|Volume 19 Number 7 July 2017||
Gary C. Hampton
Marriage was designed by God to fulfill a basic need of man, companionship. The first five days of creation repeatedly have God observing his work and noting “it was good” (Genesis 1:9, 12, 18, 21, 25). The Almighty made man on the sixth day and noted, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18).
The Creator brought every animal that He made to Adam to be named (Genesis 2:19-20). “The relation of man to the animals of the field would not fill this loneliness of man. Adam knew this from his naming of the animals” (William E. Woodson, Writings and Notes).
God’s revealing to man of the special creation who was to serve as his companion for life brought forth a wonderful statement from the man. “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Moses’ inspired addition seems fully appropriate. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:23-24).
Jesus’ most thorough teaching about marriage arose because of the Pharisees’ question, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” (Matthew 19:3). The Lord thought the answer was implicit in Moses’ account of the creation of man and woman. “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh” (Matthew 19:1-6).
God saw marriage as a permanent relationship, only to be severed by death. Paul explained, “For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband” (Romans 7:2).
God sees marriage as a means of fulfilling man’s important need for companionship. He intended for it to last for life.
Does God Change?
Anyone who has been around for a few decades can attest to the changing attitudes of people when it comes to morals, but especially when it comes to young people today. Of those 18 to 34 years of age, 74% approve of same sex relationships, 71% of having children outside a marriage relationship, 48% of abortion, 46% of doctor assisted suicide, 68% of divorce as acceptable and 49% of pornography being okay (https://www.gallup.com/poll/162881/older-americans-moral-attitudes-changing.aspx).
Changes in attitudes are nothing new from one generation to the next. It would seem each generation likes to push the envelope beyond that of the one just past. There is always pressure to conform to the standards of the world. Does this, however, justify changing? We could also mention changes taking place in the church as well. Activities of the world have become more important to some than assembling to worship God, to attend Bible class, to fellowship and to read the Bible daily, and the list goes on. Are these positive changes that should be embraced?
In considering all this, aren’t we glad our God doesn’t change? “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). God is not swayed by the whims of society. He watches over creation consistently. We don’t have to worry whether gravity will be active from day to day, or if a flood will destroy the world or if the earth will wander too close or too far from the sun. We don’t worry if God will void His Word when we stand before Him in the Judgment. We don’t have to worry whether the blood of Christ will still cleanse us from our sins. We don’t have to worry whether God still loves us. We don’t have to worry whether Heaven will still be the faithful’s eternal home.
So, because the sensibilities of people change, does that mean God has changed? Does that mean God now approves of what He once rejected? Of course not! Same sex relationships are still unacceptable to God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Sex outside of marriage still displeases God (1 Corinthians 6:18). Life is sacred, whether in or out of the womb (Psalm 139:13-14). God still desires marriage to be permanent (Matthew 19:9). As Christians, God still desires us to not forsake our assembling together (Hebrews 10:25). We are still to treasure His Word in our hearts that we might not sin (Psalm 119:11). God still believes the church to be relevant, as He sent His Son to die for it (Ephesians 5:25-27). We are still to be faithful until death to gain the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).
Yes, God is still a God of love, grace and mercy. He never wants any to perish, but He longs for all to come to repentance. He sincerely desires us to have eternal life, but He also will punish iniquity. Heaven is real, but so is Hell. Shouldn’t we, then, “pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away” (Hebrews 2:1)? Shouldn’t we, then, seek to not be conformed to this age, but rather to be transformed by the renewing of the will of God that brings to life (Romans 12:2)? It is the ultimate act of folly to believe whatever we want and expect God will accommodate us. We are made in His image, not He in ours. While certain things can change, the truth of God’s Word cannot, nor can our response to what He commands change if we desire to spend eternity with Him.
The Gospel has always been counter-cultural, and so is it today. The only way to change our world is to live for Christ, not to capitulate to its demands. The changes we must make are not to reflect the world, but to reflect the image of Christ (Philippians 2:5). What a difference that can make. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:15-17).