In What Ways is Marriage a 'Covenant'.

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KMK

Administrator
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Marriage is obviously a 'contract'. It involves 'vows' to a spouse as well as to God. It was instituted by God for the good of mankind.

In what ways is it a 'covenant', if at all? Is there an aspect of grace or redemption in marriage?

-----Added 2/2/2009 at 10:32:40 EST-----

A Biblical covenant is between two parties: God and man. It is an act of grace on the part of God and it is for the benefit of man and usually has some kind of redemptive aspect. Since marriage was instituted before the fall, I don't see how it has any 'redemptive' qualities. (Correct me if I am wrong)

Does marriage fit this mold? Could we say that marriage is a covenant between God and a man and his wife who are made 'one flesh'? Is it truly an act of grace? Would it be better to avoid the word 'covenant' when speaking of marriage?
 

Iconoclast

Puritan Board Junior
30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

If it is nothing else the marraige covenant speaks to the redemptive relationship between God and His people.
When the marraige supper of the Lamb takes place, their will no longer be marraige in heaven of husband and wife.
In Revelation , some commentators put forth the idea that apart from the revelation of the Lamb on the throne, you have the two women
the faithful bride/ the harlot used to describe all mankind and the eternal seperation that takes place on the last day.
A faithful marraige with proper headship, and submission should reflect the covenant terms graced to the people of God.:book2:
 

Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
It is unconditional, regardless of whether the other party fulfills their own vows. Marriage is not 50/50. Each spouse is to fulfill their portion of the agreement 100%, even if their spouse is a rogue. The exceptions are just that, exceptions. 1 Peter 3 is a great treatment of this reality.
Women, submit to your husbands even in his sin, or unregenerate condition.
Men, love your wives and dwell with them with understanding, even if they're tyrannical manipulators and you'd rather sleep on the corner of your roof.

This is inherent in covenants. They can, and often do, carry conditional aspects. But the Abrahamic did not. God made it clear that He was going to do what He was going to do, period. Of course, the NC is the same. The only conditions that exist are the ones we can't accomplish unless Christ be formed in us. It's all of God or it's nothing.
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
It is unconditional, regardless of whether the other party fulfills their own vows. Marriage is not 50/50. Each spouse is to fulfill their portion of the agreement 100%, even if their spouse is a rogue. The exceptions are just that, exceptions. 1 Peter 3 is a great treatment of this reality.
Women, submit to your husbands even in his sin, or unregenerate condition.
Men, love your wives and dwell with them with understanding, even if they're tyrannical manipulators and you'd rather sleep on the corner of your roof.

This is inherent in covenants. They can, and often do, carry conditional aspects. But the Abrahamic did not. God made it clear that He was going to do what He was going to do, period. Of course, the NC is the same. The only conditions that exist are the ones we can't accomplish unless Christ be formed in us. It's all of God or it's nothing.

:ditto:

That's the way I explain to couples seeking marriage.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
The unconditional nature of marriage then would distinguish it from a 'contract' which is binding only when both parties fulfill their vows. Am I on the right track?

In fact, thinking of marriage as a covenant separates Biblical marriage from the world because the world's paradigm is that if one party breaks their vow, the deal is off.

I can also see a 'picture' in marriage.
 

Igor

Puritan Board Freshman
It is unconditional, regardless of whether the other party fulfills their own vows.
Hmmm... Do you mean to say that if the other party does break the covenant and enters another marriage, the deserted spouse is still bound by the covenant and must remain faithful to his vows, whether he/she can contain or not (1 Cor. 7:9)?
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
It is unconditional, regardless of whether the other party fulfills their own vows.
Hmmm... Do you mean to say that if the other party does break the covenant and enters another marriage, the deserted spouse is still bound by the covenant and must remain faithful to his vows, whether he/she can contain or not (1 Cor. 7:9)?

I think Pastor Johnson is saying that that would be an exception, not the rule.
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
It is unconditional, regardless of whether the other party fulfills their own vows.
Hmmm... Do you mean to say that if the other party does break the covenant and enters another marriage, the deserted spouse is still bound by the covenant and must remain faithful to his vows, whether he/she can contain or not (1 Cor. 7:9)?

This might fall under Matthew 19:9.
 

Jimmy the Greek

Puritan Board Senior
Alistair Begg has a couple of sermons on marriage as a covenant, not merely a contract:

[video=youtube;sqheJlj5QGI]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqheJlj5QGI[/video]
 

Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
It is unconditional, regardless of whether the other party fulfills their own vows.
Hmmm... Do you mean to say that if the other party does break the covenant and enters another marriage, the deserted spouse is still bound by the covenant and must remain faithful to his vows, whether he/she can contain or not (1 Cor. 7:9)?
Accounted for and addressed well by Ken and Lance.
The exceptions are just that, exceptions.
Abandonment and infidelity are the only two exceptions I am aware of. Abandonment can take different forms though, so we must be careful and pray for wisdom.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
You also have the instruction that husbands are to love their wives the way Christ loved the church and the picture of the church being presented to Christ in the wedding feast. Marriage has also taken on some of the traditional signs of covenants such as the wife taking the husband's name (think Abram coming Abraham and Sarai, Sarah).
 

Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
Marriage has also taken on some of the traditional signs of covenants such as the wife taking the husband's name (think Abram coming Abraham and Sarai, Sarah).

Very interesting...

Genesis 2 is the place to start. Notice that all the animals are created from the dust. Even Adam is, but God breaths life into him. Then, as Adam recognizes that there is no creature suitable for him, God takes a rib. No other creature is created from another creature; only woman. Adam has had the privilege, as the appointed head of creation, to name all the creatures. Then, as Eve's head, he names her, "Ishshah." This means, literally, "from man." Man, "Ish," gives woman a name after his own name. This is the first marriage, instituted by God before the fall and clearly revealing the Divine ordination of headship in both creation and the marriage. "Bone of my bone..."

1 Corinthians 11:11-12
11Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.​

If you're going into headship, you should listen to Voddie Baucham on this. He does a pretty good job.
 
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