Marriage is one of the most precious, most valuable, and purest of all relationships known to mankind. Unfortunately, the world in which we live, and the culture of the day, have taken God’s perfect and pure design and perverted it in indescribable ways.
Without a Biblical understanding of marriage, it would be impossible to perceive the preciousness of this special union between a man and his wife. The world has much to say, but the Word of God specifically teaches this: Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled … (Hebrews 13:4).
God was the Designer of marriage. God designed the male and the female physiques differently for the distinct purpose of the two being united into one. The Genesis account of Creation reveals this truth and was understood by the man: 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. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed (Genesis 2:23-25).
They were both naked and were not ashamed. When did the perversions to marriage occur? After sin entered into the human race (Genesis 3), fallen mankind began to plummet downward. By the very next chapter (Genesis 4), the Scriptures describe the first murder. Later, in the same chapter, we learn of Lamech, another murderer who took to himself two wives (Genesis 4:19-24). By the time of Noah (Genesis 6), evil abounded on the earth, and God destroyed all but Noah and his family. However, the fallen nature of mankind still persisted within the human heart. The downward plummet continued and perversion multiplied. By the time of Abraham and Lot (Genesis 19), we find a description of the sinful condition of Sodom and Gomorrah, and again we see God move to destroy sinful man.
Yet the fallen nature of mankind again persisted in the heart of man. Although saved from the wrath that was poured out upon those cities, Lot and his daughters fell into drunken and incestuous relationships (Genesis 19:30-38). The first book of the Bible alone relates numerous instances of perversion of God’s design for marriage. Genesis 34 relates the account of Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, being raped. Genesis 38 describes the account of Judah laying with his daughter-in-law, thinking her to be a harlot. Genesis 39 describes the attempted seduction of Joseph by Potipher’s wife. And the downward plummet continued. The Bible is filled with such accounts. Simply by observation, one can see that apart from God, mankind will never retain the purity of God’s design for marriage.
The Word of God makes a very revealing statement that every Christian should understand. As Moses led the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt, God Himself laid down the laws that were to govern their lives. Leviticus 18 gives vivid description of the perversions that were forbidden for God’s people. However, what should be noted is the manner in which God describes those actions: I am the Lord your God. After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do; neither shall ye walk in their ordinances (Leviticus 18:2-3). It was in both the ungodly nations of Egypt and Canaan where these practices were found. It was in both the land from which they were coming and the land to which they were going where these practices were found. After a detailed description of these forbidden practices, God calls them abominable customs (Leviticus 18:24-30). Abominable customs of the ungodly should not surprise the Christian. These customs have always been evidenced in ungodly nations! Because of the fallen nature of mankind, more and more perverseness will be found the farther any person, people, or nation moves from God. The Bible, as well as history itself, is full of undeniable examples.
Interestingly, as humans attempt to address this problem, they often move to the opposite extreme. In the name of religion, they sometimes say that there should be no marriage, so that the body may be kept physically and spiritually pure. But that human solution is not God’s design for purity. The Bible refers to those who teach forbidding marriage as being taught by seducing spirits and doctrines of devils that speak lies in hypocrisy (1 Timothy 4:1-3).
What, then, does God say? What does His Word teach? In full agreement with the Creation account of marriage, and in reference to it, Jesus reiterates in Matthew 19 and Mark 10 the importance of understanding God’s design, God’s will, and God’s intent for the man and the woman. Jesus reemphasizes that it is God that joins the man and the woman into one flesh. They are no longer two, but are one flesh. And remember they were both naked and were not ashamed. It was God’s perfect design.
Just how pure is marriage in the eyes of God?
Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled …
A fuller understanding of this verse elevates marriage and the marriage bed to the height that God intends. The word that is translated as honorable is timios in the Greek. It carries the meaning of: precious, valuable, dear. Just how precious and valuable is marriage? Listen to other references in the Bible where this same Greek word (timios) is used. The Bible speaks of precious stones (1 Corinthians 3:12) and precious fruit (James 5:7). It speaks of the trials of our faith as more precious than gold (1 Peter 1:7). But more than that, as the Spirit of God inspired the writing of the Scriptures, He speaks of the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:19) and of God’s Word as His exceeding great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4). What could be more precious than the blood of Christ and the promises of God? It is this same word for precious that was chosen to describe how precious marriage is – honorable indeed!
And the bed undefiled! Again, a study of the descriptive word for the marriage bed will bring us to a wonderful understanding of God’s design for marriage. Scripture says that the marriage bed is undefiled. Undefiled (amiantos) means: free from pollution; uncontaminated; pure. How pure is the marriage bed? Again, we will refer to other examples in the Scriptures described as undefiled (amiantos).
The Bible speaks of pure and undefiled religion (James 1:27). Our inheritance, reserved for us in heaven, is described as incorruptible and undefiled (1 Peter 1:4). And listen to the purity of our Lord, as our High Priest, who is holy, harmless, undefiled … (Hebrews 7:26).
How pure is the marriage bed? It is as pure as pure can be – fully, totally, completely pure.
God’s design is pure! God’s design is precious! God’s design is perfect!
It is mankind that pollutes! It is mankind that perverts!
It is mankind that plummets into the depths of sin!
Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled …
May every Christian wife learn to live freely in the preciousness and purity of marriage.