intellect, education, or religion. It is also not off-limits to those with checkered pasts, divorce papers, or prison records. As followers of Christ, we should all seek to become more godly in whatever role we hold, because it is commanded (1 Peter 1:16) and because we want to be more like the One we love.

Prophet Nathan Emol

Email: nathanemol@gmail.com for any support or inquires