Edward F. Lundwall Jr
The Many Facets of Christian Marriage (Part I)
The first facet of Christian marriage appears in Genesis 1 and 2 as an established relationship ordained of God. The record testifies that God made Adam in His image. He made Adam’s body first and God breathed into him making him a living soul. Because Adam was made in God’s image, His soul became his personality, having intellect (the ability to identify, categorize, and synthesize information), emotions (the ability to feel what was in his intellect) and volition (the ability to choose and energize what he learned).
Origin and nature of spiritual life
The word breath in Hebrew is also used for “spirit.” God breath in Adam’s body thereby created both his soul and spirit. Adam was made in the image of God as a trinity in that he had three distinguishable parts having separate functions yet being a single person. As God is a sovereign being, choosing what He will, so human beings in the image of God were made to be a sovereign under sovereigns. As such, God’s design was for human beings to be in harmony with Him and His purposes thorough faith that perceives who and what He is. This perspective leads to the fellowship of obedience inspired by that faith. Genesis records that God walked or fellowshipped with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening.
The Spirit of Love
One of the emotional orientations of vital fellowship with God is that of love: “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16) This kind of person just loves everyone, even his enemies and has compassion on even God’s enemies (Romans 9:1–3; 10:1–4, 21). Some call this the greatest love as it is unconditionally offered (Acts 14:17). However, the greatest love is consummative, that is, to know the Lord as one’s spiritual husband (Ephesians 5:22–32; John 17:3). This love begins when one receives Christ by faith in God’s promises and righteousness. This consummative love is no longer one–sided as love unconditionally offered, but functions as dynamic living interrelationship.
Experiencing Consummative Love
The Lord Jesus enlightens everyone (John 1:9), but only those who believe and receive Him as He is can experience God’s consummative love. Only to them is the promise: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9). But love in attitude is insufficient to find fullness, fulfillment comes only in the loving experience where faith inspires obedience: “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21) As David said: “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
Human courtship loves through letters, but, oh, how much greater marriage with its the honeymoon and the enjoyment of loving obedient children! The honeymoon of conversion must continue in an abiding in Christ to give the fulfilling fruit of spiritual children that in turn give spiritual grandchildren (Galatians 4:27; Matthew 28:16, 19, 20). This is the blessedness of marriages that have the Lord as their most prominent member. This marriage has purpose, endurance and blessedness. They consider themselves as being just junior partners under the loving sovereignty of God.
This series of posts will discuss the many facets of marital love in the context of this scriptural portrayal of marital love. It will picture the relationship between Christ and the Church in the lives of the husband and wife as seen in Ephesians 5:22– 32.