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The Truth about Marriage

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
September 6, 2022 12:01 am

The Truth about Marriage

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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September 6, 2022 12:01 am

God is the One who established the marriage relationship of husband and wife, and He did so with a purpose. Today, Michael Kruger presents the Bible's teaching on marriage and addresses the confusion in our world surrounding this institution.

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Today on Renewing Your Mind the truth about marriage. Marriage is not something that was formed by you know you should know what predates countries. It predates governments marriage is authorized and instituted by God with marriage is given by God. That means God gets deregulated, God gets to define it. God gets to declare what it is and what it isn't that we read in Genesis God's creation for companionship and for fulfilling the mandate to take dominion over his creation.

This week on Renewing Your Mind were focusing on Christian ethics today.

Dr. Michael Kruger shows us the ethical implications of God's design for marriage. Think about marriage is one passage we have to begin with Genesis chapter 2 verse 18. I want to read this short passage today. Then the Lord God said it is not good that the man should be alone I will make him a helper fit for him now to the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what you would call them and whatever the man called every living creature that was its name.

The man gave names to all the livestock of the birds of the heavens, every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

So Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept. He took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh and the rib that the Lord God are taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said this is that last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man before man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh in the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. Now I can still remember where I was when I watched it on TV.

July 28, 1981, when a horse drawn carriage pulled up the St. Paul's Cathedral in London and out stepped a 20-year-old lady Diana Spencer was on all accounts a fairytale. It was a modern Cinderella and Prince charming, a woman who was not really a royal at all not known pretty much just simply a layperson marrying the man who one day would be king and 750 million people tuned in, but that number sink and 750 million people watch from 74 countries around the world and the pomp and circumstance was unprecedented. There were many carriages that were horse-drawn. There were the royal guard on the horses with their shiny helmets and lances. There were leaders and dignitaries from all over the globe to watch the single occasion adjusted for inflation. The wedding cost an estimated $135 million. Those of you right now who have a daughter about to be married can feel just a little bit better about your budget and then there was the dress. Everybody wanted to talk about the dress in modern dollars estimate now that dress would cost today $450,000. The train was 25 feet long but not you remember as you saw the procession down St. Paul's Cathedral how the training of her robe spanned what seemed to be the entire length of the aisle. It was on all accounts a dream come true.

But of course we all know the dream wouldn't last. Soon there was tension in the marriage sooners coldness. Then there was fighting then after that there were rumors of affairs within five short years later in 1986 Prince Charles was able to declare that his marriage was irretrievably broken.

By 1996. The two had formally divorced and by 1997. So sadly Diana was dead, Human killed in a car crash was started out as a fairytale wedding ended up being a Shakespearean tragedy not to think about that wedding.

I think about even that marriage. I wonder if there's many other things in a world that can capture in one scenario, the extremes of our worldview of marriage. On the one hand you have the overly romanticized view of marriage that marriage is the pinnacle of human existence and if you just find the right person all your problems will be solved and the birds will sing and the sun will shine and on the flipside, you have the most pessimistic view of marriage that marriage is awful.

It's terrible that ruins and shatters people's lives and leads in this case, and some strange bizarre turn of events, even to someone's death. Perhaps not surprising, then, when you think about marriage in our modern world that it's phone on tough times it's not just the story of Charles and Diana. That's cause it to fall on tough times. You yourself know as you look around the world that there's this general malaise about marriage today. Yes most people that we know are married. I would imagine that most people in this room are probably married, but being married doesn't mean you have the right view of marriage being married is mean you rightly value marriage and now we hear all kinds of things about marriage that marriage is not really even necessary, that merit marriage is just a piece of paper that marriage is overly restrictive in limiting that marriage stifles individual identity that marriage is a 1950s cage to trap you in and on and on it goes, or throwing up a talk today about how marriage is being challenged in redefined as our culture wants to go in all kinds of new pathways and directions press is not surprising than the learners I learned just recently reading the U.S. News & World Report that as of 2020. The frequency of marriage, the rate of marriage in our world is at an all-time low. In fact, since statistics were Since the 1800s. There is never been a time in all of modern history where people get married more infrequently in the Western world course is not just declining rates of marriage that are interesting. It's also people getting married later. Their older when they get married is let this step set in. In 1978 people between the ages of 18 and 34, about 60% of them are married 60% of people between ages of 18 and 34 were married in 1978. Today that number has dropped to 29%.

Now we look at these numbers is disheartening to be all too easy I think to reach the conclusion that you know the reason marriage is on the rocks is because we live in a pagan world that doesn't love God and his word and I imagine in some sense that's true. There's no doubt in some sense it's true that marriage is having hard days because we live in a world that may be just wants to buck up against Scripture, but I would also suggest, though, that many people struggle in their view of marriage is not so much because there anti-God's word. Although they may be because they themselves have grown up watching and seeing a broken marriage.

How many thousands of people are grown up in homes where they saw all the pain all the division all the dysfunctionality all the heartbreak of a bad marriage other words, perhaps the malaise of her marriage isn't just about people rejecting God's word. Although it can be that Russell malaise about marriage is generations of broken marriage. Generations of sin that have now had their effects and honestly we can have compassion on those many many people who find themselves coming out of marriages like that and wondering how they got there that statistically speaking.

