The Institution of Marriage, Part 3
In these last days before the return of the Lord, it is essential that we as Christians know and understand what we believe and why we believe it!!
And in that there is a difference between knowing some facts “about God” and actually “knowing God!”
Sometimes it’s easy to think that we are just fine the way we are in life! When challenged it’s easier to say “don’t judge me” than it is to expound on the Scriptures!
Perhaps for some people when faced with a challenge it’s easier to just pass the buck, per se, relinquishing any and all responsibility! After all, isn’t it easier for somebody else to do it?
As Bible-believing Christians who live by every Word of God, it’s not good enough to say “my opinion is” or “my parents believe” or “my husband/wife believes” or “my church believes” or even “my pastor believes.”
What do you believe and why do you believe it?
“…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15)
When challenged to give an answer about the hope that is in us, it is imperative to be prepared to give an answer, according to the Word of God! Our opinions and that of others is simply not enough!! So get ready and be prepared!!!
Here are some tips for being prepared:
- Be devoted to the Word of God and prayer! The Word of God is a treasure!
o Memorize Scripture, a way of hiding God’s Word in our hearts!
o Study the Word of God! Search it out and ask God for wisdom!
- Put on the whole armour of God when waking up each morning!
o The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God!
- Be led by the Holy Spirit in all that you do! Abide in the true Vine!
- Don’t take anything for granted! Be a good steward of what God has given you!
- Fellowship with the Saints as much as possible and get involved!
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13)!!
The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ
We previously considered the Institution of Marriage and examined key aspects of what constitutes the covenant of marriage.
In that we know that it is essential to look to the Word of God, the source of all truth! The Word of God is the basis of the doctrine of Christ and the authority by which we live, and move, and have our being as Children of God!
We know that since God created the covenant of marriage (Gen. 2:18, 21-24), He alone defined marriage to be a one flesh relationship between a man and a woman who become husband and wife when they voluntarily vow themselves to each other before God in a lifelong (Rom. 7:2), exclusive commitment (Luke 16:18), only separable by death (1 Cor. 7:39)!
From Scripture, we know that vows are very important and that God expects us to keep our vows when we make them! God expects us to mean what we say, and say what we mean! We are not fake, phony, frauds who break our promises! God is a covenant making and covenant keeping God, and He expects no less from us! We are Children of God who hold on to every Word of God!
Jesus said …let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil (Matt. 5:37).
When we say that we are going to do something, we do it for the glory of God!
As a couple enters into the covenant of marriage through the vows they make to each other before God and many witnesses, a sacred union is established, the likes of which is sanctioned by God Himself! Jesus said:
Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (Matt. 19:6).
In the world today there is an effort underway to redefine the institution of marriage! But remember, we did not create it, therefore we cannot define it!! God has defined it and it is marvelous! The covenant of marriage is something that we highly value, support, promote, protect, and defend!
And for those who are married according to the Word of God, guard your marriage! Have clear boundaries and don’t take anything for granted! Be faithful to the Lord!
So today, we will be considering the institution of marriage in light of what it really represents, and that is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Origin of Sin Nature
We find in Scripture that sometime after Adam and Eve became husband and wife that the course of history was forever changed. Adam was given a command from the Lord God before he was ever given a help meet. A boundary was established! That boundary is a line of distinction detailing what the Lord God expected from, Adam, a line that must not be crossed!
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Gen. 2:16,17).
We also know that, Adam, was made with a free will. And with that free will is the ability to make choices. In making choices it is imperative to have discernment. Discernment is essential in knowing the difference between good choices and bad choices. Once a choice is made, there is a result or consequence.
In this matter, there really wasn’t anything that, Adam, needed to figure out! The Word of the Lord God was very clear. Do this, but don’t do that! But with a choice we also find opportunity! Are we going to obey the Word of the Lord God or not? That opportunity has a way of allowing us to really know what we are made of. What kind of fruit will we bear?
Adam and Eve soon found themselves being tempted by the serpent. That temptation was a challenge where they were tested. Are you going to obey the Lord God or not? They ultimately reasoned as to what could be so wrong in knowing good and evil. Genesis 3:6 describes what happened!
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat (Gen. 3:6).
When they crossed the line in disobedience to the Word of God in partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they soon came to the realization that something had really gone wrong! It was a real OH NO moment!
Up to that point, they were considered to be righteous before God. They did not know sin, as God did not make them sinners!
How many people know that when God establishes boundaries, He knows what He is doing and that it is for our own good? God knows what is best for us and it is vital that we take Him at His Word! God’s Word is true (John 17:17)!
What Adam and Eve found is that their disobedience brought with it consequences that they were not counting on! We find in Genesis 3:7-24 that they knew that they were naked and needed to be covered. In that they were also fearful and hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God. They were guilty! And then we find, Adam, making excuses for what happened and blamed his wife!
Is there anyone that can relate to this situation? One of the first things we know when we realize that we did something wrong is that we are guilty. And in that there is the tendency to want to cover it up and hide! And how easy is it to blame others for our own problems instead of facing the problem and making things right?
