Doctrine of Marriage and Divorce - II
December 25, 2022 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith
Topic: Doctrine of Marriage and Divorce Scripture: Genesis 2:8–25, Malachi 2:10–17
Scripture: Genesis 2.8-25, WCT 24.I-III
The Attack on Marriage
We’re moving along in the Confession of Faith, talking about marriage.
Last week we spoke about the attack that our society has declared on marriage.
We spoke about the reasons why marriage was given
For the mutual help and comfort of Man & Woman
- That we are to subdue the world but that work cannot be done alone
- That there is a society and a community enjoyed between husband and wife that cannot be replaced anywhere else
Marriage comes from the hand of a loving God
- It is not tired, worn out and oppressive
- It is freedom to do what God requires of each of us and having help to do so
For the generation of a Legitimate Issue
Legitimate issue, legal heirs are important for a society that understands God’s command to rule and to reign in our places and callings under Christ.
Husband and wife work together for the glory of God throughout their lives as they continue that work.
- To have legal heirs that come forth
- To have legal heirs to leave an inheritance to so that they might carry on the mandate
- To subdue the world
- To tend and care for the earth
- To glorify God by living for Him
- To be salt and light to the world
OT Example of Inheritance
The inheritance was, indeed one of the reasons the Lord granted the Israelites land
- as an expression of them subduing the earth
- as an expression of having legitimate heirs
Part of that teaching, of that expression was the land
- those familiar lands to remain in their possession
You could give up your land for a period of time
- if you were destitute or poor
But every year of Jubilee, the land was restored
- every 50th year, the land was restored
This was the Lord teaching that those family lands should never be given up – never be given away
- land represented what your progeny would do
- land represented what your legitimate heir would do as they move beyond your lifetime subduing the earth for God's glory
Remember the daughters of Zelophehad? Num 27
Their father had died, and he did not have a male heir
Question 1: If we get married, what's going to happen to the land that our Father had?
- Moses did not know so he inquired of the Lord
- The Lord said to give them their inheritance
- If a man is dies without a male heir, then his daughters will receive the inheritance.
- The land would always remain in the family as the ongoing teaching of the inheritance of heirs
- they continue where their fathers had left off, glorifying God working the land
Question 2: What then if we marry men outside of another tribe? Will our father's land be spread throughout all these other tribes?
- Moses again inquired of the Lord.
- The Lord said → They will marry inside their father's tribe, so that that land will not be lost and given to other tribes.
- Those children, having legitimate heirs, will have that land to work for the glory of God
Summary – Inter-Generational Heirs
Land in the Old Testament had many things to teach the children of Israel about their eternal inheritance
- It taught them how they were to work in the world as one generation after another
- To continue on in that work of their parents
This work is to take place inter-generationally.
- Our children are to take what the parents have left behind and build upon what we have done
- They are to rise up where their parents have succeeded and, perhaps, failed
- They are to go beyond them
- They are to progress to areas where they have not gone because we are ever marching forward
Point #3: Marriage is given to pass on our Faith to Godly children
The Lord has given us marriage so that we will have not only a legitimate issue but a godly issue
In this passage is a description of the original creation
- Malachi reaches all the way back to Genesis 2, and talks about the original creation of man
- How many wives did God make for Adam?
- How many? One. (v. 15)
- He did not make two. He made one.
- One woman, for one man.
- As we saw last week in Genesis 4, that was a perversion of the God given order by Lamech
He made one woman yet had a residue of the Spirit
- It's a very interesting passage of scripture and commentators are highly divided
- The word spirit in the OT is the word *ruah*
- The word spirit can mean wind, breath.
- Or it can also mean the Spirit of God because the Spirit of God is like wind and like breath
- Metaphorically speaking, being invisible.
Many commentators believe that Malachi is talking about the "creative spirit of Truth”
- that God had a residue
- that God had some leftovers of the creative spirit.
In other words, He didn't use up all of his power when he created one woman
- He could have created as many as he wanted.
It might be better to understand that God had breath leftover.
- After he created the women, He wasn't taxed.
- By creating woman, he was not winded
- There was not any difference in work for Him to create a single one or a one billion Eves
- That was not the reason he created only one woman
- It wasn't that he could only create one, that's all he could muster. And then he was out of breath.
Why only the one? (v15)
- Maybe so that Adam and Eve seek, pursue, inculcate a godly seed
Conformance with the World
Remember that the war our society has declared upon marriage is also a war upon our faith.
Divorce has entered into the church in proportions remarkably similar to that of the world
- this means that the church has bought in to worldly philosophy and vain deceit
- this means that the church has moved away from the reason God gave one man and one woman
- one family producing a godly seed
Divorce, the Lord says here that He hates it, and there is very good reason
- Now the Lord could hate it simply because He hates it. And that would be enough.
