Now for the #1 Biblical purpose of marriage – The Kingdom. Marriage can be a joyous, fulfilling adventure, but it is so much more than that. Marriage is not meant to make us happy. However, joy comes when God’s purposes for our marriage are being fulfilled. There is a mysterious eternal value to marriage that only those redeemed by Christ will be able to understand.
Paul taught the Ephesians, about marriage, with his famous Love and Respect chapter. After encouraging the Ephesian men to love their wives, and wives to honor their husband he says in chapter 5:3 “This is a great mystery, but I speak of concerning Christ and the church.” So, what is this holy mystery?
Throughout Scripture we see that the church, the entire body of believers, make up the Bride of Christ and He is the Bridegroom. Interestingly, this can give us great insight to our individual roles as believers. Christ loves us, He died for us sacrificing Himself as a husband should for his wife and in return we honor and obey Him as a wife does her husband. Personally, I still struggle with being anybody’s bride 🙂 Even in the 3 other reasons for marriage that I gave, the Kingdom is at their core. Let’s take another look at the previous reasons for marriage.
4. Children – Speaking of marriage, Malachi 2:15 says, “But did He not make them one? Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks Godly offspring.” God is looking to expand His kingdom upon His earth through children that have been raised to love and honor Him. Children raised for the Kingdom of God are like “arrows in the hand of a warrior” aimed dead at the kingdom of darkness. (Ps 127:4) Children are Godly seeds in our culture. They are much more likely to remain in the faith if they are raised by two believing parents. When grown, those children will have children and continue the cycle of generational faithfulness. Thus, entire generations, that neither you or I will ever see, will know there is a King and His name is Jesus.
3. Oneness – Well, I think it goes without saying that you cannot have children without a little oneness. 😉 However, marriages without children are no less important than those with. I like how the Message Bible portrays the first time Adam laid eyes on Eve. He said, “Finally! Bone of my bone! Flesh of my flesh!” (Gen 2:23). He shouts for joy to have a companion made just for him. And for this reason, Jesus taught, “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” (Matt 19:5) Oneness is more than just sex. In marriage a man and woman become one in many ways, through their heart, souls, and physically.
God wants all of us to experience oneness. In John 17:21 Christ prays for us, He says, “…that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” Further, Jesus says that the world will know that we are His disciples by the love that we have for one another (Joh 13:35). From the moment we take the marriage vow, we begin our journey into oneness. If we honor God through our marriage, it will become an example to the world of how God loves us, His bride.
2. Sanctification – Sanctification is the process of building Godly character. It begins with salvation and continues for the rest of our lives. The Holy Spirit facilitates the growth into Christlikeness. A sanctified life bears the fruit of the Spirit which includes love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, and kindness (Gal 5:22). There are few relationship which we will enter that will try, test, and thus grow these attributes in our lives to the extent that marriage does.
Sanctification is also synonymous with holiness which is the setting aside of something or, in the case of marriage, someone special. Like a man who finds a woman and commits his life to her, God has set us aside especially for himself. Thus, He separates us from the world cleansing us by His Spirit, and preparing a place for us. One of my pastors taught me that in Biblical times when a man found a woman he desired to marry he would leave her for a time in order to prepare a home for her typically close to his father’s house. No wonder Jesus said to His bride in John 14:2-3, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” There is going to be a wedding feast in the time to come. (Rev 19:9)
Marriage has always been a picture of the Kingdom of God. I have read through Matthew 19 many time, but something different popped out at me one day. It was just three little words that Jesus said, “From the beginning…” (Matt 19:4) He references creation and Adam and Eve. This tells me that the Father always had a purpose for the institution and He is the one that willed it to be. We began with a marriage in the garden and we will end with a marriage in heaven. So, what is the holy mystery of marriage? I believe it is this…Christ is the Bridegroom we are His bride and He is coming back for His prize!