You may deny reality, but you cannot hide reality. Our nation is seriously divided along racial lines, economic factors, religious belief and many other world and life views. The marriage institution is the most dangerous division of all.
Marriage is a divine institution originating within God’s covenant with man at creation. God ordained it in the perfect world before sin entered into the world. To understand this institution properly there are chronological factors that must be applied to the logic of the institution. Man, a male being, was created first. God created man to have dominion by the labor of his hands and the propagation of his own kind. Since man was alone, he had no mutual help to fulfill the covenant responsibilities. God provided the woman, one of man’s own kind, for mutual help.
God created a male and female human being that constitute a married couple (See Genesis 1:27). God’s plan for marriage includes order and harmony. The Lord said, “I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18). Although there are several renderings of the phrase “helper comparable to him”, the essence of the text is that the woman is just right for the man. The woman made man complete.
After this remarkable creation, God brought the woman to man, thus forming the divine institution commonly known as marriage. Marriage is an ordinance of God’s creative work. Marriage is not a sacrament and marriage, as an institution, does not belong to God’s redemptive plan.
Now we have to ask: what happened to this divine institution? Sin entered the world. Sin does not change the fact that God ordained marriage and therefore God must regulate marriage. In fact, sin is all the more reason that marriage must be God regulated.
A careful examination of the Word of God will reveal the fundamental principles necessary for a biblical marriage and therefore a biblical family.
Marriage is honorable. Hebrews 13:4
The woman is necessary for the man. Genesis 2 and 1 Corinthians 11:11-12
The man is the head in marriage. 1 Peter 3:1-7; Col. 3:18; Ephesians 5:22
The honor and necessity of marriage is rarely questioned by any culture, because in most cultures males and females marry. In most cultures the government of the marriage is closely defined. In America, that is not the case.
The western culture has three kinds of government in the marriage:
The husband is manager
The wife is manager
The husband and wife are co-managers
Which do you think is the Biblical form of marriage management? The model is the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the Trinity, it is clear from the Bible that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit work in perfect harmony.
Unfortunately, when the husband does manage he often acts like a tyrant. A tyrant exercises authority, headship, and makes decisions, but what motivates the tyrant? Is it love or justice? The answer is no, no. A tyrant cannot exercise justice because he is motivated by his egocentricity. I expect much of male headship in the home is tyranny. The godly biblical prescription is dismissed as impossible in our permissive society. Feminism is the present day view of women ruling in the church and state. I’m not making any accusations because self-professing feminist claim feminism as their world view.
The authority of the man in a marriage relationship begins with the primary duty, which the Bible describes as love. Sentiment is not love. Sentiment is ones opinion or ones feeling toward someone else. Spontaneous sentiment is not biblical love. In a biblical marriage sentiment diminishes as love increases. The husband loves his wife with an overwhelming love and the wife submits to his godly leadership. Harmony and order prevail until the charm of Satan enters into the relationship.
The biblical illustration I use in my book, The Dominant Culture, may be helpful. The context is the nation of Israel during the period of the Judges.
The Bible states the children of Israel were harshly oppressed. During this oppression and suffering you would think that God would raise up a deliverer or a savior for the people. God raised up two deliverers, Othniel (Judges 3:9) and Ehud (Judges 3:15). When Ehud died the people of Israel, “did evil in the sight of the Lord.”
Even though God’s children were “harshly oppressed,” the Bible does not mention their plea for help or that God raised up a deliverer. The Bible does not say that God raised Deborah to Judge Israel; it simply says, “Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time” (Judges 4:4). The nation of Israel found itself without a man as a Judge. The nation of Israel was uniquely a church/state ruled by God’s appointed servants. The assertion that there were “no men in Israel” does not mean that some male human beings did not reside there, but the Bible makes it clear there was no male leadership in the church or the state.
The remedy for the breakdown of the biblical marriage institution is to follow the biblical principles for all of faith and practice. The great danger for our church and nation is “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” It is never too late to say, “we will follow the Lord.”