From the Pastor’s Desk

Marriage Session 7

Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." Alone = (Hebrew) Separation; by implication - a part of the body, branch of a tree, bar for carrying; Figuratively - chief of a city. This word “alone” in the Hebrew is a strange word, and has given theologians a great deal of trouble in this passage. That’s too bad. It really shouldn’t be a problem, it’s quite a nice little word. If it is saying that it was not good for Adam to be by himself, or to be the only one in the garden..., then the question, “Why did God do such a thing in the first place, and then have to come back and repair the damage?” Part of the answer is in the definition of the word. Part of the answer is in the usage of the word. Part of the answer is in the context, AND part of the answer is in the theological teaching throughout the total of the Word of God.

The Hebrew word is used 190 time in the Old Testament:

46 - Besides

42 - Alone

37 - Staves

35 - Only

11 - Apart

10 - Themselves

3 - Branches

2 - Strength

1 - Besides

1 - Each

1 - Except

1 - Bars

As we can see, the word is used in a number of ways. Very few of them have to do with being isolated, or lonely. By context and the teaching throughout the Scriptures, we see that God said in effect that it was not good for anyone to be self-sufficient within themselves. We are not to turn inward for our value, our sufficiency, our pride or glory. Instead, each person needs someone to care for, be a part of and through a total blending with that other person to have completeness and fulfillment. To some extent, these principles apply to any relationship, including the church. In marriage the principles are to be fulfilled in a unique manner.

Genesis 2:22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. When God brought that first woman to Adam, Adam exclaimed, “This is truly ‘the other half of me’. This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.., she was taken out of me.” It is the process of “becoming” one from these two that brings growth, maturity and fulfillment within marriage. If the marriage process does not bring oneness, it often creates monsters of selfishness and pride which turn the relationship into discord like none other. When our thoughts and actions are purely for our own benefit, without regard to the needs and benefit of the other, that relationship is immature, selfish and can never know real fulfillment.

Remember this process of “becoming” one was instituted by God for the benefit of mankind BEFORE there was sin in their lives. This was not a punishment. This was the ultimate blessing of God for the marriage relationship (and still is). The process of using God’s principles to become one brings total fulfillment to the marriage relationship. The marriage relationship goes beyond any other in special ways physically, emotionally and spiritually. For far too many, the reason or purpose for their marriage in the first place was to have some personal needs taken care of in their life, or they thought it would be a lot of fun, you know, a real blast. They seemed to think, that somehow by being married, it would miraculously bring personal satisfaction, and fulfillment. After all, it happens all the time on TV. Why, in 30 minutes to an hour, a life can go from “the pits” to being set on high in total ecstasy. There might be a better chance of such a thing taking place if you were perfect, and it would also help if your spouse were somewhere within that same “ballpark” of perfection with you. On the other hand, it didn’t work out too well for the first couple, and they were at least sinless. Even without sin, which you are not, it takes knowing and following some principles if your marriage is to be a Biblical marriage, and for you to know fulfillment.

Let’s look at some of those principles, most of which were given by God before sin, and they are still true in our sinful but redeemed state. Ephesians 5:28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."

As we move along, we need to remember that the principles are the same for both male and female. However, the execution of the principle is quite often different. In this day and age, some have falsely reported that male and female are the same, and should be treated the same. They are of equal value, and deserve equal honor, BUT there are actually MANY differences, and they have different areas of responsibility. I will try to point out some of those differences as we go along. It would be far better if I could just teach the principle and the application without always taking time to point out that God was not picking on one or the other spouse by giving them a different role in the execution of the principle. Mankind, being what we are when it comes to responsibility, seems to think that the other person is getting off easy and we are being picked on. Plus, the “rights” movements have clouded, and in some instances darkened the reality of God’s provision. So if I don’t keep on pointing out that it’s fair, equitable and according to the plan, some get so caught-up in their prejudices that they never hear what God has to say. Nor do they see that God’s way if far better than man’s way.