- But he tells us why he hates it.
- It destroys the foundations that he has built up for giving to us godly children
- godly children who will assume and continue the work of the dominion mandate
- godly children who will also continue with that same faith of their parents
The Lord has given to us marriage and in marriage, the wife of the youth
- in other words, the wife that you grew up
- the one that you went to church with
- the one who you worship with
- the one you knew believed what you believed
- the one who will raise up children who have the faith and the trust that you have
Now, why would you want to move away from that and to pick up the daughter of a strange god?
- Why would you do that?
- What would the reasoning be?
- Malachi is sort of a bit of Genesis 6
First Example of Marriage Outside the Covenant of God - Genesis 6.1
There are strange interpretations of this passage.
- that there was a kind of strange cohabitation between angels and humans
- But that is silly.
This is teaching the same thing Malachi 2 is teaching.
Those of you who are “in the market”:
- The sons of God is a rubric, a moniker for the covenant line, the godly line of Seth
- These men are those which have come from the godly line
- The sons of Men, is a rubric for the wicked line, the line of Cain
As we move into Chapter 6, the sons of God break the chain
- What was the reason for choosing these wives?
- They were fair.
- They were pretty.
- They were good looking.
- That is not good criteria to choose a spouse.
There are more weighty concerns of godliness, modesty, sobriety
- They left off faith
- They left off belief
- They left off obedience rendered to God
They saw a pretty woman and decided that would be the criteria for marriage.
- And they ended up with an ungodly seed.
In fact, just one generation later, the Lord says that he looked down and saw the wickedness of men, that that in their hearts was only evil continually.
- That is like a star falling out of heaven.
- We are talking about a man like Seth who called upon the name of his God
- when men began to call upon the name of the Lord (end of Gen 4)
- when public worship was established in the days of that godly line.
But those sons did not have the faith of their fathers.
- The result was the wickedness of man growing into something that was ugly and grotesque, so much so that God sent a flood and wiped it out.
Purpose/ Criteria for a happy and godly marriage
Good looks are not the criteria for a happy and godly marriage.
- This is what happened in Genesis 6
The primary purpose of marriage is not pleasure (oh, do not tell the Hallmark channel!)
- The primary purpose of marriage is to raise a godly seed after us.
And the pleasure that God has given to marriage will become full and wonderful
- Just like coming to church
- We don’t go because we need to be refreshed
- We do not go because it fits in our schedule
- We go because it is God’s design for us and when we follow His design, we find pleasure and fullness
But the pleasure that comes with marriage is to be confined within the bounds of marriage
- and being therein confined
- it is pleasurable, and lawful and godly
- and it results in godly offspring.
That is the goal. That is the purpose.
That is the command God gave your first father Adam
That is the command Lord Jesus Christ gave His disciples.
That is our command today.
- To be occupied in the things that make for His glory until He comes
You will wear out and die before you get it done.
- And so, you must leave the children behind to continue that work.
- They must share your faith
- they must share your goods
- they must share everything that you have.
This is why God has given marriage.
- This is why any perversion of marriage is wrong.
Because God gave it for these purposes
- He gets to choose what a right purpose is
- And what all other purposes are not.
The war, that our society has declared upon the 7th Commandment:
- they have decided that we are really more like animals than we are like the image of God.
This is striking at the face of God Himself.
They are not striking against Christians for supporting traditional marriage
- they are sitting in God's lap
- He is holding them up giving them breath.
- And they are using that kindness, to slap him in the face
They are trying to destroy the institution that He gave us for our comfort, for our health, for legitimate issue, for a godly seed
Now this places great responsibility upon us as parents to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord
- nurture, training, and learning
- admonition correction
- chastisement, warning.
It is our duty under God to subdue the earth for his namesake
It is our duty under God to raise up godly children
It is our duty under God to raise up those children
- by marrying someone that has grown up in the same way that you have (the wife of your youth)
In other words, one that has gone to church with you now in these days of difficulty,
We understand that we cannot necessarily marry someone we've grown up with
- cannot exactly know their family
- cannot exactly know their life experiences
- it is hard to find reformed Presbyterians
Some of us have gone outside of the bounds of our normal environment to find mates.
But those mates that are found
- must be of the same faith
- must qualify, at least indirectly, as the wife or the husband of your youth.
- must have the same faith
- must be partakers of the same understanding the covenant
This is why we are strong proponents of introducing the proposed spouse to the parents.
This is why we are not advocates of rushing headlong into relationships.
This is why we are not advocates of pursuing relationships the way the world does
- because we have seen the results of how the world does things
- because we are not of the world
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