Marriage in a Sin-Blighted World

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 10
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Everything in this world bears the unmistakable evidence of the presence and ravages of sin. Thorns and thistles, diminished productivity of the soil, labor and toil, sorrow and tears, disease and death, turmoil and strife — all tell their part in the somber story of the fall of man. That blessed relationship of marriage which God instituted for man’s happiness shares in the common blight.
It is important for the child of God to remember that this is not his rest and that even the very blessings of God that are connected with this earth bear the stamp of sin and its dire results. We can take the things that God in His grace grants to us during our passage through the world, thank Him for them, and use them, while at the same time remembering their transitory and fleeting character. Nothing here is the ultimate of what God intends for us, nor is anything here to be compared with the blessings and happiness that await us when we are with and like Christ. Therefore it is a mistake for one to get his heart and mind so set on marriage as the goal of his happiness that he forgets that “the time is straitened  ...  that they who have wives, be as not having any” (1 Cor. 7:29). And in this light we can accept marriage as those that “use the world, as not disposing of it as their own” (1 Cor. 7:31 JND).
Paul went on to tell the Corinthian believers that those who marry would have trouble in the flesh, but he would have spared them. Illnesses, trials and difficulties of one kind and another will be found in the wedded state, some of which would not be known to the unmarried. We should not therefore be deceived as to the character of all here, although God can use the very trials for our souls’ blessing as part of our schooling.
The Unmarried
Paul, as inspired by the Spirit of God, was led to give his own spiritual judgment that the very highest part in a scene away from God would be to remain unmarried and wait on the Lord without distraction (1 Cor. 7). All people, however, cannot receive this, as the Lord Himself said in Matthew 19. Many through the ages have, like Paul, foregone marriage in order to be freer to serve the Lord. Now for many, as for him, the journey is over and it matters little whether they were married or not, but everything done for Christ will yet have a full reward from Him who is not unrighteous to forget the smallest detail of their devotedness.
Some dear saints have been known to be very miserable because marriage was unrealized in their own lives, but shall we question the wisdom and love of Him who gave His Son for us? Is He unmindful of our circumstances in life? If He saw that marriage was better, would He not supply it? Shall we not believe that we shall yet praise Him for His wisdom in withholding some things which we thought most desirable? Surely we shall yet see in these very things that try our spirits the working of His wisdom, love and power. A desire for marriage is, however, one of the things that we may simply tell the Lord all about and leave our request with Him (Phil. 4:66Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6)).
A dear maiden sister in the Lord, who at a ripe old age went to be with the Lord, used to remark that single persons can be happy if they will, while married ones will be happy if they can. Now while this is not a statement of Scripture, it does contain some good human wisdom. We can take any circumstance from the Lord and seek His grace to walk happily therein. An unmarried person’s happiness is not dependent on the character, disposition or thoughtfulness of a helpmate, while the married man or woman is to some degree dependent on the compatibility of the wife or husband.
We would not say one word against matrimony, but would seek to present it in all its aspects and from all its angles. There are trials in it that are common to man since the fall, and Christians cannot expect to escape them all. May we have a balanced view of all that is here.
We’re pilgrims in the wilderness;
Our dwelling is a camp;
Created things, though pleasant,
Now bear to us death’s stamp.
But onward we are speeding,
Though often let and tried;
The Holy Ghost is leading
Home to the Lamb, His bride.
P. Wilson, The Institution
of Marriage,