The first thing we want to see in this passage is the “principle”, then confirm the principle with other passages, THEN see how that principle is to be implemented. The husband is to love his OWN wife as his own body. This type of sacrificial love is a demonstration of one’s opinion of himself. The principle is, we are to be concerned with the other spouse EQUALLY as much as we are concerned with ourselves. This same type of love is enjoined on the wife, also. However, the application of this principle is a little different. We will see the applications later. Not only in the passage of Eph 5:28-31, but elsewhere in this portion we are told to look to Christ as our example of this type of Love. Christ’s life and love are the examples for both the husband and the wife in this matter. This example is strengthened as we see the proper relationship between Christ and the church which further amplifies this principle.

Christ in His intercessory prayer demonstrates this principle in reality. John 17:9 "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 "And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. It is a wonderful and fearful thing to realize that the glory of Christ is dependent upon His relationship with us, His church. Of course, we saw some of that in the “Chain of Glory, Authority and Responsibility”. John 17:11 "Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 "But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. There is part of our example. We are to be “one” AS God the Father and Christ are one. Christ’s efforts (or what he spoke vs 13a) in the world were not for His own pleasure, BUT so that we might HAVE His joy IN US.

Christ’s purpose and efforts were not so He would experience fulfillment, BUT so we could experience the fulfillment of Joy. As we experience this fulfillment, Christ becomes glorified in us. So the ultimate end of the sacrificial love is that BOTH Christ and His church are benefited. When we seek glory for self, through self it is pride, and this was the “condemnation of the Devil”. However, when we seek to establish the glory of the other, the end results will be BOTH glory to the other and also for self. We will see more of this in the passage of Eph 5. Please understand, there are other spiritual truths in this passage, but we are limiting our thinking to those that directly apply to the relationship of marriage.

John 17:14 "I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 "They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 "As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 "And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. Notice once again, the purpose for Christ setting Himself apart (sanctify). It was not for His personal benefit, but so THAT we, the church, might be also sanctified. His action was for the benefit of the other. Yet, notice that Christ benefited too. We see this truth in the word ALSO vs 19. That they ALSO may be sanctified, which included Christ.

John 17:20 "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 "that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24 "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 "O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 "And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." Notice AGAIN!! The purpose vs 21, “THAT they all may be one” in the same manner as Christ and the Father are one. To help accomplish this purpose, Christ gave to the church His glory. That is just about where we came into this passage in vs 10 “I am glorified in them.”

If we are to be one with Christ, it will include His glory. Romans 8:17 and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. We must realize that this glory in us is not automatic. We must suffer with Him, and to the degree we suffer with Him, we will be glorified. That is also true in marriage. Before oneness is achieved, both must be giving and living for the other. Not for self alone. That brings us back to the principle where we started. In a Biblical marriage, each spouse is living for the other, NOT for themselves. This is not just a principle reserved for marriage. This is a major principle of the Christian life. If you are going to be # 1, then put everyone else ahead of yourself. God is not against a person reaching for a #1 position, or attempting to be great. However, those things must be achieved through God’s manner.

Philippians 2:1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Mark 9:35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 "For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

II Timothy 2:1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

God’s way to a proper relationship, and especially the marriage relationship is to invest your life in and for someone else, so that your value and glory might be seen in them. In that way, you are multiplying what you are and have through the other. If it is your glory and your value..., WHAT DIFFERENCE does it make where and in what manner that glory is seen or the value is revealed???!!!!???? UNLESS we want some sort of self adulation or worship of self, which is idolatry.

That’s kind of scary! It demands that what you invest of yourself in the other person be of good quality. That same truth is also seen in the teaching process. In II Tim 2:2 Paul tells Timothy to pass on to others what Paul has taught Him, so that the others may do the same. Then in vs 3, the Holy Spirit sets forth this principle. II Timothy 2:3 You THEREFORE must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hard-working farmer must be first to partake of the crops.

Notice, that BECAUSE Timothy is going to invest himself and his teaching in others.., he, Timothy, needs to be of a certain quality. vs 3 starts with therefore. “Therefore” because you are going be passing along to others what you know and have heard, you MUST be a good soldier enduring hardship, not entangled with the world, etc. If we want a good return on our investment, THEN we must make sure that what we are investing is of good quality. That is true in marriage. If I am investing my life in my mate, and I want to see quality in my mate from that investment, I need to be sure of the quality of my life BEFORE I invest it.

