Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 18, 1971

God's Home — 3

Jefferson David Tant

The Home As God Would Have It

Since marriage is the basis of the home, we can have a home as God would have it only when we have marriage as God would have it. There have been many books, manuals, courses, films, etc., that deal with marriage, along with a myriad of clinics, counselors, and preachers that deal with or specialize in marriage problems. But any advice that is really worthwhile has basically come first from God. Since God created marriage, who could better instruct us as to its perfect operation? I recently bought a new refrigerator from Sears, and what better information could I get as to its operation, maintenance, and care than from the manufacturers' instruction book?

Previous articles have dealt with the need for our study and a definition of the home. It was pointed out that homes are obviously failing, and we need so desperately to strengthen the family before we can hope to stop crime, divorce, drug abuse, and immorality which are increasing daily. The word "home" should convey to our minds all that is pleasant and good, and all that is conducive to our well-being on the earth. We believe that everything God made is good. God made marriage, therefore marriage is good, if we follow God's rules. If your marriage is not good, something is wrong. It's just that simple. Let us note in this article some pointers from God's marriage manual concerning the home as he would have it.

The home is divine in origin (Matt. 19:3-9). Marriage is not a human arrangement except in the fact that humans carry out God's arrangement. It is true that marriages are "made in heaven" in one sense of the word. But while this principle may be true, it is not true that God has made just one person for you or anyone else. Some people become so convinced that they are not married to their "perfect match" that they give up trying to make a good marriage with their present partner. But if humans will respect God's divine arrangement, any home can be a happy home, whether the husband and wife were "made for each other" or not! God wants people to be happy, and what God wants can be done!

The home is nonorganic in form. God decreed that the two are to become one flesh, and each is to have his or her own mate. (Gen. 2:24; I Cor. 7:2). Modern thinkers try to refute this by saying that man cannot be satisfied with one woman, whether it be in marriage or not. Some are firmly advocating several partners as a good thing. A council of church leaders (denominational) not long ago refused to condemn adultery per se, saying that a little "healthy adultery" might be good for a marriage. But God requires one man for one woman as the standard for those who are married. (I Tim. 3:2). There is no provision for the so-called "double standard" of loose morals for the man, but not for the woman. Morality knows no sex.

The home is mutual in consideration. "So say I again, a man must love his wife as a part of himself; and the wife must see to it that she deeply respects her husband — obeying, praising and honoring him." (Eph. 5:33, Living New Testament) Many marriage ceremonies include words to this effect: "The woman is not taken from the head of man that she may rule, nor from his feet that she should be a slave, but from his side, that they may share and be partners together." And Peter declares that a man must dwell with his wife according to knowledge, giving honor unto her as unto the weaker vessel. (I Pet. 3:7) In order for a man to be deserving of proper respect from this wife, he must love her even as himself! This is a mutual relationship, for in order for a man to have proper love for his wife, it helps for her to have proper feelings towards him. It works both ways.

The home is patriarchal in government, for the husband has responsibilities in ruling both his wife and his children, women's lib notwithstanding. (Eph. 5:23; 6:4). Of course, modern ideas scoff at the wife's being in subjection to her husband, for we live in the age of "emancipation, freedom and equality." But God has a purpose and a design for this, and pictures the relationship of husband and wife as that of Christ and his bride, the church. (Eph. 5:23). The divine order of relationships is given in I Cor. 11:3: "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." Mankind can say what it pleases, but it cannot change or erase these words from the revelation of the mind of God. Physiologically, emotionally and physically, God made the sexes as they are for a purpose, and true happiness cannot ever come by flaunting God's arrangement. There is no way!

Marriage is indissoluble in nature, as it is a long-term contract (or as some wags would put it, a "life sentence.") (Rom. 7:2-3; I Cor. 7:39). Again man mocks at God's design, as we have roughly one of three marriages ending in divorce in this nation. But the rate of re-divorces, and the numerous problems that go with many second (or more) marriages, show that divorce is not always the answer, either. Others advocate "trial marriages," or no marriage at all, with men and women free to change partners at will. This may sound like utopia to some, but again, the evidence shows that where such is tried, it does not work for the general good of all. Why? Because God knew what he was doing when he made man the way he is, and gave him laws governing his life.

