A Devotion for 10 May 2019 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion
DEARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this company, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church: which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence and first miracle that he wrought in Cana of Galilee, and is commended of Saint Paul to be honour-able among all men: and therefore is not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God. Into this holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. If any man can show just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.
The above is the opening lines for the Service of Holy Matrimony taken from the traditional Book of Common Prayer – a Service for Holy Matrimony – that is most common form of conducting marriages in many different denominations. It constitutes a solemn vow before God and is intended to be a permanent joining together of one man and one woman in Holy Wedlock according to the dictates of Holy Scripture. There is no other formula for marriage than this arrangement of one woman and one man.
Today, biblical truth and authority are often brushed aside. Emotion and human fantasies have taken the place of the ancient truths, proven over time and by persevering faith, to be of genuine benefit and the will of a Sovereign God.
If we recall the first commandment (not of the Ten Cardinal Commandments of Mt. Zion) given to mankind, we will remember that it occurs in the very first chapter of the Bible – “26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. ,” May I insist that no other marriage formula is pleasing to God than this one man and woman arrangement of Eden at the time of the commandment – and no union of other than male and female will comply with the counsel given by God.
Godly marriage is of sufficient importance to God that He instituted the form in the very first chapter – even at the beginning of Creation. This form is reinforced throughout the Holy Bible. We find the formula again repeated in the 2nd chapter of the Bible: “21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto 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 shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:21-25 (KJV) God created this one woman for one man and united them together in such form that they became ONE flesh! This form is an important distinction to bear in mind throughout one’s study of the Holy Bible. Without an understanding of the true sense of marriage, one can scarce understand the remainder of the Bible.
Of course, wicked and self-willed man devised other unnatural unions that were abhorrent to God. Homosexuality, bestiality, polygamy, and many others. But God condemned these in no uncertain terms – not just in the Old, but also the New, Testament. “22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. 23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. 24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: 25 And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. 26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: 27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) 28 That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. 29 For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.” Leviticus 18:22-29 (KJV)
One part of Romans that, for some reason has fallen out of favor of late, is the very first chapter in which God condemns homosexuality and lesbianism in the strongest terms. “19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Do we take pleasure in condoning the sexual abominations occurring in our modern society?
The fruit of Godly marriages is likewise a blessing of God. In the previous verse to the above, the terrible sin of sacrificing one’s children is strongly condemned; yet, we have sacrificed millions to the butcher’s knife in America. The claim that we have no right to tell a woman what she can do with her own body is not valid when it comes to murdering a body of a child perhaps created by promiscuous desires. There are two human beings formed at conception whose rights require honoring.
It was neither God’s intention that a man have more than one wife, or that a woman have more than one husband. Abraham, the father of the Old Testament Church to whom the Promise of a Messiah was given, did not have more than one living wife at a time. The sins of David which God forgave may exceed the sin of promiscuity in his planned murder of innocent Uriah.
A woman is not expected to be a ragdoll for any man. In order for a marriage to be authentic, Christ must occupy the central position in the marriage. The man must love his wife so strongly that he will lay down his life for his bride as Christ did for the Church. “21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Ephesians 5:21-33 (KJV) Many men who love to exercise tyranny over their wives using this passage usually omit verse 21. We are to submit ourselves to one another in marriage. The command here is for men to love their wives, but not for the wife to love the husband. Why? If a man loves his wife enough to lay down his life for her, it is almost certain that such love will be reciprocated.
You will recall the fall of Adam in Eden. He loved Eve. She was all he had! He knew partaking of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil would result in his dying, but he partook anyway. Why do you suppose Adam dis so? Adam was both a type of Christ and an antitype. He was a type in that he represented Christ in figure in marriage. He was the father of all living. But death came as a result of Adam’s sin. But in Christ those of faith are made alive. “13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” 1 Timothy 2:13-14 (KJV) Marriage is an exact type of the Kindgon Heaven – the Church being the Bride and our Lord the Bridegroom. The apostate church of today is the adulteress wife who abandons her first love. “5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” Isaiah 54:5 (KJV)
When two people are joined in Holy Matrimony, it is the will of the Father before whom they have taken their vows that the two become of One mind and spirit. Christ prayed the night before His crucifixion that we (the Church) would become ONE with Him as He is ONE with the Father. We have rifts and divisions in the Church because we are not ONE with Christ; and we have problems and divisions in marriage because we have failed to follow the counsel of God to love our wives and for the wives, as well, to become ONE with the husband. This Oneness has become the greatest blessing in my own life and marriage.
The foundation building blocks of the nation are in families, and churches cannot stand without honoring this first institution of God which compares exactly to the second – the Church.