I recently officiated the marriage ceremony of my son, Jake, and his bride, Christa. In one part of the sermon I emphasised the permanent nature of the union. Here's an excerpt...
Marriage is God's design and God's doing
In marriage God is joining one man and one woman together for life, because marriage is God’s design and God's doing just like all of creation is God’s design and God’s doing.
We know this
because Genesis tells us that God created the universe and everything in it
including Adam and Eve (Gen. 1:1, 27). He made them in his image, not as a
product of chemical explosions of evolution, but in his divine likeness with an
ability to reason and reflect his character morally and functionally.
But God didn’t
create them at the same time. He made Adam first and then said, “It is not good
that the man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him” (Gen. 2:18). He
then put him into a sleep and fashioned the woman from one of his ribs and it
says God, “brought her to the man” (Gen. 2: 22). Here we have God, the first
Father of the bride, giving her to her husband and joining them together.(That’s why, traditionally, the bride's father gives her away. It was that way at the first
wedding in the beginning).
The we read the declaration:
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen 2:24).
So marriage is God’s design and God’s doing which means that…
Marriage is one man and one woman for life
Jesus himself refers to this text as his cornerstone, his foundation
verse for marriage. In Matthew 19, Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees:
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the
Creator ‘made them male and female.’" (Matt. 19:4). He is quoting Genesis 1:27.
The point is God created man and made only two sexes.
He continues, "‘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).
When a couple make their vows, it is not the man or
woman, or parent or pastor who is the main actor. God is. God is doing the
joining of a husband and wife (to paraphrase John Piper). That’s why
Jesus says, what God has joined
together let no man separate – permanence.
ordained marriage at the creation of the world before sin entered.
And it was between one man and one woman: not two men or two women, or one man
with many women, or one woman with many men. It was between two people created
by God with absolutely equal value and dignity any yet very different. A man and a
woman were made to fit together physically in a one flesh union. However, that is pointing
to something higher - a permanent spiritual union between two people, and ultimately a relational union with God.
So when a couple vows they make a promise or a covenant with each
other and before God to stay together. This is a covenant not a contract (in which
you have caveats to escape). This is a God ordained covenant of companionship.
It is a solemn final act. That’s why on the marriage license it is called the
solemnization of marriage. That’s why the pastor asks if anyone knows any cause why a
couple shouldn’t be married. He asks the couple the same. Why? Because this is a weighty thing, which has holy significance.
Marriage is about making vows. Many couples nowadays often want to write their
own vows. But often they are based on feelings not promises – emotions, not acts
of the will. Nowhere in the Bible do we see feelings as the basis for marriage.
When the feeling is fading or gone and the body submits to the effects of
gravity and the health gives way, what will the marriage stand upon, feelings or
promises? When a marriage is grounded in committed friendship, companionship
and a permanent covenant the chances of survival are good. Promises, vows,
provide the foundation and protection for the marriage when the storms hit. The joining of a man and a woman in holy matrimony is not a tenuous arrangement that can be changed or forsaken.
Marriage is God’s design and God’s doing so that makes it a permanent union in this life. "Till death us do part".