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Plain Truths of Perpetual Value: - 4

Eight important things about Marriage & Family

According to the New Testament

Introduction: -We live in era of declining values, particularly of family. Many consider family as a nuisance. Some begin to consider marriage and family setup as an old-fashioned tradition which should be abolished. They think that enlightened and educated people do not bind themselves to such institutions! No wonder many choose to enjoy freedom to the extent of living like animal!!

           In this scenario, it is highly necessary to search the word of God and present what the Bible says about family, so that if there is any soul searching for truth may be guided properly.

As in the other ‘plain truth’ series, we shall only consider few points based on the New Testament, without much explanation. Readers are encouraged to study further. For any clarification kindly feel free to write to the author.

1. Marriage and Family life is not the invention of man but God Himself. Cf. Heb. 13:4; Matthew 19:4, 5 etc.
           - Christ attended a marriage and blessed them. John 2:1ff
            - Apostles and Christians had families. Mark 1:30.
            - So, marriage is honourable, family is valuable. Cf. 1Tim. 4:3
           - God found the need of a partner for Adam the first man, before sin entered. That means marriage or family life does not make any body unholy!

2. Unfaithfulness to spouse, divorce and remarriage are prohibited. Heb. 13:4; Matt 19:6; Rom 7:2, 3; 1Cori 7:2, 39. An inseparable union.

3. Family life is not isolated from our spiritual life. Cf. Eph. 5:22—6:4; Coloss 3:18—21; 1Peter 3:1—7; 1Cori 7:1—5, 10—17, 39, 40
           We can not just say, ‘it is our family matter you don’t interfere’! New Testament writers take special care to address families. Our personal spiritual condition affects family; similarly the atmosphere at home does affect the assembly as well. Healthy family makes helps the assembly also to be healthy and happy.

4. Failure in family disqualifies one from assuming leadership position in the Church of God. Cf. 1Timothy 3:2, 5.
           -Being a member as part of the assembly is different from taking active role like an elder, deacon or teacher etc. If testimony is lost at home and society, what spiritual authority we have, to represent God.

5. Healthy and strong family is built on the foundation of strong spiritual life.
           Cf. Eph. 5:22—6:4; Coloss 3:18—21; 1Peter 3:1—7. Notice the background of these references. In each occasion when writer exhorts the families, he does it in the backdrop of some spiritual truth.

a. 1Peter 3:1—7:- Background is the submissiveness of Christ, and His willingness to suffer for us. Then Peter ads, ‘likewise wives, be submissive to your own husbands’. That means Peter wants wives to be gripped by the love and sacrifice of Christ and in turn adopt the same mentality in relation to the family. It is of course applicable to husbands too.

b. Colos 3:18—21cf. vs.1—17. Here the setting is the risen life of a Christian. He has put to death the old man and wears a new man. v. 5, 10. When the new nature controls him:-

i. Peace of God will rule in his heart. V. 15
ii. Word of God will dwell in his mind. V. 16.
iii. Praise of God will ascend from his lips. V. 17.

It is then writer urges the family to live in love, submissiveness and obedience. V. 18. Without the above mentioned experience of new life, it is very difficult for a family to live joyfully and successfully.

c. Ephesians 5:22cf. 18—21:- Spirit filled life is the background here. Very much similar to Colossians.

The point is this, an understanding of Christ’s sacrifice, experiencing new life through the risen Lord Jesus Christ and being controlled by the Holy Spirit make families to live an acceptable and happy life before the Lord. Without such spiritual experience they find it very difficult to go forward. In other word, when the going is tough in the family, examine personal spiritual life!

6. Children have an important place in the family. Cf. Colossians 20; Ephe 1ff.

           In both the letters Paul doesn’t forget to exhort the children in the family. That means he assumes that they are also part of the family unit.

           There are many married couple today find it as a trouble to raise children. They think marriage and family life is just for their own comfortable life. Such attitude is against the purposes of God who said to the first parents to multiply and fill the earth. Cf. Gen. 1:28; 9:1; Malachi 215. We must always remember that God has given us children as a gift in to our hands to raise a godly generation. Psalm 127:3.

