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THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22, NKJV).


Ephesians chapter 5:22-33 contains the most extensive single teaching in the Scriptures on marriage. If both spouses are Christians, every “one another” passage in the Scriptures becomes a passage on how to treat your mate (40 or more of these are in the New Testament). Even if only one spouse is a Christian, the principle still essentially holds. So, in that sense, there is a wealth of teaching on marriage.


However, Ephesians 5 is specific to the topic. Husband and wife are singled out and given different instructions. This is not an egalitarian relationship, then; it is a complimentary relationship. In the culture we find ourselves in today, this is hated, ridiculed, maligned, made

fun of, and will disqualify you from public office. It is worthy of “re-education” in many people’s minds. I suspect it was hated just as much in the day Paul wrote it, but for slightly different reasons. You almost can’t read a single verse without coming into conflict with

the world. The biggest problem is that they do not understand it; they read the words, but in their ignorance, they import ideas and concepts that are not there.


These verses become powerful tests of our faith. Who do we trust? Do we trust our Father? Do we trust the world’s viewport? Do we trust ourselves? If you are married, these passages will show you who and what you trust.


These Scriptures also help with more than just behavior within marriage. They help to show why marriage even exists. It is one of God’s original institutions (I don’t like that word, but I can’t think of a better one). We should be reminded often that before there was a single tribe, nation, ethnicity, club, church, or group...there was the family as God intended

for it to be. And that included marriage.


The world seems to think marriage and monogamy have evolved. Many think monogamy is a mistake and unnatural, and that the nuclear family (as we call it today) also evolved. The world wants everyone, including us, to believe that marriage is man’s idea. If that is true, then man can do whatever he wants with it.


Then, too, there are social movements that are impeded by marriage. Marriage, family, and the church are major impediments to those who seek freedom (so-called) and to throw off all

the shackles of restraint. Thus, marriage, family, and the church have been relentlessly attacked.


But marriage is God’s idea and institution; He established it without any advice from us.

Family is God’s idea and institution. Therefore, it is not malleable based on today’s ideas. And

like everything He does, He has purposes for it—purposes that go well beyond our “happiness.”


Lord willing, we will have two sermons on marriage during my next preaching block.

In the meantime, consider a few ideas from the text.


The wife is to be in subjection to her husband and respect him. Why? It is for the Lord’s sake.

The command is not dependent on having the “right” or “good” husband.


The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. Why? It is for the Lord’s sake. The

command is not dependent on having the “right” or “good” wife.


These are just a few concepts we will address if the Lord allows it. In the meantime, if you are married, be thankful today for the blessings from this vital institution that God gave us.

—John Ostic



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