“The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son.” -Matthew 22:2
The subject of marriage and Christianity was brought up at a Bible study the other night, and it took me back to all the parallels between the two in Scripture. It’s never been something I’ve sat down to study, but I see traces of it frequently in my quiet times. Ephesians 5:22-33 speaks very clearly on the relationship between marriage and being a follower of Christ. It’s as if marriage is a physical type (example) for our spiritual relationship with God. Here are 3 parallels between marriage and a believer’s relationship with Christ.
- Both are to be declared before people
Last week, my family and I traveled up north for my cousin’s marriage. We were there in the midst of many others who had also come. It got me thinking about a possible purpose behind why marriages are so public. One of the benefits this has is accountability– the couple is declaring a commitment in front of tens, hundreds, or sometimes thousands of people. The guests were all present to witness the wedding vows, and they can hold the newlyweds accountable to their commitment.
Similarly, when we become followers of Christ, we are to declare our commitment to Him among all people! Romans 10:9 says, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” We are to be held spiritually accountable for out commitment to follow Christ.
2. Both require leaving our past behind
“And said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So then, they are no longer two but one flesh'” (Matthew 19:5-6a). When two people are married, they are entering a completely new stage of life. They are leaving their old family and starting a new one. Likewise, when we become children of God, we die to our past and put on the “new man,” as Paul says.
Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
Luke 9:24: “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”
3. Both require absolute faithfulness
Matthew writes, “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6). Biblical marriage is between one man and one woman, with that relationship being exclusive to those two individuals. It is a commitment to be completely faithful to each other. Likewise, we are to serve Christ and nothing else. Deuteronomy 4:23-24 states, “Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which the Lord your God has forbidden you. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”
As stated above, God designed marriage to be an exclusive relationship for the two individuals who entered that relationship. The Hebrew word used for “jealous” is qanna, which I heard defined as “jealousy for a covenantal relationship.” He desires that we love Him above all else. He requires that He be the top priority in our life. Similarly, in marriage, spouses are to be jealous for each other, to desire that exclusivity that their marriage relationship is supposed to bring. To quote a Michael Buble song (only time I’ll ever do this, I promise!):
And I don’t want anybody loving my baby
Nobody, nobody, nobody but me.
As Christians, we are to be completely faithful to Christ, just as spouses are to be completely faithful to each other.
There are many other parallels (such as the tie between sin outside of marriage and spiritual idolatry) that I won’t get in to now, but I encourage you to study it on your own! It has fascinated me to see so many similarities between marriage and our relationship with Christ. Types (physical examples of spiritual truths) in Scripture, such as this one, can be a great tool to help you understand God’s Word more. And, since a large number of our readers are young people, this post can help us understand what biblical marriage looks like in a world trying to destroy it.