To be a Christian is to be someone who recognizes, more sharply and clearly than our world, that the creation story is not the end.
As early as Genesis 4 we are introduced to Lamech who took more than one wife, even the great Abraham had more than one wife and also had concubines.The Old Testament accounts report polygamy but they never hold it up as an example to be imitated. By the end of Genesis we’ve seen adultery, incest, rape, homosexual rape, prostitution – quite a bit more than we really were bargaining on.
The fall has damaged all of our relationships, especially and profoundly the marriage relationship.
The fall has meant for some of us that command to be fruitful and multiply seems like a distant promise – because getting into a marriage relationship has been a distant hope, breakdown or tragedy has taken your partner away, or pregnancy just doesn’t seem to happen.
But God’s purposes for marriage—for man and women to be together, to rule, to relate sexually and to multiply and fill the earth under God — his purposes for marriage are in no way changed.
When Jesus comes he doesn’t undercut the truth and reality of marriage – he reaffirms it as God’s plan. When he’s asked about divorce in Matthew 19, the very first thing he does is to remind his hearers of Genesis 2, and God’s plan that marriage be permanent.
It is with Jesus and because of our sin that we move away from the sphere of creation toward the sphere of redemption.The blessings of having a redeeming Saviour, King and Messiah is that he rules and we now find our place together with him.
Marriage should demonstrate our permanent redemption in Christ – as Ephesians 5 points out.
We should recognise the marriage relationship as a wonderful gift of God our creator, there to be enjoyed in its fullness, but not as an introspective end in itself, but as a way of reaching the world with the news that Jesus is Lord.
And this is where those who are married should recognize a given responsibility as ministers of the Word. 1 Peter challenges Christians to be living Christlike examples so that others will see our works and follow our example. That cannot be more true for the Christian married couple – a privilege and a burden.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks the oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.’ (1 Peter 4:10-11)
Surely 1 Peter 4 helps draw out a distinctive of Christian marriage. The job for the Christian who are married, is to work together, as husband or wife – recognising that their marriage, like everything else, should serve God by making disciples. Biologically, by example, and evangelistically.