Commands of Christ

Honor Marriage

Where is this command found?

“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

Matthew 19:4–6

Applying This Command

Marriage is a blood covenant in which God joins a man and a woman to be one flesh so that they are able to raise up Godly generations. In the discussion that prompted this command, Jesus focused attention on the origin of marriage.

In God’s original covenant of marriage, He caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam. Then He took from Adam a bone (in which blood is manufactured) and formed Eve. Adam then said: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23). The solemnity and seriousness of a blood covenant is illustrated in God’s blood covenant with Abraham. He told Abraham to divide several animals in two and set the parts across from each other. God then caused a deep sleep to come upon Abraham as He “passed between those pieces. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram . . .” (Genesis 15:9–17).

The marriage covenant is dishonored when either party entertains a secret delight in some other person. A covenant relationship will not tolerate any competing delight.

Bible Verses for Meditation

In addition to meditation on Matthew 19:4–6, meditating on the verses below will provide you with further insight and understanding of Christ’s command: Honor Marriage.

Ephesians 5:31–33

“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

I Corinthians 7:10–13

“And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.”

Malachi 2:16

“For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.”

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Study Question

Q: Since God established marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman, why did He provide for divorce in the law of Moses? (See Deuteronomy 24:1–2.)

A: The Mosaic Law lifts up a very high standard for the permanency of marriage and requires severe punishment for anyone who violates this covenant. (See Deuteronomy 22:22, 28–29.) In Deuteronomy 24:1, however, the Law makes a provision for divorcing a wife who has “uncleanness.” The Hebrew word translated uncleanness means “nakedness” or “shame.” This one passage was leaped upon by the Pharisees, and there was much discussion about what was permissible under this provision.

When Jesus talked of the permanency of marriage, they tempted Him with the retort, “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?” Jesus answered by explaining, “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” (See Matthew 19:7–8.) Not only does the original institution of marriage, as recorded in Genesis 2:24, establish its permanency, but Christ’s command clearly states that while tolerated for the time, divorce contradicts the order of nature and of God.

Marriage is a Biblical pattern for Christ’s relationship with the Church—Jesus is the Bridegroom and believers are the Bride. Jesus was sent by His heavenly Father to win our hearts by paying the “bride price,” which was His death on the cross. His unbreakable bond with believers is portrayed in His design for the permanency of marriage.

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