Marriage was instituted by God at creation. It should be noted that the family is God’s plan for humanity and it is a creation ordinance. Unlike, Mosaic ordinances or other redemptive ordinances, creation ordinances apply to every individual. That being said, there is therefore no distinguishing between a biblical marriage and a non-biblical marriage. Marriage is a biblical institution and not a U.S. Supreme Court institution. I join with many who are disappointed with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision. It is with this premise that I speak on the subject of marriage. From the beginning marriage was a relationship between one man and one woman that brought mutual companionship, procreation, and pleasure. Yes, I said pleasure. God created marriage and it is meant to be a holy estate which brings glory to God. Sadly, there appears to be much self-seeking, vainglory concerning marriage today. This is evidenced by the recent action taken by the U.S. Supreme Court. Please do not misunderstand me… I love my country, all the people in it, respect our leaders, and I believe it is still the best country in the world. I am proud to be an American! It is as a God-fearing American I speak.
How did marriage come about? After God created man, all the other created beings were brought before the man, Adam. He named each of them. After a survey of all the created beings Adam found none that were after his kind. No suitable help meet was found. God had created man uniquely “in His image.” So, God caused Adam to sleep and from his side God took a rib and made woman. This was the very first marriage which was God’s gift to humanity and originally meant to bring glory to God. Because of sin marriage has been tarnished and it is recognizable that not everyone that enters into marriage is in right relationship with God. For our theological understanding it is imperative that one understands the centrality of Christ in the marriage. Christ is essential! The essentials of a healthy marriage are a relationship with Christ, communication and commitment.
Genesis records the following: “And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:23-24). Man took one wife and they became one flesh. Adam was given a companion after his own kind. Thus we see, marriage is an institution that was created by God that was primarily meant to provide companionship. This companionship would grow and be the means by which God meant to reproduce humanity through procreation.
After God created Adam and made Eve from his rib and the dust of the ground He gave them a commandment to procreate, have children. “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28). This dominion mandate was given to the man and the woman. One of the joys of the marital relationship is the fulfillment of this mandate.
When the marriage is consummated through intercourse the bond between husband and wife takes on a new and exciting aspect as sexual emotions have been allowed to manifest within the will of God and the boundary of holy matrimony. God’s gift of human sexuality should not become an idol and risk diverting one’s affection from the gift-giver to the gift. God’s desire is for the husband and wife to have pleasure and to recognize that it is God’s blessing upon their union. It should be noted that God created sex and therefore it is good. To withhold sexual relations with one’s spouse is unbiblical unless it meets certain criteria as Paul addressed the Corinthians:
“Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment” (1 Corinthians 7:1-6).
When a person’s God given sex drive is given over to sinful living the ramifications can far exceed one’s control. Marriage should be the safeguard for an individual to utilize his or her sex drive in a godly manner within the bound of marriage. If physical intimacy is withheld the temptation for adultery will soon appear and apart from the grace of God, the marriage covenant can become tarnished by impure thoughts. Such impure thoughts are the seedbed of which adultery may spring up and its bad fruit may destroy the marriage. When adultery takes place it is a violation of the marriage covenant made between husband and wife and God. Certainly, the gift of sex has been tarnished through sinful humanity’s abuse. And as a result there are often emotional and psychological challenges that couple face. However, procreation is a vital purpose of marriage and sexual intercourse is essential in a healthy marriage. Even if the couple is not able to have children the roles of husband and wife are actualized through sexual intimacy and given opportunity to manifest God’s love from the heart.
Communication is essential when it comes to marriage. Lack of communication gives room for problems. There should be mutual respect between the husband and wife. The husband is the functional head of the home but he may not be more spiritual. The woman brings to the marriage certain qualities just as the man brings to the marriage certain qualities. Good communication enables the couple to meet each other’s needs and desires. If there are problems within the marriage good communication is the means by which problems are addressed and resolutions discussed. Paul taught the following concerning marriage:
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:22-33).
In conclusion, everything a Christian does needs to be bathed in prayer, especially the consideration of marriage. As Scripture teaches, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1). Marriage is a covenant between one man, one woman and God. Vows are made not only to each other but also to God. As is often mentioned at weddings, Jesus blessed marriage Himself with His presence and performing His first public miracle of turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11). Physical intimacy is only biblically acceptable when it is within the bounds of the marriage covenant. Marriage is a holy estate, instituted by God at creation. It is meant to be a life-long covenant between one man, one woman and God. Its purpose is to provide companionship, procreation and pleasure to the husband and wife as they seek to glorify God through the holy estate of matrimony.
As a licensed and ordained minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ within the NC Conference International Pentecostal Holiness Church I will not change nor accept any other definition of marriage than that which is recorded in God’s Holy Word, the Bible. I am grateful for the leadership of the IPHC and especially our presiding Bishop Dr. A. D. Beacham, Jr. who states the following:
“I join with millions of Americans in expressing my disappointment in the U.S. Supreme Court decision. They have made law something that is contrary to God’s will. The IPHC position on marriage is clear and we will not abandon revealed truth in God’s Word. As our society experiences the increasing problems that will unfold in our rapidly decaying moral foundation, it is our opportunity as followers of Jesus to be His light and salt in our society. We will not respond to this in fear, but in holy boldness to re-consecrate our lives to Christ, showing His love to all and manifesting the blessings of His righteousness to all.”
For more information regarding the IPHC position on the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on marriage please visit: http://iphc.org/gso/2015/06/26/iphc-response-to-us-supreme-court-ruling-on-marriage/
 (Hebrew: צֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים; tzelem elohim or Latin: imago dei).