The freedom of marriage in Christ
Recently, someone posted a quote online that referred to marriage as “legal bondage.” The popular picture of the linked wedding rings that is normally showcased to reflect the oneness of marriage was marred and changed to look like handcuffs. The image likened marriage to a prison sentence instead of displaying it as the blessing from God that it is. Ahh… the enemy of marriage (satan) is so very cunning! And we—even Christians—get so caught up in the “harmless humor” that we are blinded to the reality of his evil tactics. The devil will always present ways to try and tarnish the thing that God created to reflect His love for each one of us.Marriage is not bondage. In fact, in many ways, it’s liberating! God blesses so many pleasurable things within the bonds of marriage that He does not bless outside of it.
But is there such a thing as freedom, in the sense that we can do whatever we please without self-discipline or consequence? The freedom to be a couple under God’s covenant means that we must no longer allow “sin to reign” in our individual or our married lives; neither do we have to succumb to the “evil desires” of our sinful nature (Romans 6:12 – NIV). Instead, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can choose to live in a way that pleases God.
Marriage is the epitome of sharing and giving. Encouraging self-centeredness, within marriage, is a delusional destructive plot satan concocted to rob covenant couples of the freedom to live, laugh and love as God’s intended for our married lives.
Sin, not marriage, is where bondage lies. Whether we live according to the Word of God or not—it’s still the Word of God, and it’s still truth. Living together without being married (or as the old saints used to put it—”shacking up” and “playing house”) is where bondage lies. Having sexual relations outside of marriage is where bondage lies. The Bible plainly speaks against adultery and fornication. They are acts of a sinful nature and not pleasing to God. Do people still do it in spite of that? Yes. Do even “Christians” do it despite what Christ says? Yes. Does that make it permissible and agreeable with God? No! The Word of God still stands—regardless to how society changes.
These sinful acts of nature are where freedom is lost and we become enslaved to the desires of our flesh. And let’s pause to note that sinful acts of our flesh are not just sexual in nature. Those ungodly desires can be to be acts of selfishness, abusive, neglectfulness, etc. Anything that has us doing what pleases our flesh without regard to how it hurts, harms or destroys others—and despite how it displeases God.
We can opt to serve sin and chain ourselves to these addictive, brutal manners, or we can opt to serve righteousness — to follow Christ and become more like Him with every act within our relationships—whether we’re single or married. Notice that we used the word “opt” because it is indeed a CHOICE. It is that freedom — the freedom to choose — that Christ gives us. It is that freedom that we forfeited for the deceitful pleasure of sin that can keep us bound. But as we confess with our mouths, and believe in our hearts, that what Jesus did on the cross for us, we can once again enjoy the freedom that Christ Jesus, made available to all who will surrender and submit to being holy as He is holy, in every aspect of our life today.
That freedom also leads to the kind of spreadable joy and noticeable holiness that Jesus was talking about when he said, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Why would we choose the captivity of slavery that thrusts us toward eternal death and refuse the freedom of following Jesus to eternal life? It is our hope that most, if not all, of those who read this column have chosen to follow Jesus. As for us … we certainly do. The Holmes household stands firmly on the Word of God and we are determined to please Him in every aspect of our individual lives and in our marriage. Our spiritual walk may never make us popular to man, but it will make us pleasing to God.
As so absolutely stated in Joshua 24:15, “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Within the marriage ministry (Royalty Relationship Coaching, LLC) that the Lord has entrusted to us, the truly perplexing question we challenge couples to think on is: Why do we so often look back in the direction of the path that leads to death, as if we were missing out on something? It’s a question we all should ponder. The bondage of sin and the acts thereof may bring momentary pleasure, fame and even wealth, but it will ultimately bring eternal pain. As Mark 8:36 questions, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
Brothers and sisters, do not tolerate satan in your personal lives nor in your marriages. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He alone is the foundation of true freedom. Scripture states this truth in 2 Timothy 2:19 (Amplified Bible) when it says, “Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God [which He has laid] stands [sure and unshaken despite attacks], bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord stand apart from wickedness and withdraw from wrongdoing.”
Are you a Christian? Do you believe on Jesus Christ? If so, you are one who that passage is speaking about. You are naming the name of the Lord. Therefore, you are to stand apart from wickedness and withdraw from wrongdoing. To do so is the ultimate form of freedom!
In marriage, know that our freedom in Christ is given, not for selfish indulgence, but so that through love, we can serve one another. Husbands and wives, focus your attention on God’s purposes, plans and processes for your marriage rather than on your own individual interests. This is the secret to a healthy, happy, and extraordinary covenant.
Serving Jesus grants us the freedom to be endowed with His supernatural strength—even in marriage. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Amen. Amen. Amen!
article by Drs. Michael and Kendra Holmes