Sometimes we do things and don’t really understand the gravity of our choices and the subsequent consequences! That is yet another reason for us to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). God said it, we believe it, and that settles it!
Well, we also know that there was a response from the Lord God. The Lord God cursed the serpent and provided the first recorded prophecy in Scripture, which is found in Gen. 3:15.
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (Gen. 3:15).
That prophesy is important, it points directly to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!
The response of the Lord God to Adam and his wife is found in Gen. 3:16-19.
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return (Gen. 3:16-19).
The Lord God then sent the man forth from the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:23).
In theology, Adam’s, transgression and the subsequent effect on the human race is regarded as “original sin.” That sin prevents us from having fellowship with God and it produces death, both physically and spiritually! Unfortunately, there are people in the world today who do not have a concept of what sin represents.
Sin is an offense against God! A sinner is an offender that is devoted to sin! Apart from Christ, we are considered to be sinners that are subject to the wrath of God.
All unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17). Sin is ultimately disobedience to the Word of the Lord, it’s the failure to adhere to or conform one’s self to the moral law of God. However, there was a time in which there was no law, and with that, no knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20). And we know that sin is not imputed when there is no law (Rom. 5:13).
The law of God was first established with Moses on Mount Sinai and was given to the nation of Israel under the terms of the Old Covenant, the covenant of which they freely accepted. One of the things we know from Scripture is that by the law is the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20). And it is also considered to be our schoolmaster.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith (Gal. 3:24).
I find it interesting that “Sinai” means “thorny,” and that the first three letters of that word spells “sin.” Thorns symbolize the curse of sin!
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field (Gen. 3:17, 18).
When the Lord God cursed the ground as a result of Adam’s offense, it was doomed to destruction!
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).
Only the serpent and ground were cursed! We know from Matthew 25:41 that the lake of fire was prepared for the devil and his angels.
We also find in Scripture that a crown of thorns was placed on the head of Jesus (Matt. 27:29) before He was crucified! Jesus was made a curse for us!
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree (Gal. 3:13)(Isa. 53).
To be under the law was and is a big deal!! To break the law brought with it a curse. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them (Gal. 3:10) (1 Tim. 1:9, 10).
We find in 1 John 3:4 that sin is lawlessness. Is there anyone here today that has not disobeyed the law of God in some way? For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:10).
The Scripture teaches that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Apart from Christ, there is none righteous, no, not one (Rom. 3:10).
At this point we’ll be taking a look at how we sin and why. There are primarily three ways in which we sin, which include either intentional or unintentional acts, failing to do what we know is right, and we have a sin nature.
Sin of commission: The sin of commission is either intentional or unintentional sin. They are sins that a person commits in word, thought, or deed.
- Intentional sin is a willful disregard for the Word of God. These are acts of disobedience, non-compliance, and rebellion. An example of how this is done is when we break the 10 Commandments!
o For instance, do you love the things that God hates? Are you a friend of the world? This is a question for self- examination! Where do you stand? We find in 1 John 2:15-17:
o Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
o Incidentally, we find in that passage three contributing factors as to why, Adam, willfully sinned against the Lord God in the first place-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life!!
o Jesus said…, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. (Matt. 22:37, 38).
o I’d like to ask you here today, where is your treasure found? For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matt. 6:21). Would you rather have one foot in and one foot out of life being a lukewarm Christian that is neither cold nor hot, or would you rather be a committed Christian who embraces the truth and holds on to every Word of God?
- Unintentional sin includes sin that is done in ignorance. An example of an unintentional sin is not realizing that the law was broken. The requirements under the law of Moses dealt with sin done out of ignorance (Numbers 15:22-24).
o A practical example of how we can sin in ignorance is when the law of the land changes and we are not aware that the law changed, or perhaps we don’t understand the law. Ignorance of the law is no excuse!
o What a joy it is to know that God is immutable! He doesn’t change!! Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever (Heb. 13:8).
o For I am the Lord, I change not… (Malachi 3:6).
o This underscores the importance of knowing and understanding the Word of God. We find in Psa. 119:11:
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Sin of omission: The sin of omission is the failure to do something that we know we should do according to the Word of God. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin (James 4:17).
- An example of the sin of omission is apathy, which is a lack of interest or concern. We see someone in need and yet don’t respond! We don’t want to be bothered, or perhaps we don’t want to get involved! How many times have we seen this in American culture? Sometimes we want to help, but we don’t know how to help!
- A prime example of this apathy is found when considering whether or not we share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. How easy is it to just turn the other way and figure that someone else will do it? If that is you here today, I would encourage you to repent and ask God to forgive you!
- For those who are “in Christ” there is a struggle that we often face in knowing the will of God, and yet not doing it! The Apostle Paul wrote:
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me (Rom. 7:14-20).
Charles Spurgeon once wrote: “In every sin of commission there is an omission, an omission, at least, of that godly fear which would have prevented disobedience.”
Original Sin (Romans 5)
As we consider the doctrine of “original sin,” it is important to note that we were “made sinners” as a result of Adam’s disobedience. We have inherited a sin nature!