The home is multiple in purpose. First, it serves a sociological purpose — companionship. God made woman to be with man, as it was not good for man to live alone. (Gen. 2:18). This is the abiding value of marriage, as it is many times the long lasting feature. Marriage also has its biological purpose, for it is within marriage that we have God's divine provision for the satisfying of the sex drive which he placed in mankind, and which is good. (Gen. 1: 31; I Cor. 7:2-5, 9.) This need of man cannot be rightly satisfied in any other relationship than marriage. Bestiality is sinful because beasts are not suitable for man. (Gen. 2:20; Ex. 22:19.) Homosexuality is sinful because God decreed that one man and one woman are to be one flesh. (Rom. 1:24-27; I Cor. 6:9). It is sad to see the growing sentiment, even among denominations to overlook and accept the sin of homosexuality. Polygamy and polyandry are sinful for it is to be one man and one woman that are to be one flesh. (Gen. 2:24.) Fornication and adultery are wrong because every man is to have his own wife (not some one else's), and vice versa. (I Cor. 7:2). The modern advocates of sexual freedom (license) not only go against God's law, but are opening a Pandora's box that is producing illegitimate children in unprecedented numbers, venereal disease in epidemic proportions in spite of tremendous advances in medicine, divorce, suicide and untold misery and degradation. Another biological purpose of marriage, of course, is the procreation of the race. (Gen. 1:28; I Tim. 5:13.) But note that this is only one purpose of sexual union, and those who try to say this is the sole reason for sexual union fly in the face of many Bible teachings on the relations of man and wife. It has always seemed ridiculous for the Catholic Church to teach that this is the only reason for man and woman to have sexual relations, and then turn right around and teach that a form of birth control can be practiced that is in keeping with the Church's dogmas. Catholic teaching has produced much misery in the world.

A third purpose of marriage has to do with religious principles, inasmuch as marriage provides an avoidance of temptation and sin. (I Cor. 7:2). Since fornication is sinful (Gal. 5:19), marriage has in this sense spiritual or religious implications, and the marriage bed is to be held in honor, undefiled. (Heb. 13:4).

Marriage is simple in constituents. It consists of mutual love (Eph. 5:25; Titus 2:4); a covenant between scriptural partners to live together as husband and wife (Matt. 19:5); compliance with civil law with reference to marriage (Rom. 13); and co-habitation — becoming one flesh. (Matt 19:5; I Cor. 7:2-5).

Finally, marriage is strict in its regulations. As we have noted earlier, it is to be one man for one woman for life. (Rom. 7:2, 3; 1 Cor. 7:39). It is strange that some give more thought to the choosing of a job or a college they will attend or a house they will buy than the mate they will live with for 50 years. Another regulation concerns "leaving" parents and "cleaving" to one's mate. There have been more problems than we could count because the son or daughter was not ready to cut the apron strings, or perhaps because Mom or Dad were not ready to turn loose. Again, we insist God knew what he was doing when including these regulations for marriage.

Second marriages are permitted only in case of: (1) death (Rom. 7:2, 3; 1 Cor. 7:39); (2) fornication or adultery (Matt. 5:32; 19:9). I am aware that civil law permits divorce for burning the toast, and that nearly all denominations pay no regard to this regulation and do practically no teaching on the subject, but I am also aware of God's law, and I must respect that law if I want to go to heaven.

Some insist that this law does not apply to non-Christians, and that one may marry and divorce for any cause before becoming a Christian, but not after. It is not my purpose to go into any detailed study of this at this time, but briefly consider two points that I believe are pertinent and germane to the question. First, prayer is just as strong and efficacious for the Christian as baptism is for the sinner, and if baptism makes an adulterous marriage right for the alien sinner, then prayer will do the same for the Christian. If not, why not? Secondly, if these laws do not apply to non-Christians, then will someone please explain to me (and thousands of others) how it would be possible for those outside of Christ to commit fornication or adultery, since there is no such law for them to transgress and sin is a transgression of law. We read in I Cor. 5:10 and 6:9-11, among other passages, of these sins being committed by non-Christians. If these laws are not universal in their application, how could such be?

Finally, God's law is for man's good, and if we want a good marriage, it must be in harmony with God's laws governing such relationship. There is no other way. Therefore we will continue in the next lesson, and will deal with the God-given responsibilities of the husband and father.

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