Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses” (1 Tim. 6:7).
HOW DOES MARRIAGE FIT INTO THIS GOOD FIGHT?
Genesis 2:18-24–And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him….24. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
- When the Lord made man, He said it wasn’t good for him to be alone and made him an help meet, a woman. He established the institution of marriage, of man leaving his parents to cleave to his wife.
- The Lord considers it an honorable thing; it seems to be rather expected of most. Regardless of what one’s thoughts about marriage might currently be, most people end up getting married. “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4).
- To find a wife is a good and favorable thing in the sight of the Lord. “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord” (Pro. 18:22).
- Does marriage play any part in the good fight of faith? What role does marriage play regarding our fight; in what way or ways does it impact the running of our race or the fighting of our fight?
- Why consider this now? It’s probably years away for most of our young ladies getting married. But knowing this may affect the way you plan concerning marriage.
- Marriage is so romanticized in our society today; it’s all about “falling in love” and marrying the boy or girl of your dreams. It usually starts with physical attraction or just the excitement of being liked, and if the chemistry seems right, the emotions seem appropriate, it’s a match; it doesn’t matter if the two are really worlds apart. Is this a healthy way to plan and form a marriage?
- We want to understand the purpose and the function of marriage as far as the Lord is concerned, see that it plays a part in our fighting the good fight of faith. It definitely isn’t to deter us in any way from winning the victory, but instead is to help us win the victory.
- If we know this ahead of time, it should impress upon us how important it is that we marry the right person; not based on chemistry and emotions, but on the character and spiritual qualities of the individual. The wrong person can definitely deter us, even destroy us.
- First let’s note that, in the end, our union with the Lord is described as a marriage. The Lamb, Jesus, is the groom; and the church, the saints, is the bride. The wife must be made ready for that day, arrayed in fine, clean and white linen, which is righteousness.
- What is the significance of our relationship with Jesus being described as that of husband and wife, of being married (why use the analogy of a marriage to describe our relationship with Him)? Could it be our marriages on earth have something to do with it; could the Lord describe our relationship with Him as that of husband and wife and of a marriage because there’s something about our earthly marriages that relate to our ultimate relationship with Christ?
- Here the church’s relationship with Christ is compared to the relationship of a husband and wife. How is the bride (the church) to be presented to the husband (Christ)? She is to be sanctified, cleansed, glorious, without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish–clothed in righteousness.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF MARRIAGE?
And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God (Rev. 19:5-9).
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband (Eph. 5:22-33).
- So what do our earthly marriages have to do with all this? Well, after describing the responsibilities of the wife to the husband and the husband to the wife; what does He say? “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church (Eph. 5:32).
- Isn’t He saying there’s a mystery [a secret] about the marriage relationship that concerns Christ and the church. Earthly marriages must be accomplishing something, preparing us for that marriage with Christ; they somehow play a part in preparing us for the coming marriage to Christ.
HOW HUSBAND AND WIFE ACTUALLY HELP ONE ANOTHER
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church (Eph. 5:25-29).
- Actually we can see that the husband and wife play a practical role in helping one another in their fight, in growing up as a Christian.
- The husband is to love his wife just like Jesus loved the church. How did Jesus love the church? He gave Himself for it, to sanctify and cleanse it, to present it glorious without spot or wrinkle, to be holy and without blemish.
- So how ought men to love their wives? Men should give himself for his wife, love her as his own flesh, nourishing and cherishing her, that she might be glorious, without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish. To nourish is [to rear up to maturity](bring up); his aim is to do whatever it takes to see her presented perfect in Christ.
- What role does the woman play in helping her husband? Here a husband who is not even obeying the word is helped by his wife’s conversation [behavior]. By seeing her chaste [clean] (pure) behavior in fear, her emphasis on the heart and spiritual things, on a meek and quiet spirit; he is won to obedience.
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price (1 Pet. 3:1-4).
- So a husband’s disobedience can be helped by a wife submitting to him in fear. And could it not help keep an obedient husband obedient, strengthened and encouraged? A wife eager to follow after righteousness, to be nourished, is certainly going to motivate a reasonable husband to provide that nourishment.
SO WHO SHOULD WE WANT TO MARRY?
The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord (1 Cor. 7:39).
- So who should we want to marry? Someone strong and handsome, someone with breath-taking beauty; someone who’s witty and full of energy, fun to be around; someone with lots of money, who knows how to have a good old time? Who should we marry?
- For one, we should marry only in the Lord. If my husband is to be my head, to nourish me to be like Christ; how in the world could a non-Christian or even uncaring, unserious Christian accomplish this? If a wife is to submit to her husband in fear, motivate him to be the Christian he should be, help him walk in the right direction; how can anyone but a serious-minded Christian lady fit that description?
- If the marriage of a Christian to a non-Christian isn’t an unequal yoke, what is? What yoke is closer, stronger, more powerful than that of husband and wife becoming one flesh? This is the person we’re going to live with day in and day out, week after week, year after year, decade after decade; that we’re going to eat with, sleep with, grow with, have a family with, someone with whom we’ll face the struggles and trials of life.
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Cor. 6:14-15).
- If our lives are centered around the aim of a Christian, to reach the mark, to be like Jesus; if we’re giving our all to fight the fight, to run the race, to win the victory; do we really think that having a husband who doesn’t share in this aim won’t deter us? When two are yoked together, the two together can travel only in one direction. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
- Companionship is a very strong influence; it’s the rare individual who isn’t corrupted by a spouse who isn’t fighting the good fight of faith. When the Christian marries the non-Christian, usually one of three things happen (probably in this order); the Christian is pulled away and becomes unfaithful (and just being faithful in attendance may not amount to much), the marriage ends in divorce, the non-Christian is converted (rare). It’s probably even rarer that the Christian abounds in the work of the Lord and faithfully fights the good fight of faith, despite the spouse remaining a non-Christian and the marriage continuing. In this case, even though the marriage continues on the surface, there couldn’t be much of a true yoking together of the two. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Cor. 15:33).
- If we want to serve Christ, be like Him, grow up into Him, bring every thought captive; we need a spouse who is going to be fighting with us, not against us.
- So we need a spouse who knows and understands what Christianity is all about, what the goal is, how to obtain it; that knows and understands the place of marriage, the responsibility of the husband and wife in marriage; and shows some potential of being able to be the kind of husband or wife God would have us to have.
HOW DOES ONE DETERMINE THIS?
Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. 34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things (Matt. 12:33-35).
- By the fruit in a man’s life. By observing the things he says and does.
By talking, discussing, asking questions, studying together, praying together.