Young people, PLEASE listen!!! (It wouldn’t hurt you retreads to pay attention, also.) A Christian marriage is a union of 2 humans, husband and wife, AND 1 God. That marriage will be as strong as the weakest component. We don’t have to worry about the strength that God brings to the union. It is the other two involved in the union that will determine the strength and enjoyment of marriage. NOW, even before you are thinking about marriage, is the time to develop your personal strength. You won’t have much time or opportunity to develop strength AFTER marriage. It will take all you can do to just maintain the qualities you brought to that marriage!!!!

Just a bit of review of Eph 5 & 6. From 5:15 through 6:9 it is talking about proper relationships of Believers. 5:22 - 5:33 the relationship of husband and wife. 6:1- 6:3 the relationship of children to parents. 6:4 the relationship of fathers to children. 6:5 - 6:8 the relationship of servants to masters.

6:9 the relationship of masters to servants. 5:15 - 5:21 has application to all relationships.

Ephesians 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,

19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. Circumspectly = (Greek) Exactly Made up of -- most exact & extremity. We are looking at the first portion of this so called “marriage chapter”. This first portion from vs 15 - 21 gives basic principles that apply to all relationships. However, as we will see, those principles are very handy to have when dealing with the marriage relationship. We just got started last lesson, and were looking at the fact that we were to walk circumspectly. This Greek word is used only a few times in the Bible, and its definition is easy to get a hold of. A quick glance at the other usage of this word will help considerably with our understanding. Remember the definition of the Jr. Sunday School student. “To walk circumspectly would to be to walk like a cat walks across the yard after a rain.”

Matthew 2:8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search diligently for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also."

Luke 1:3 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, Acts 18:25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. I Thessalonians 5:2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.

Ephesians 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,

19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. We are to walk, knowing where to put our foot down, AND we are to put our foot down exactly in the right place. We are careful how we “walk” in our relationships with our friends or at work, BUT often when it come to our marriage there is little care given to the way we “walk”. Too often, we do not treat the other spouse with dignity. Many times we simply ignore them altogether. Many a spouse is treated as though they were only a fixture in the house, or even worse..., a nuisance. If the average couple simply treated each other with respect and common courtesy, there would a 100% improvement over their normal “walk”. Very few have given the time to find out how the other thinks, what they need, how they normally operate etc. Therefore, they wouldn’t have the proper information to “walk” exactly.

Redeeming = (Greek) Buying up; Rescuing from loss. This particular form of the word redeem is only used 4 times. Twice the word is used in the context of Christ redeeming us. The other two times it’s used, it speaks of us redeeming the time. Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. Time is a precious commodity. As my time gets shorter and shorter I realize that with renewed consciousness. There will have to be time for work, friends, the yard, the house, the kids, etc., etc.... If you’re not careful there will be no time for one another. To find the time needed for a proper marriage, you will have to buy up minutes here and rescue minutes there. You will not always need time JUST to do things together, BUT time just to be together. If you don’t redeem the time for one another, your mate will either learn to resent you, or they will learn to ignore you and fill that time with more responsive things or people.

Unwise = (Greek) Signifies without reason; Want of mental sanity and sobriety; A reckless and inconsiderate habit of mind; The lack of commonsense perception of the reality of things natural and spiritual; The imprudent ordering of one's life. Understand = (Greek) To put together; To comprehend.

In contrast to being unwise in that the person is reckless, inconsiderate, without commonsense, we are to be understanding as to what the will of the Lord is by putting the facts and our thoughts together and comprehending their reality. Our responsibility is to be sensible, careful, and comprehend the will of God. It is also our responsibility to be filled with the Spirit. Through the filling of the Spirit, we will be able to know God’s will. But notice the order. We are to do what we can through proper thoughts, work and perception. We don’t just throw caution to the wind, and say it’s the “Lord’s Will”.

vs 17 Paul says we need to know what the will of the Lord is, and it starts with being filled with the Spirit. This filling of the Spirit is needed for all proper relationships including marriage. Some people are unwise. They talk about walking with the Lord, BUT they leave Him out of the decisions concerning their relationships. vs 18 - 21 shows the evidence of the filling of the spirit, as well as commands we are to follow in the process of being filled.

© Clyde White

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