Marriage in God’s Image

Marriage is a wonderful gift. God brings a man and a woman together in the closest human relationship there is. The Bible has much to say about marriage. God ordained the institution at the dawn of history. First God created a man, Adam; then he created a woman, Eve. He brought her to Adam and they were joined as one.

In this first marriage, God set the pattern for all human marriage. Genesis 2:24 is the divine charter for marriage: “A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

In the Old Testament, God shows how highly he values marriage by often comparing his relationship with his people to a marriage. Through the Prophet Jeremiah God said to Israel, “I am your husband” (Jer 3:14).

In the New Testament, the relationship between Christ and the church is compared to a marriage. In fact, the concept of marriage is deepened in the New Testament. The relationship between Christ and the church is the primary one, and human marriage is, and is to be, a reflection of the relationship between Christ and the church.

Perhaps the greatest teaching on marriage is given in the letter of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians (5:22-33). There husbands are taught that they are to love their wives with the same kind of self-sacrificial, giving love with which Christ loved the church. As Christ laid down his life for the church, so a husband is to be willing to lay down his life for his wife. As the church respects, follows and submits to Christ, so the wife is to respect, follow and submit to her husband.

Marriage is under great stress in our society (think of the same-sex marriage phenomenon and the push for polygamy). The church needs to teach what the word of God teaches about marriage. As husbands and wives seek to conform their marriages to the teaching of scripture and to be images of the relationship between Christ and the church, their marriages will flourish and be blessed.