Kingdom Marriage 1 - Overview
"This is a great mystery,
but I speak concerning Christ and His People,"
Marriage in the Kingdom of God is different in a special way. Being instituted by God it is part of His order. But in addition marriage symbolises the relationship between Christ and His People.
Beginning with being betrothed and ending with death, marriage is an all-encompassing relationship, second only to the believing couple's life with the Lord.
As all mature married couples know, loving and living with another person every day means experiencing a many-faceted life that brings both blessings and challenges - and reveals much about one's self.
Consequently, a Kingdom couple's marriage is one of intimacy indeed - and vulnerability indeed.
Although as individuals the couple are in personal relationships with the Lord, in marriage they go, firstly, before the Father hand-in-hand, as it were, to pray about their daily life together.
It's life in Christ, in His word, through the Spirit and in God's grace. This is the foundation and the power of Kingdom wedding-marriage.
In this context those who are attracted to one another and who desire to have a deeper association can have their relationship grow in a way that is spiritually-natural and naturally-spiritual and acceptable to the Lord.
The use of the term "wedding-marriage" throughout these messages is intended to convey two things:
That "wedding" refers to the ceremony of being joined before the Lord
and "marriage" refers to the life-long union of love and unity.
In Jesus' day the pattern of wedding-marriage was based on the Law of Moses. But, as with everything, Jesus the Anointed One transformed it.
At Pentecost the Holy Spirit brought the fulfilled New Covenant with Him and Kingdom wedding-marriage was part of it.
According to God. When some Pharisees were challenging Jesus about divorce, He reminded them of the truth regarding His Kingdom wedding-marriage:
"... Have you not read He who made them at the beginning made them male and female said:
‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh’.
So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate," Matthew 19'4-6.
YOUR WORD, YOUR BOND
Kingdom Marriage, as with many other things, is all about an individual giving their word. God gave His Word. And He made covenants.
It is to be the same with His Saints, their word is their bond.
In order to be faithful to the word of Christ, Kingdom Marriage includes two covenants.
The first is the Kingdom Betrothed Covenant and the second is the Kingdom Wedding-Marriage Covenant.
The setting for making these covenants is a Gathering of the Lord's People met together to see, to hear, to witness and agree with the couple who are making them.
All the Believers present acknowledge that they stand before the Father in Jesus' name.
Any outsiders present may benefit from pertinent brief written or spoken explanations clarifying what is happening.
"... whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven," Matthew 10'32.
The couple covenant themselves to each other aloud, confessing His Lordship, committing themselves to lifelong marriage and they declare their word and love to each other.
Overseeing these two covenant ceremonies is best done by Elders and Wives overseeing and taking the parts that match their ministries.
LOVING AND SUBMITTING
The Father calls His Children to love and to submit to one another.
"Love one another" (John 13'34)
"... submitting to one another in the fear of God" (Ephesians 5'21),
Those who God has joined together are to love and submit more so.
In marriage the husband is called to love his wife to a greater measure and the wife is called to submit to her husband in a greater measure.
The word of Christ of Ephesians 5'22-31 says:
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the Ekklesia; and He is the Saviour of the body.
Therefore, just as the Ekklesia is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Ekklesia and gave Himself for her,
that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
that He might present her to Himself a glorious Ekklesia, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the Ekklesia.
For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.
'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'".
"A GREAT MYSTERY"
Kingdom Wedding-Marriage is more than being spiritually-natural and naturally-spiritual.
Paul says that within what he is writing about lies a great mystery because he is speaking concerning Christ and His People (Ephesians 5'32).
From that it seems that the godly way husband and wife treat each other, carries spiritual significance.
The husband is to take the lead:
"... let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband," Ephesians 5'32-33.
And together with all the Saints both having a disposition of:
"... giving thanks always for all things to God the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,"
BEING HEIRS TOGETHER
From his perspective as a married man, Peter views Kingdom couples "as being heirs together of the grace of life". The Lord used Peter in many ways and this word on marriage is one of them (1 Peter 3).
While the words to wives come first, he leaves some strong words to husbands for later:
Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, - v1
when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. - v2
Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel - v3
rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. - v4
For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, - v5
as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. - v6
To the husbands he says:
dwell with them with understanding,
giving honour to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as
being heirs together of the grace of life,
that your prayers may not be hindered." - v.7
Remember Romans 8'17? It says that the children of God are:
"... heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together".
Peter is reminding the husband to keep in the forefront of his mind that he and his wife, as Believers, are "heirs together of the grace of life". So live like it!
Certainly Aquila and Priscilla, that notable Kingdom couple portrayed in the Book of Acts, showed their "joint heirs' disposition.
The couple's life of being intimate and yet godly and holy at the same time may present a quandary to some Believers.
However, physical intimacy is both godly and holy: godly, in that it is according to the Father's will and holy, in that it is different being expressed within the love of the Lord.
Hebrews 13’4 says:
"Marriage is honourable among all and the bed undefiled".
And it was the most godly and holy man who ever lived who said: "... and the two shall become one flesh".
The expression of physical intimacy is an integral part of a couple's life together. Kingdom marriage is an intimate relationship in every way.
When "the two" do actually "become one flesh", a Kingdom Wedding ceremony becomes a Kingdom Marriage.
The two other aspects of companionship and fellowship contribute to complete the couple's ongoing life experience.
So genuine physical intimacy, particularly sexual intimacy, is part of the total love to one another out of free will.
While possessing free will, the couple find themselves faced with a situation regarding their sexual intimacies.
1 Corinthians 7’3-4 says:
"Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does.
And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does".
These can seem to be strange things to say. How would they happen in practice? The first thing is for the couple talk about them.
Success on depends on being aware of two simple actions: listening to each other and giving time to each other.
The realisation that Believers are spiritually-natural and naturally-spiritual, as has been said earlier, is helpful. The intimacies of Kingdom marriage are like that.
This is love indeed! This is submission indeed! Remember:
"Keep yourselves in the love of God," Jude 21.32
"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
just as God in Christ forgave you," Ephesians 4'32.
Prayer. Heavenly Father, thank you for wedding and marriage in your Kingdom.
And thank you, too, for the word of Christ's New Covenant and the power and the fruit of the Holy Spirit available for a successful life yoked together in marriage in Christ.
In Jesus' name. Amen.