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous (Rom. 5:19).
A sinner is regarded as one who is devoted to sin. That devotion to sin is something that comes naturally, it’s in the nature of man. An unregenerate sinner is considered to be a servant or slave to sin and is in in bondage to that sin.
Nobody has to teach us to sin! King David proclaimed: Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me (Psa. 51:5).
From Romans, Chapter 5, we find the doctrine of original sin:
- V. 2 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
- V. 15 …For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
- V. 17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
- V. 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
- V. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
There are many people today that really have an issue with the doctrine of original sin, as God made us in His own image and likeness. What they fail to recognize is that something changed after Creation. Sin entered the world!
When we consider the Word of God, we know that God does not fellowship with sinners. In fact, the fellowship that Adam and Eve knew with the Lord in the Garden of Eden was broken because of their sin. The only way to be in fellowship with God is to be righteous. Righteousness is only found through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we read Romans 5 we not only learn about the origin of sin, but we also find the doctrine of the Grace of God!
New Nature in Christ
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8, 9).
God’s standard of righteousness is perfection! How are you doing in that? How do you measure up? All unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17). At our best we are broken!
There are some things broken in life that only God Himself can fix! In life sometimes we really make a mess of things! What a joy it is to make things right when we know that we have failed! When it comes to our brokenness as a result of sin, there is no remedy or work of the flesh that satisfies God’s standard of righteousness apart from Christ. We can’t earn or merit our way into the Kingdom of God!
Jesus said, ye must be born again! We have an old nature that is sinful! As a result, there is by necessity the need for a new nature, a nature that is not defiled with the corruption of this flesh. That nature is found in Christ!
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Cor. 5:17).
The only way to be reconciled to God is to be declared righteous by God Himself!
The Scripture proclaims the just shall live by faith (Rom. 1:17)! That faith is not a faith based on our positive confessions or decrees spoken into the atmosphere, but is the Word of Faith (Rom. 10:8) whereby we place our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as a result of responding to the Gospel Call of Salvation!
Gospel Call of Salvation
In Genesis 24, we find that Abraham (Rep. of Almighty God) sent his eldest servant (Rep. of the Holy Spirit) out to find a wife (Rebekah – Rep. of the Church) for his son Isaac (Rep. of Jesus Christ). In that we learn that God the Father is actively involved in the selection of a Bride for His Son, which is made possible by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit!
As the covenant of marriage was provided to Rebekah and her family, so too are we presented with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!! The Gospel is God’s provision in reconciling a people unto Himself.
God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19).
What is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ? The answer is found in 1 Cor. 15!
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
In that we find that the Lord Jesus Christ made a way of Salvation where there was no way! He did for us what none other could or would do!
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:6-8).
He offered Himself on the Cross of Calvary in making an atonement for sin, where He suffered, and bled, and died that our sins would be forgiven and that we would be reconciled to God. He paid the price for His Bride, the price of which is His own precious blood! We remember His death, burial, and resurrection when we partake of Communion!
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (John 8:36).
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Cor. 5:21)
Today, the Gospel Call of Salvation continues to be proclaimed throughout the world! How is it that two people can hear the same Gospel Call and yet one believes and the other does not believe? If it is only a matter of our will, then why is it that some people choose life and others choose death?
The answer is found in 2 Corinthians 4:1-7!
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us (2 Cor. 4:6, 7).
If you are here today and have eyes to see and ears to hear the Word of truth, Rejoice!!! As a Christian, your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of life!!!!
The Life of Saints
Our life as Saints begins when we hear the Word of truth and believe (Eph.1:12-14)! In that we recognize that there is only one way of salvation, only one way to be set free from the bondage of sin (John 14:6). We repent of our sins and place our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:9, 10).
The sanctification of the Spirit is unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:2). This is what occurs when we are born again! Regeneration is the process and justification is the result. One involves our response to the Gospel, and the other is God’s response to our faith in His Son!
Justification is God’s response to our faith, where He considers us to be righteous, a legal change of status where we are declared righteous. That righteousness is not based on our own merit, but the merit of the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8.9).
We have been saved from our sin by the grace and mercy of God! And in that it is imperative that we …yield ourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God (Rom. 6:13).
The liberty we now have in Christ is not a freedom to sin, it’s freedom from being a slave to sin! That is one of the things we learn when considering the significance of what it means that we have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Redemption is freedom from slavery! We have been set free to worship Him!
Unfortunately, in this postmodern culture of corruption, the absolute truth of God’s Word is often compromised by those looking for an excuse to live in sin! If you find yourself living a lifestyle of sin, examine yourself to see if you are in the faith!
The fruit that we bear in life really has a way in telling the story! Don’t make excuses for sin, and don’t be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13). Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good (Rom. 12:9).
As a result of being saved, we are espoused to Christ and are empowered to live lives that are pleasing to Him! God expects us as overcomers to be holy!
We have been forgiven for so much! How can we but extend that forgiveness to others? And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Eph. 4:32).
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21).
As Christians, we have so much to be thankful for in life! May God be praised!