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June 15, 2022 12:01 am
Marriage isn't merely a convention of society; it was instituted by God and is regulated by His commands. Today, R.C. Sproul explores God's intention for the covenant relationship of marriage.
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Today on Renewing Your Mind.
Marriage is not a gift were God's first prescription.
Here's a wonderful thing to do with it what you want. So we look to the Scriptures to see the rules of the game, but God's authority is over that marriage and a Christian who ignores the regulations that God sets down for marriage is a Christian who is acting in defiance against divine authority in Ephesians chapter 5 the apostle Paul tells husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church. The suggestion and think for a moment how Christ loved the church.
Paul tells us that Christ gave himself up for. There is an unbreakable bond between Christ and his bride, the church, and that's the way we are to look at marriage today on Renewing Your Mind.
We have pulled a message from Dr. RC Sproles archive.
It probably hasn't been heard since cassette tapes for the latest technology sharing it with you today to shine a spotlight on a special group of Luger donors will tell you more about that later in the program right now. Let's join RC as he explores God's intention for marriage anytime we find a covenant in Scripture we find two or more parties entering into an agreement that involves promise. The essence of a covenant is commitment and that commitment between the parties who are named and mentioned always carries with it stipulations that is to say there's no such thing as a covenant without law without stipulations without responsibilities that are taken upon both parties.
There is no such thing as a covenant without stipulations without law, not when that covenant is contracted, the commitment is made.
The stipulation set down is done publicly with witnesses swag here frequently from young people with them is assigning a piece of paper, Mike. What difference does the saying a few words in about eight minutes to some marriage ceremonies take how can it possibly make sexual relationships for example legal that were not legal before hand, but were not just saying any kind supports where making a public declaration of a covenant before public witnesses before every authority structure that significant to our lives before the family before the state before the person with whom we are entering into this contractual relationship before our friends and before the church and all of those witnesses have the responsibility of bearing witness to the fact that this commitment was made is a big difference between my making a promise to another person in front of witnesses that has legally binding ramifications in making a promise to girl in the backseat of a car and a drive-in theater. If you look at the Scriptures you will see that the covenant principal takes place again and again and again and again and again and nowhere do we really have a private covenant a private agreement, but biblically the covenant structure is something is done publicly stipulations and it is sealed by certain sanctions and violence. I don't think there's any culture in the Western world today that is more lax in dealing with violence than the American culture.
I think if you would like to have an exercise in terror. I would suggest to you that you go to your concordance and look up the word out. Look up the word bile start at the beginning of the Old Testament and read to the end of the New Testament and see how seriously, how earnestly God considers the taking involves in the making of votes.
Remember, the essence of God's truthfulness, fidelity. The basic difference between God and man is that God is a covenant keeper man is a covenant breaker is Satan who is given the title the father of lies.
The one who deceives his basic posture is over against the truth and truth to the Hebrew is not simply making accurate statements, but truth also includes the notion of keeping one's promises, how many times have you suffered in this life because somebody didn't keep a promise to you somebody didn't do what they said they were going to do. They didn't carry out a statement or a task that they promised that they would carry out something has been lost in your own personal history were new been a victim of that kind of broken promise you been disappointed you been hurt. Perhaps the most clear example of the covenant relationship that we have is the relationship of marriage I want to do is go through the standard marriage ceremony and call attention to the covenant dimensions of that marriage ceremony as we can see them giving us an insight as to what marriage is all about presbyterian service starts like this. Dearly beloved we are assembled here in the presence of God to join this man and this woman in holy marriage, which is Institute of God regulated by commandments blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ, and is to be held in honor among all men is the first date dearly beloved we are gathered here in the presence of God.
For what purpose to join a man and a woman and were going to join them, not in a social political contract, but in what the book calls the holy state of matrimony or holy marriage, why we call marriage holy. What does it mean to be holy. That is, that it's consecrated it, set apart, there is something special about marriage something that transcends the common, something that transcends the ordinary and the normal processes of life is an occasion when people get merit she go to a primitive tribe, you might find all kinds of wild, primitive dancing and celebration were in another culture you may like go to Holland and find people running around in white horses and their old ancient coaches. They go back and forth from the wedding hall. Why did they do the sex widely through strange dances go through unusual rituals or where rented tux data why human things to just because of tradition that will answer the question because we have to ask the question why did the traditional start in the first place. I think the root of it is found in the fact that we recognize intuitively if we don't do it intellectually, that marriage is something different.
It is holy.
It is consecrated it is set apart its special when we see that marriage is instituted of God that is that marriage does not develop as a result of some kind of arbitrary process of evolutionary development in the movement of civilization.
Some have argued that marriage is merely an evolutionary cultural convention from a Christian perspective.
We stand over against that analysis we see marriage rooted and grounded in creation by God's commandments and his institution marriage came from God. He's the one who begins it is the founder of marriage institutes it as a structure for human existence, and he instituted in creation without any statement. These two shall become one flesh. Now most people in the Christian church recognize that marriage is instituted of God and is not merely a convention of society.