7. Wives have a special place in the family affairs.
           A careful observation of three passages in the New Testament where Paul and Peter exhorts the families reveals that they address first to the wives! Is it because of their special place? Or is it because they need the exhortation more seriously?

           One thing is clear, if wives live a godly life at home, everything else will be taken care of. In other words the effectiveness and joy of the family depend much on wives! It is not because they are the trouble makers. Rather, it is their wisdom, patience and efforts that make home more joyful. Cf. Prove 31:10—31. 1Cori. 7:14a; 1Peter 3:1, 2.

8. Each member has a specific role in building up of a happy family.
           Writers instruct each member in the family, to play their distinct role to make a happy family. cf. Eph. 5:22—6:4; Colossi 3:18—21; 1Peter 3:1—7; 1Cori 7:1—5, 10—17, 39, 40. A study of these passages will help us to understand the various responsibilities of each member in the family. We will just note down the most important one from this portion.

a. Wives -Be submissive. Cf. 1Cori. 14:34, 35; 1Tim 2:11—14; Titus 2:5.

Notice 5 things:-
           i. It doesn’t imply subjugation. –Husband is not instructed to subdue his wife.
           ii. It doesn’t mean inferiority. Christ was subject to Father, but He was not inferior. Women do have great dignity.
           iii. It is not absolute. Not all time in everything. Cf. Act 5:29
           iv. It is in love-relation. Ob. “Your own”. Not just to anybody but “own” husband, fully knowing that God has given him authority in the family.
           v. It’s God’s intention. “Fit in the Lord” This is the way God has designed family. cf. 1Cor. 11:9, 10; 1Tim 2:12, 13. Husband is the head of the family. Eph. 5:23

Three ways submissiveness revealed:-
           i. Respects her husband. Eph 5:32; 1Peter 3:6
           ii. Meek and quite spirit. 1Peter 3:4, 5. Pro. 31:30
           iii. Obedience. 1Peter 3:6 –willingly.

b. Husbands – Love. Cf. Eph 5:21
Cf. Titus 2:4-wife also should love. But husband is specially instructed to do so.
Three things about His love:-
           i. Supreme love – of a high standard. Not just having a passion, friendly attachment, or even an affection, but selfless love as God loves us. Loving the unlovable – unworthy.
           ii. Sacrificial love. ‘As Christ loved the Church’. Eph 5:29. Christ gave Himself for the church.
           iii. Unending love. Cf. Colo 3:19. Keep on loving against all odds - changing moods, physiological variations, etc.
How is it possible to love in this manner? Only by experiencing God’s love revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ. God has poured that love through His spirit in to every Christian. Romans 5: 8.

Four ways to express such love:-
           1. Gives himself. Cf. Eph 5:25 – willing to suffer, forgive etc.
           2. Taking care. Ephe 5:29 ‘nourishing and cherishing’. Meeting her physical and emotional needs. 1Corin 7:3
           3. Wise dealings. 1Peter 3:5 -Be aware of own position and wife’s needs / condition.
           4. Honoring wife. 1Peter 3:7 Heir of grace. God loves and values her. Appreciate and encourage her.


c. Children – Obedient. Ephe 61. Colo. 3:20 Keep on obeying. Cf. Exo. 20:12; 21:15, 17. Pro. 1:8; 6:20; 30:11—17. –In the Lord. Act 5:29; Luke 14:26, 27. It’s pleasing to God.

d. Parents. - Caring Cf. Colo 3:6, 21; Heb. 11:23. Together they ought to raise their children.
           i. Not to irritate their children.
           ii. Bring them up in the Lord’s way. Cf. Eph 6:4; Pro. 22:6 –teach them. –If we don’t lead them, some one will mislead them.
           iii. Pray together –without hindrance. 1Peter 3:7 “Family that pray together, stay together.”

Conclusion:-

           When evil forces are destroying attacking families’ through out the world, let us be aware of the value that God gives to families and maintain a healthy family. For the sake of our own generation, the Church, the society and even our nation, give importance to families. Let us follow the Biblical principles in relation to families.

Some of the modern thoughts and ideologies on family, however logical or interesting that may be, in the final analysis it is destructive. The creatore Himself has given us the manual, read it and practice it.

How is your family? How much time do you spend with your family? Is your family life a success?

NTK


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