Updated: Jul 17, 2021
What’s the purpose of marriage? And why is the attack against it presently so vicious? The union between man and wife is of the highest order, the humblest service, the most magnificent of splendors, yet many want to see it destroyed.
1. The Trinity
The Christian is convinced by proofs such as the fulfillment of prophecy and the eternal resurrection of Jesus Christ that God is a Trinity (John 10:30). He is one omniscient being existing in three distinct persons. We call these persons “Father, Son, Holy Spirit.” Each of them bears the total power, perfection, and character of God, and indeed is God. The Father is fully God, the Son is fully God, and the Holy Spirit is fully God.
But our dimensional minds are easily overwhelmed when we contemplate the claim of Scripture that God is not composed of parts. The three persons do not assemble to form the majesty we call “God,” but are God each and of themselves. As such, they are not three separate Gods but one God above all, perfectly unified in all that He does.
What’s the purpose of the servant? It’s rather apparent because it’s presented in the name. A servant is tasked with serving his master. More than that, he bears the heavy responsibility of an ambassador. Where the servant goes, he displays his master’s character, beliefs, values, and nature. If the master is kind, why would the servant be harsh?
Now, as creations of God, our purpose is to serve and glorify Him (Malachi 3:18). We are not happy or fulfilled in any meaningful capacity until we accomplish this task (Psalm 57:2). The qualities of holiness, meekness, humility, and righteousness, are ours to display, for we bear the image of the King. This is a venerated and glorious purpose, higher than even the angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). But our immediate response to such a blessing is that a life of worship paid to Christ is revolting. Sin has made it seem so. We prefer sad liberty to happy service. The thought of living for God is repulsive to our carnal appetites and is replaced with the foolish choice of living for ourselves.
There is, however, an institution, along with the person Christ Jesus, that aids in reconciling us to God's plan.
As a consequence of our fall, many of the privileges and treasures we experienced in the Garden of Eden were confiscated. But not marriage. This holy ordination is a blessing from the garden so vital to the human condition, so necessary for our species’ flourishing, so intertwined with our nature, that it's still practiced today.
Scripture established millennia ago that humans are to serve God. We must reflect His character. But we have a problem when it comes to presenting a picture of the Trinity, for we are finite creatures, limited in our scope and understanding of what lies beyond our scarce, three-dimensional space. How then can we carry out our task and bear the image of God?
What is marriage if not the sacred union between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:24)? Our society is quick to exclaim that “two people in love should get married,” but that isn’t what it’s supposed to be. By definition, earthly marriage is a covenant that can only be ratified by a man and a woman and no one else. In this special blessing from God, two distinct persons unite to form “one” unified being. Their bond is inseparable, their love is visible, and their service to each other is selfless.
3. The Purpose Of Marriage
The newlywed’s imitation of the Trinity begins. Just as God is three persons yet one being, a marriage is two persons (we will soon discuss the third) yet one being. Granted, if it were an exact representation of God, the husband would be the wife, and the wife would be the husband, while both remaining distinct, which we recognize is absurd. We are still human beings after all, incapable of such miracles.
Nonetheless, the testimony of a Christian marriage is supernatural. When a man, Christian or not, watches the life of a Godly couple, he is dumbfounded by the reality that they are two separate bodies with two independent minds, each of them with their own aspirations and dreams, presently operating as one, unified, human organism. Though the husband and wife are distinct, their lives are one, and they are one, achieving a higher and more advanced state of existence. In this, the marriage represents the Godhead. Though there might be periods of struggle—the husband wanting to do one thing and the wife another—the journey of sanctification shapes and moulds the couple to be more like the Almighty.
What of the Third Person? How is he described in this earthy representation of Heavenly things?
What does the Lord do? He brings about life. He is life. There is no life in you or me if we are without God. The unbeliever might have existence; he might have animation; there might seem to be autonomy, but not life. For we know that “In Him [Christ] was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” (John 1:4).
Again, the marriage displays this. Think of one of the products of marriage: a child. The husband and wife are both necessary to create another eternal being. Together, they create life. Thus, we see the divine picture in its completion:
Marriage is a covenant entered by separate people, each with unique qualities and traits, uniting to form one “new” being.
The husband is a picture of Christ Jesus, and his wife is a picture of the Holy Spirit. Each member of the union is equal, but their roles are different. There is a hierarchy: as the wife submits to the husband, the Holy Spirit submits to Christ. This hierarchy is not inequality but order in contrast to chaos.
Together, the husband and wife create children or “new life.”
The child represents a new believer in Jesus who has been made alive by Christ (the husband) and the Holy Spirit (the wife).
Together, the husband and wife raise the child with teaching and in an atmosphere conducive for strong and abundant life so that the child might mature to a healthy adult. In the same way, Christ and Holy Spirit transform the infant believer into an adult Christian by teaching (verse).
The Trinity and His purpose is displayed through marriage and its fruit.
So it’s no wonder why Satan is advancing a barbaric attack on traditional marriage at the moment. If he can pervert or destroy it, this aspect of the image of God is ruined and the testimony is rendered useless. Immorality, adultery, any other marital “union” (which is really no union at all), outside of a husband and wife is rebelling against the eternal God—the consequences are severe.
To counter, it’s also no wonder why the convenant of marriage will continue no matter how severe Satan’s assault against it. God is a God of promises, and we are promised that one day the Christian shall be married to Christ, not in the sense of human marriage, but something much greater (Revelation 19:6-9). This earthly contract between man and wife gives us but a glimpse of what’s to come, shaping us for our future in Heaven. Right now, we find ourselves so comfortable with independence and captivated by the freedom to make our own decisions that the thought of laying those qualities down for another is almost unthinkable. The age at which people get married in society today reflects that. But in fact, it’s only when one actually does lay down his life for another that he reflects Jesus Christ, serves others above himself, and becomes in the fullest sense, free to finally love.
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