Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Joyful Differences in the God-created Relationship of Marriage

Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. (Ephesians 5:24-25)

Excerpt from “Walk in Harmony: The Family of God” – 2010-11-21
When God created the world, he created Adam first. And even when the world was perfect, God looked at Adam and said: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18). What this means is that Eve had something Adam needed. Women were created by God because men lacked something that only women can provide. Eve was not a clone of Adam, but rather somebody like him – also created in God’s image - but also quite different. Adam and Eve together, in being one flesh, reflected the image of the beauty and glory and character of God.

This was the only perfect marriage that has ever existed. The differences between Adam and Eve were in perfect complement to one another: joyfully amazing, and filled with glorious love. Adam, in being created first and by lovingly sacrificing himself for Eve (his rib), became the leader of the relationship. Eve, in being created out of her husband, served the complementary role of helper. But the Bible tells us that sin distorted those roles. Their joy-filled differences suddenly became reasons for tension. We hear that when God said to Eve: "Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you" (Genesis 3:16). The word “desire” here in the Hebrew is not a good kind of desire but rather a “desire” to “rule over.” And so when sin came into Eve’s life, her desire would be to “rule over” Adam. As a result of the fall Eve would seek to reverse God’s plan and lead Adam; and Adam would stop lovingly leading and caring for his wife. Their desires become distorted, and we still live with the effects today. Rather than providing humble, loving, sacrificial leadership, a husband will be prone to becoming overbearing and harsh or emotionally distant. Rather than being a humble, loving, submissive helper to her husband, a wife will be prone to opposing her husband and asserting her leadership over him.

God’s Word tells us that we were designed to be incomplete as males and females by ourselves, but when a man and a women gets married - there is completeness that happens: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). We were designed to be different, but complementary. We are equal in rank before God and one another, but unequal in created role by God and for one another. God created men and women with irreversible and wonderful differences that are to be enjoyed together - rather than struggled with or fought for. There is a difference between us - and before sin distorted us that difference was all good. The Word of God is not presenting a case for a traditional, patriarchal view of marriage. And neither is the Bible arguing against modern forms of marriage in our contemporary world. God is telling us here: “This is how I created men and women – and their relationship together. And this is how it is supposed to be.”
LISTEN TO THE FULL SERMON HERE

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