I met initially, many in this room who may be a grown up in homes that were a broken marriage just statistically speaking you may been in every homework. Your parents were the ones that fought your parents may be, got divorced, maybe in your family. There was infidelity. So marriage is having a rough go of it. So what we need today is in some sense of rehabilitation of this idea of marriage.

Now here's what I want to do.

Based on this passage in Genesis 2 that we read earlier in some of the surrounding verses. I want to just offer five truths about marriage today five truths now course will move through these quickly, but these are five things that we want to at least say today about marriage is not all that can be said about marriage, but certainly something that we need to get out of the gates was jump into these five things together first thing of the five marriage is a divine institution.

Marriage is God's eye. Do you, as God made the world. It was God who made humans.

It was God who made them male and female. It was God that declared they should come together in marriage as one flesh. In that passage we just read moments ago. What this means, and is, of course, marriage therefore not the invention of any particular culture or any particular person in any particular philosophical stacks. Marriage is not something that was formed by a nation that would predates countries. It predates governments marriage is authorized and instituted by God. Marriage is given by God. That means God gets to regulated God gets to define it. God gets to declare what it is and what it isn't.

So the first thing I want to take away today's that marriage is a divine institution. A second thing to take away the day of the five is that marriage is a good institution. Marriage is a good institutional course on one level, you think that's obvious that God is the giver of marriage and is in it clear that it's a good institution again.

Isn't it built-in to the idea of God gives it will, yes, but of course we've already seen that our world is on the gets good road is a leak it's worth it. We see in this passage that marriage is good in a number of ways we just mention a couple ways. It's good for us is good. Personally, marriage is the way God has brought human beings together in intimate relationships. The only way he doesn't.

There's other ways that humans have fellowship but the man in the woman is sort of the centerpiece of what it means for human beings to be in relational intimacy with one another what you notice verse 18.

Notice this amazing statement. Then the Lord God said it is not good that man should be alone now course you know that if you just read Genesis 1 before this.

Genesis 1 is a long litany of it is good, God made it and declared to be good.

Got put something a place in the clutter to be good so it's it's good it's good it's good we get the verse 18 of chapter 2. It's not good was not good aloneness that man is by himself and then he describes marriage with the greatest intimacy bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. She shall even have a name like his name woman out of man. The keeper reflects this Hebrew word for me and each woman is Isha their intimately linked so intimate in fact that they're both naked and not ashamed to be told that we would all want out of marriage. This beautiful picture of companionship, intimacy that you could freely be with another person without fear or shame. God knows your desire he's given something for that. It's called marriage finishing that God didn't just come up with this idea sorted out the blue the idea that people should be relationships with one another because God is a relational God from eternity past father-son Holy Spirit Trinitarian loving one another within the Godhead. So is it no surprise then that he builds marriage is the wonderful fulfillment of what relationships can and should be so marriage is good personally but is not just good personal.

Here's another thing about it being good that's important is also good globally is good for the world is a mistake is often made in discussions about marriage. People think that marriage is is basically all about us that marriage is only about my personal fulfillment that marriages is an existential thing to make me feel good individually.

Will God does want to bless you personally, God does want to give you intimacy. But marriage is much bigger than that marriage is about more than us. What is marriage about God's plan for the world and explain what I mean by this. Genesis 128.

Here's what he says, be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over it. As I said this is in theological terms, known as the Dominion mandate and it's very simple. God has given the world to humans to have dominion over his number one goal at this point is I want you to fill it up. I want you to multiply. Now you might think wise got so concerned about this. Why does God have it on his agenda that what I want you to fill up the world.

I want you to spread little human beings all over the world. What is a reason for that. God made human beings in his image. They reflect his glory. When you see a human being. You see an reflection of their creator. They are a little bitty images of God all over the world of the greatest joys for parents, we have a child in summer because of you and says oh, your little boy looks like their father, the little daughter looks like their mother. And there's a sense in which children are little images of their parents and so that way also with the divine image in each one of us. Each person out there reflects God's image, even if they're not a Christian you are not a believer. So why does God want to spread human beings all over the world because it glorifies him to have his image all over the world to increase and multiply is in way that God is glorified as his image is spread in. Here's the key that spreading happens through marriage, God given marriage as not as a blessing for us individually and personally yes, but globally it blesses the world, you realize that even out there in the world, even if they're not believers enough to not even Christians, even if there another religion or someone gets married and has children is a sense in which that glorifies God by virtue of fulfilling the Dominion mandate and bringing more image bearers into the world to give him glory. Marriage is a good institution on the third thing. Marriage though.

Thirdly, here is a fallen institution a fallen institution we read Genesis if you're like me you think yourself, wow, that sounds like a really good idea what God had lined up here and then things went really badly. We know in the very next chapter here.

Chapter 3. That was a long after God establishes wonderful marriage concepts that there was the rebellion of Adam and Eve.

