When the LORD God created man and woman, He did not just leave them to live as they pleased. He created the woman from the man and pronounced a very close relationship between the two, which was not stated of any of the other animals:
“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23, ESV).
This concept that the male and female pair shared a “one flesh” relationship demonstrated an intimacy that the rest of God’s creation did not have. The LORD God then instituted marriage to solidify this relationship.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, ESV).
Jesus believed in the Genesis account and, therefore, in the institution of marriage. When he was challenged about whether or not divorce between a married man and woman was permissible, he said,
“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:4-6, ESV).
Jesus not only endorsed the marriage relationship, he provided an explanation regarding the inimacy of the relationship. He stated that two individuals come together to be as one (one flesh) and that the relationship is from God. Because God has joined them together, they are not to be separated.
It is no secret that Canadian society is becoming increasingly secular. This has a dramatic effect on anything that was established by the LORD God. Marriage and the nature of the relationship is not only called into question, but is changing. Statistics Canada (2011 Census Report) stated that although married couples (male and female) remain the predominant family structure in Canada, the proportion of married couples has declined from 2006-2011. In addition, the number of common-law and lone-parent familes increased. The number of same-sex married couples almost tripled between 2006-2011.
The Globe and Mail (2010), reported that over the past 40 years in Canada, there has been a change from a belief in God to an increasingly securlarization of society, “Before 1971, less than 1 per cent of Canadians ticked the “no religion” box on national surveys. Two generations later, nearly a quarter of the population, or 23 per cent, say they aren’t religious.”
It should be no surprise then, that the things that the Creator has established are dramatically changing and are continually being questioned and scrutinized.
The Apostle Paul tells us that the marriage relationship was given by God to replicate the relationship that believers are to have with the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus called himself the “bridegroom” (Matthew 9:5; 25:1-6). So the Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 5, provides a wonderful exposition on love and the marriage relationship. We are to be “imitators of God”. Paul says, sexual immorality is not to be even named among the believers, let alone practiced, because our love is to be like the love Jesus showed in offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus loved the “church” (Greek word means believers, not a building) and gave himself for her. The bride is to conduct herself in purity and be holy. The Apostle Paul quotes from Genesis regarding the establishment of marriage and explains that this relationship is built on mutual love and is to mirror the relationship between Jesus and his followers.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their 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 Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:25-32, ESV).
The LORD God established marriage between a man an a woman to be a permanent relationship based on love and mutual respect. The relationship is unlike any other in God’s creation. It is, however, a demonstration of our belief in God as the Creator of all things and, it speaks to our belief in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ to deliver us from sin and death. Marriage is more than just a status between two people, it is meant to show our love, respect and gratitude to our Father in heaven.