But the point that is so rarely acknowledged is the second point about God's involvement in marriage. Not only does God Institute marriage, but he regulates it by his commandments. Think about marriage is not a gift where God says to his creation. Here's a wonderful thing. Do with it what you want, I'll ordain marriage all Institute marriage up with my blessing on your marriage but after you get married you work about how you want to work at, but you are free to do whatever you both agree upon doing and that marriage no God regulates marriage, it doesn't just give it to us and tell us to be autonomous and how we work it out so we look to the Scriptures to see the rules of the game to find out the commandments that govern marriage but God's authority is over that marriage and a Christian who ignores or violates the regulations that God sets down for marriage is a Christian who is acting in defiance against divine authority. When I enter into a marriage relationship.
I am not simply obligated to the church. I'm not simply obligated to the state.
I am now under a new covenant relationship with God. A whole new set of stipulations comes upon me by divine authority. Those regulations are few in Scripture.
Those regulations include, however some very specific things in the first place.
The terms of marriage who may marry whom is regulated by God. There are prohibitions against marriages of consanguinity that is of marriages between brother and sister, mother and son that sort of thing that's out there are prohibitions in the Scripture against mixed marriages. What I mean by mixed marriages or mixtures of the believer and the unbeliever Christian is not allowed to marry a non-Christian reasons for that.
I think, are governed by God's wisdom to get two people together in the most intimate personal relationship that we find in this world where they are not sharing their same commitment to the highest sets of values that govern their lives. You are involved in a relationship of conflict and God knows what he's doing when he forbids the believer to marry the unbeliever. What about mixed marriages, racial there is nothing in Scripture, either explicitly or implicitly, that would forbid such intermarriage. There is much in Scripture that would suggest that it is indeed permissible by God's regulations.
The mixed marriage, about which the Bible speaks is the mixture of the believer and the unbeliever. None of the Asian and the European or the black and the white those kinds of structures are not found in Scripture, those of the traditions of men by which the Christian is not. There are other statements by which God regulates marriage courses under prohibition of sexual infidelity is clear and I think I need to go over that that adultery is clearly prohibited under this divine regulation and I might also say return of dissolving the marriage contract are regulated by God's commands.
If there's any dimension of divine regulation of marriage that is being repudiated in terms of open defiance, both by the state and by the church in our day. It's the terms of God's regulations for the ending of a marriage, Jesus is clear on any point is clear on his strong stance that he takes regarding divorce when we go on and we read that not only is marriage Institute of God regulated by's commands, but is blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ, that is the new covenant sanctions what was instituted in creation and repeated in the old covenant through the blessing of Christ on the site and it is to be held in honor among all men, that marriage is to be esteemed by the whole society and we are living in a day. Right now, ladies and gentlemen were marriage is not held in honor among all men, to say the least. If there's any place for the Christian community is called to bear witness to its culture. It's in our witness to the honorable character of marriage. This is not a negotiable value. This is not a negotiable institution but is something to which we as corporate bodies of Christ.
Whether were married or single, are committed to hold the institution of marriage and highest thing over then read that the God has established a sanctified marriage for what purpose for the welfare and happiness of mankind. Again, his law proceeds not only from his righteousness from his wisdom and his benevolence. If we can just get that through our minds. Simmer. We try to get around the regulations of marriage that God sets down because we think they're too severe or within Jesus view of divorce is too narrow as his own disciples responded to his teaching.
Divorce is whoever wants to get married, that's taking too great of a risk if I'm going to that kind of a commitment that kind of an obligation to going to have a nurse who gives these regulations and he does it not to be a nasty dictator or desperate care advising us by putting us in chains, but is regulations pursued both from his wisdom and his benevolent desire for our welfare and our well-being is a that's the biggest probably have a faith believe in God in the Christian life every time we sin, we are saying God your law is bad because I can't be happy keeping it. If I keep your law I will not be happy if I break your law. I will be think of the arrogance involved in such a judgment from a finite creature who knows nothing. Ultimately, as to what will produce his own well-being is the creator of man who is infinitely more concerned about your well-being than you are in his Revelation tells you that if you obey, you will be fulfilled.
