Sermon Detail

Happiness Revealed “But From the Beginning of Creation…” (the Gospel Restoration of Marriage)

May 07, 2023 | Buster Brown

“And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again. And again, as was his custom, he taught them. And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?' He answered them, 'What did Moses command you?' They said, 'Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.' And Jesus said to them, 'Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. BUT FROM THE BEGINNING OF CREATION, "GOD MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE." "THEREFORE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND HOLD FAST TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH" So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.' And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And he said to them, 'Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.'”  Mark 10:1-12

The most important aspect in the life of a disciple is to see the reality of Jesus in a comprehensive and clear fashion by the power of the Holy Spirit under the authority of the Word of God.

This section continues a theme that has been throughout this discipleship journey: protecting and valuing those who were, in that culture, less powerful, less influential, and more vulnerable. In this case it is women, especially women married to unfaithful or abusive husbands.

“When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce."  Deuteronomy 24:1a

The reason for this Mosaic allowance was to slow down the process of divorce and protect the reputation/standing of the wife. Only men could enter into divorce. By the husband's choice alone, a marriage either continued or ended. Moreover, adultery could be committed only against a man. If a man had intimacy with another man’s wife, that was not viewed as a sin against one’s own wife. Instead, it was a sin jointly committed by the man and the woman against the woman's husband.

(v. 6) The glorious refocusing of the argument and purpose of marriage (but from the beginning of creation).

The inbreaking of the Messianic rule of Jesus by his perfect life, death on the cross, bodily resurrection, ascension, and present day intercession gives new hearts, inclinations, and desires by the power of the Holy Spirit.

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS, AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD."  Hebrews 8:8-10

Gospel contemplation and spiritual transformation → reflecting the glory of Christ.

From a hard heart to a new heart and informed mind.

1. Seeing marriage as a covenant vs. the consumer model. 

“In sharp contrast with our culture the Bible teaches that the essence of marriage is a sacrificial commitment to the good of the other. That means that love is more fundamentally action than emotion. But in talking this way there is a danger of falling into the opposite error that characterizes many ancient and traditional societies. It is possible to see marriage as merely a social transaction, a way of doing your duty to family, tribe, and society.”  Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, pg. 80

A covenant is a solemn commitment made in the presence of the living God.

2. Marriage seen as duty that continues to press towards delight.

“A perfect man would never act from a sense of duty; he would always want the right thing more than the wrong one. Duty is only a substitute for love (of God and or other people), like a crutch, which is a substitute for a leg. Most of us need the crutch at times; but of course it is idiotic to use the crutch when our own legs (our own loves, tastes, habits, etc) can do the journey on their own.”  C.S. Lewis 

3. The security of covenantal marriage in Christ.

“When over the years, when someone has seen you at your worst and knows you with all your strength and flaws, yet commits him or herself to you wholly, it is a consummate experience. To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully loved and truly known is a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulties life can throw at us.”  Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, pg. 95

4. If called to marriage it is the most sacred and prized earthly relationship that must be guarded and nurtured and can be broken only by marital unfaithfulness (Matthew 19:9) and willful desertion (1 Corinthians 7).  


1. How is the reality of Christ and the gospel of grace the motivating factor and the nourishment that makes marriage what the Lord intended it to be?

2. What does verse 6a “glorious refocusing” of the concepts of marriage mean?

3. What do we mean when we say to believers, “...but you have the Holy Spirit of the Living God”?

4. In marriage how do we continue to press from duty to delight?

5. How does marriage in the Lord bring freedom, acceptance, and security?