The end of marriage is its beginning--the glory of God, the mystery of Christ and the church. The exclusivity and purity of the marriage bond points to the exclusivity and purity of the relationship between Christ and His church.
How does marriage glorify God? Tertullian, one of the early church fathers, offers wisdom: "How beautiful, then, the marriage of two Christians, two who are one in home, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice . . . Nothing divides them either in flesh or in spirit . . . They pray together, they worship together, they fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another. Side by side they visit God's church and partake God's banquet, side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another; they never shun each other's company; they never bring sorrow to each other's hearts . . . Seeing this Christ rejoices. To such as these He gives His peace. Where there are two together, there also He is present."
Marriage is the source of great and unspeakable happiness. Yet because of sin it is not unmixed happiness. But marriage is not first and foremost about making us happy. It is for making us holy. And through the covenant of marriage two Christians pledge to live together so as to make each other holy before God, as a testimony to Christ.
Keep this in mind in the midst of today's frenzied marriage debates. Marriage is first and foremost about the glory of God. All of the manifold gifts of marriage are derived from that great fact.
If you were not able to be with us on Sunday, you can listen to the message here.