There is the bringing of sin into the world as the fall and the curse things that start off so good so quickly when bad your thought about all the ways marriage is affected by the fall we went on the turn to Genesis 3 and go to the mall them. Just mention a few of the things that a fall is on the merits. We pick up in Genesis 3. Firstly, intimacy is gone member, you could be together naked and on a shame because of that great intimacy but I realize once they've sinned, they realize their nakedness and the restraint and they go out to get fig leaves to cover their nakedness and you realize there is a sense in which now there's a break in the intimacy.

The second thing that happens is they begin to fight with one another and blame each other.

God comes to confront them about the fact that eaten of the tree and he asked Adam what's the deal here was Adam does what every man has done ever sense for thousands of years. It's that woman you gave me when or how their dinner conversation went that night.

After that wonderful move was not just that they have this broken relationship.

Now there's almost war with one another reading 316 that the woman now is quote against her husband and we also read that the husband will rule over his wife's animals. All scholars there take that as ruling over in a domineering harsh and sadly even sometime abusive ways, which also has played out in our world for thousands of years. And on top of all this, the falls affected the Dominion mandate. The idea you go out and you increase in multiply now childbearing is harder now we have infertility that we have all the problems that flow out of the fall in soon. What does that mean for today means what you already know before you walked in your day. Marriage is hard, even when it's good, it's hard. Even the best marriages can be hard you marriages between believers can be hard.

No course in one sense, you don't need me to tell you that.

But our world as we party indicated. Still has this overly romanticized idealized way of looking at marriage that will backfire on you someday.

If you don't take into account the fallen nature of marriage in our world today, and even believers have started following that ideal if you're going to survive in marriage, they in a fallen world, it will not happen on its own. It does not just happen naturally. You don't drift into a good marriage. If there's a fall.

If it's broken therefore sinners, then marriage requires gospel saturated grace motivated Scripture guided diligence for both individuals and churches to make it new a new perspective on marriage.

It has to be looked at through the gospel and on that scored at least a four thing today about marriage.

That is, fourthly, marriage is a redemptive institution. Marriage is a redemptive institution. After reading all the things went wrong with marriage in chapter 3 if you like you like what things started off great when bad is like dislike of Diana and Charles what he write up this wonderful optimism in the total destruction you like. What can ever be done and God says I'm going to do something. All of the things caused by the fall.

I'm going to fix. He promises it, of course, in verse 15 of chapter 3 what is the proto-gospel of the whole Bible, the first promise of grace God makes a declaration to the double. I will put enmity between you and the woman in between your offspring and her offspring, he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his fuel towards Genesis 315 is the first promise of a Savior, a baby will be born at someday down the road from a woman from a marriage baby will be born this baby will be the Savior who will crush the serpent's head will be the snake killer that defeats the devil is thing I want you to realize is it marriage is a redemptive institution because through marriage through generations of families God was going to bring a Savior is going to bring a child born into the world to redeem it. Marriage is a mechanism then which God would bring the Redeemer to save his people from their sins.

That just leads up to the fifth and final thing here this morning, which is really where all this goes to marriages.

All the things he said thus far, but it's also fifth and finally a gospel institution, a gospel institution and explain what I mean by this. As soon as we talk so much about how wonderful marriage is and it is soon to talk about how important marriages and it is there is a mistake that can be made this mistake that I see a lot is a mistake that is easy for us to grasp hold of and here's what the dangerous when we look at how important and central marriage is to God's plan something. Think therefore that marriage is the pinnacle of all human existence that without marriage.

Somehow someone is defective or deficient and that the height of human existence is to finally be married in all your problems will be solved but marriage is not the pinnacle of human existence. Marriage is pointing to something beyond itself was looking forward to Paul Ackley tells us this in another passage you know well. Ephesians 5 that wonderful passage about marriage and husbands and wives and how they should treat each other interact with each other.

The roles of husband and wife at such a critical passage by the end of all this discussion marriage. Paul does a stunning move in Ephesians 532 when he says this this mystery I'm talking about of marriage. This mystery is profound and I'm saying that yet marriage refers to Christ and the church. Marriage is a blessing. Yes, marriage is good, yes, marriage is important, yes. But marriage is actually not about marriage. Marriage is about something better something bigger something greater to calm, namely the wedding day between Christ's and his church.

Marriage is about the gospel marriage is about what can happen in the new heavens and the new earth.

Everybody in this room, married, single children, no children, doesn't matter all of us have a wedding to plan all of us have a wedding to look forward to D about that wedding plan for it long for it.

Look for it, someday the groom is coming to claim his bride for himself that be the greatest wedding. Imagine that description of marriage shines a bright light on the brokenness in the culture around us. Marriage is God's idea, and he gets to define it. Our focus this week on Renewing Your Mind is upholding Christian ethics.

That was the theme of our 2022 link international conference here in Orlando last March, and each message this week comes from that conference, every speaker help to see that the holy character of God is the absolute standard of right and wrong.

God is spoken therefore to reject him and abandon his word is to undermine the foundation of morality. I hope you can see the value of a conference like this are speakers address the issues. Our culture faces today and help the supply tubercle truth right words needed and it's only through your generosity that we can make content like this available resources that are making a difference in the lives of people like this split in your ministry partner who contacted us recently.

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I hope you'll join us

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