Then the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.
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Marriage is a legal transaction. It is a sacred union between a man and a woman, presided over by God and observed by the community. Marriage expresses God's love and fidelity to his people, as well as the spouses' love and dedication to each other. Marriage is also a calling to participate in God's creative and redemptive work in the world.
But what does it mean to say that marriage is sacred or holy? And why is it important to uphold the sanctity of marriage in our society today? In this blog post, we will explore these questions from a biblical and ecumenical perspective.
What is sanctity of marriage?
The term "sanctity" is derived from the Latin word sanctus, which means "holy, set apart, or consecrated." Marriage is sanctified when it is set apart by God for a specific purpose and reflects God's own holiness and character.
Marriage's sanctity is founded in the creation account, in which God created the first man and woman in his image and likeness and joined them as one flesh (Gen. 2:24).1. God blessed their union and commanded them to be prolific and multiply, to fill and dominate the earth (Gen. 1:28).1. God therefore established marriage as the foundation of human society and the means of carrying out his plan for creation.
Marriage's sanctity is also supported by Jesus Christ, who revealed God's original design for marriage as a lifelong and exclusive relationship between one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4-6).1. By performing his first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana, Jesus elevated marriage to a sacrament, a sign and instrument of God's mercy (John 2:1-11).1. Jesus demonstrated that marriage is a supernatural reality that shares in the mystery of his love for the church (Eph. 5:25-33).
The apostles and the early church also testified to the sanctity of marriage, teaching that it is honorable and undefiled (Heb. 13:4)1, that it is a symbol of Christ's relationship with his bride, the church (Rev. 19:7-9), and that it is a means of holiness and salvation for the spouses (1 Cor. 7:14).1. The apostles likewise urged married spouses to love, respect, submit to, and serve one another as they would the Lord (Eph. 5:21-33; Col. 3:18-19; 1 Pet. 3:1-7)1.
Why is sanctity of marriage important today?
Marriage's sacredness is significant today because it demonstrates God's design and purpose for human existence and pleasure. Marriage is a heavenly gift and a moral norm, not a human invention. Marriage is subject to God's will and commandments, not to human whims or desires. Marriage is a covenant and commitment, not a matter of convenience or suitability.
Marriage's sacredness is also significant today because it opposes the dominant culture of relativism and individualism, which undermines the dignity and value of human life and relationships. Marriage is a public witness and a communal responsibility, not a private affair or a personal choice. Marriage is a lasting relationship and a sacred trust, not a transient arrangement or a throwaway commodity.
Marriage's sacredness is especially vital now because it provides hope and healing to a damaged world plagued by sin and selfishness. Marriage is an encounter with grace and a road to peace, not an escape from reality or a cause of strife. Marriage is a chance for growth and delight, not an impediment to independence or a burden to happiness.
How can we uphold the sanctity of marriage?
We can preserve the sanctity of marriage by honoring God as the creator and sustainer of marriage, following his word as the guide and standard for marriage, seeking his assistance as the source and strength for marriage, celebrating his presence as the joy and blessing for marriage, and witnessing his love as the mission and goal for marriage.
We can also uphold the sanctity of marriage by respecting ourselves as individuals created in God's image and likeness, cherishing our spouses as gifts from God and life partners, nurturing our children as fruits of our love and stewards of God's creation, supporting our families as schools of virtue.
We can also uphold the sanctity of marriage by affirming its value and beauty in our words and actions, by defending its rights and dignity in our laws and policies, by promoting its understanding and appreciation in our education and media, by fostering its unity and diversity in our churches and by praying for its protection and renewal in our personal and communal devotions.
The sacredness of marriage is a valuable treasure that God has bestowed upon us. Let us treasure it, defend it, and share it with the rest of the world.
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