If I could communicate no other point. The people in the church today I would like to be able to communicate this disobedience cannot possibly produce happiness it can produce pleasure if there is a difference between pleasure and happiness. That's why we sin because this person is attractive. It is pleasure that gives us our thrills. It's fun for a season but if we look at the long run effects and consequences it cannot produce the depth dimension of what the Scriptures call happiness. We all know it high. Let's look finally than at the Valdez vase read in this particular service like this. I so saw use RRC invest IRC take the Vesta to be my wedded wife and I do promise and covenant before God and these witnesses to be thy loving and faithful husband. That's the ball I promise to be your loving and your faithful husband. I promise you that I'm going to be your husband. I will do it in a loving way, in a way that manifests fidelity that means it from this day for sexual and romantic involvements with other women or rule out my affection is for you alone because I promise and covenant for God and these witnesses to be your loving and faithful husband again so many times I see in the homemade marriage ceremonies, beautiful and fantastic descriptions, eloquent expressions of the present state of love waited out over gather here today to declare the world how much our sale is best that how much the low source of that's the numerics are but there is little difference between the present declaration of love and the future commitment. What this does is says not only am I gonna respond to you as a human being with love and fidelity cherished and tenderness, etc. today, but I'm committing myself to do that to you tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and the day after that, under what kinds of circumstances. Look at the violence in plenty and in one enjoy and in sorrow and sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live. Why these particular life circumstances and situations are included in the file in plenty and in life. What is it me I'm ready to commit myself to you as a husband regardless of the financial circumstances we may ever find ourselves in. If we prosper, we prosper together. If we enter in the poverty we suffer that together how many marriages have you say when the couple gets together with all kinds of money they don't have any kind of stress they got it made, and suddenly they lose everything and now they have to live together in an enormously difficult stress situation that they never anticipate that's covered right here six plenty or want for richer or poorer was the old way and join in sorrow it's easy to be affectionate, vital, spontaneous and loving when everything is going your way than tragedy comes the baby that you have that you plan for so long was born in the lives for six months contracts the child with the season by your marriage experiences a shattering blow most how easy it is in the midst of that situation to begin the blame and press the other person for the unfortunate circumstances that you've encountered. The joy is no longer there. Now you're living in sorrow. The man might say. Maybe I can get consolation somewhere else. My secretary or the woman six consolation from a friend on that's covered in the in sickness and in health's two days ago I heard of the situation. People line or woman was in a dreadful automobile accident several years ago she survived, barely spent months and months and months and months in the hospital was never able to really recover her faculties and is been left almost a paraplegic last week, her husband filed for divorce and failed couldn't take it anymore snow we had in mind when he got married and want to spend 25, 30 years of his life. The best years of his life taking care of a woman who was now an invalid and so he left the VC that was covered in the sickness and in health, we can't assume good health forever.
Sickness comes to every family and it's covered how long does the Valdez on one-year trial basis. I'll do this until you're 40 that outrage and for 220-year-old or after we have the seven year itch. We can reevaluate it. Sign up a new contract if we want as long as we both shall, as long as we both shall live.
This Dr. RC Sproul speaking with biblical conviction, encourage, and boldness on the topic of marriage, I joined here in the studio by my colleague Chris Larson who serves legionnaire as the president and CEO increase unit as we listen to Dr. scroll there for many many years ago. We can't help but think of how he lived out what he taught in this message that we saw in his marriage with Vesta and it was just beautiful to see their commitment to one another was really driven by their commitment to the Lord and it was as they drew closer to the Lord that they drew closer to one another-remember RC talking about how he really wanted to marry Vesta and they had known each other from childhood, but he had become a Christian.
She wasn't a Christian yet and he was praying Lord bring her to yourself as she didn't trust the Lord and so they were able to be married and RC could then continue to carry out his ministry with his faithful bride with him all of his days. There's really not a time that they were apart.
They were so committed to one another to the principle of fidelity, but really it was because they understood the promises of God, and they understood their covenant valves with one another derived from our covenant making and covenant keeping God, and that really is how theology impacts all of life. Lot of folks ask us that so white, why should I support leader ministries and get your teaching theology. What does that have to do with anything RC would be the first to say as everything to do with everything because right thinking precedes right living, how we interact with one another how we interact with our spouses.
The promises that we make to one another in marriage really derived from an understanding of who God is and so right now this week were trying to enlist more ministry partners to come alongside of this ministry to support us on a monthly basis. When you're joining with us your helping us to proclaim, teach, and defend the holiness of God in all its fullness, and that really is to say, to teach the whole character of God who God is. Now there is masses of people outside of the church you don't know who God is. But the reality is in Dr. scroll would say that there's a lot of people inside the church who don't know who God is and so were really trying to serve both audiences there to just lift up the character of God because it has vast implications for how we live day in and day out. Nowhere else do we see this manifested more clearly than in the institution of marriage and so yeah ministry partners are incredibly important to helping us to teach more people about who God is. And speaking of marriage. Chris said we would like for you or listeners to hear from a husband and wife in Tennessee.
Jonathan and Christine have been ministry partners for many years and you may wonder why someone would commit to giving on a monthly basis, year after year, and I asked Jonathan and Christine about that.
Here's how they answered weeks wrestling legal we can legally teaching and how in God and his word together for them to change lives and we want to support that. We believe that for some good in this world and there's some extra daily living such a vital time. The Internet can be used for so much bad but can be used for so much good and you have resources to push out around the globe. So you know if everyone can watch the holiness of God that somehow donate to thank you so much Jonathan and Christine that is such an encouraging testimony were grateful for the vast army of supporters that link arms with looking year on a monthly basis, Lee could tell our listeners how they could become a ministry partner. This is a very special group of people, and if you'd like to join us in this ongoing mission. Contact us today by phone at 800-435-4343 four. You can simply go online to Renewing Your Mind.org again that phone number is 800-435-4343 then advanced.
I joined Chris and thanking you for your continued support of this ministry Renewing Your Mind is the listener supported outreach of leader ministries. Thank you for joining us today and we hope you make plans to be with us again tomorrow