I was unclear as to what you meant in your sermon when you said that only the COG is in a position to teach on successful marriages because of our knowledge of the true gospel. Can you explain this. I know of many non-COG families who live very blessed lives based on biblical principles which are not exclusive to the COG.
Thank you for your great question!
First, my statement was that the ability to build solid, strong marriages depends on the doctrine of the gospel of the kingdom of God and the gospel of the kingdom of God is the exclusive property of the church of God. Therefore, only the church of God can build the type of marriages that will solve this world’s problems.
Many people preach from the Bible, but because they don’t understand the gospel of the kingdom of God, they cannot accurately teach the truth of marriage and family. Marriage and family are kingdom of God concepts. Using the Bible to teach on marriage and family without the context of the kingdom of God invariably leads to false teaching.
Biblical Principles Not Enough
Applying biblical principles to marriage will most certainly lead to blessings. That is not enough, however. Marriage is the fundamental building block of society. And, as I said earlier, it is a kingdom of God concept. The church of God (all those who have been called by God and given His Holy Spirit), through its understanding of the gospel, can unlock the meaning of marriage. In doing so, it can understand the extraordinary expectations of a godly marriage. Everyone who practices biblical principles can be blessed in their marriage. But only the church of God can grasp the true purpose and exalted standards of a marriage based on the gospel of the kingdom of God.
This understanding should motivate us to engage God’s Holy Spirit to fulfill the mysterious roles of husband and wife. The wife’s submission should lead to the development of Christ’s character. Christ submitted to the Father’s will and suffered wrongfully. In her relationship with her husband, the wife has the opportunity to develop this aspect of Christ’s character. God says a meek and quiet spirit is in His sight of great price. The great price He paid for the development of this type of character is the death of His Son.
1Pet. 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
1Pet. 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
In the same way that Christ paid the price of His life for the development of this Christ-like character in His wife, husbands, in their relationship with their wives, have the opportunity to develop the extraordinary leadership qualities of Christ. That is, they must be willing to pay the high price of sacrificing themselves for the development of the wife’s meek and quiet spirit. If our wives are properly honoured, they never have to “fight for their rights”.
Marriage is a Mystery
The marriage relationship is a deep mystery and a great challenge. Marriages can appear happy to outsiders but be riddled with deeply entrenched problems. Those of us who are married and who understand the gospel of the kingdom of God, have an enormous burden placed upon us. We must get the marriage relationship right. It so important that God warns us that our prayers will be hindered if we violate His expectations of this relationship.
1Pet. 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
Accomplishment of any scale requires organization. The kingdom of God will achieve incredible accomplishments. It will be highly organized. Unlike human organizations, however, it will be organized based on the family construct. What we learn in our marriages and our families today, has eternal value.
The fundamental problem in every marriage is human nature. Human nature wants to dominate and does not want to be dominated. Applying Biblical principles in our marriage is good but it is not enough if we don’t grasp marriage in the context of the gospel of the kingdom of God. For marriage to work the way God planned, we must have God’s vision and embrace the full meaning of marriage and the associated spiritual relationship between husband and wife. This is a GREAT mystery. We are privileged to understand it but the understanding we have must compel us to meet God’s standard. Our efforts will be rewarded by rich marriages and readiness for our place in God’s family.
Later in the same letter quoted earlier and in the same context of building Christ’s character, Peter says:
1Pet. 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Getting marriage right according to God’s standards is no small feat. When we get the vision of the Kingdom of God clearly in our mind, we realize how short we fall and how much is required of us to get marriage right. If we, filled with the inspiration of the gospel, scarcely overcome our human nature to achieve God’s vision of marriage, how much harder is it for those who don’t understand?
We’re not here just to have blessed marriages. We’re here to build the types of marriages that ultimately serve the whole world.