December 18, 2017


Pastor Mike Harding[1]

Marriage is the first and most basic of all human institutions. Before governments, schools, and churches, God established the home, and all institutions issue from it. Family led to patriarchal and tribal systems of human government, then to monarchial systems, and now a democratic republic.

Parents raise and educate children at home which leads to academies, institutes, and colleges. Family care leads to doctors, clinics, and hospitals. Parental guidance at home leads to churches. All social and cultural organizations derive from the home and marriage.

Society wants to play around with sacred things much like children want to play with matches. Their chief goal is pleasure. Sex is solely for fun in their worldview. They want more of it and unlimited variety. The new morality is the old hedonism. The only ethical norm is a hedonistic view of love. This effects society’s view of marriage which is destructive of true marriage.

Gay marriage is not marriage; it’s a mirage, being mandated by the secular progressives. Christians are being denied religious freedom of conscience, belief, practice, and association. It affects every social institution. The left are sore winners. They spike the football with every court victory. They do not want universal tolerance; they want universal acceptance, approval, and acquiescence—nothing less than total surrender to their godless agenda.

We must recover what God intends marriage to be and achieve that in our own lives. The innate selfishness of the human heart must be broken by surrendering to God in salvation. Love of self causes us to jettison our spouse if we think the other person does not contribute to my sense of well-being, serve my goals, bolster my ego as illustrated in an article by Newsweek entitled, “What’s Wrong with Me, Me, Me!”

If we put ourselves first, all relationships will suffer. The cross makes us less inclined to be self-centered. We live to serve not to be served. Service is not servility. Marriage is not for me, but for us and the children and the church and society and the glory of God.

Woman was made for the Man, from the Man, brought to the Man, and named by the Man. When Adam named the animals he did so according to their nature. No suitable helper was found (2:20). No animal is created in the image of God and no animal can commune with man on a spiritual or intellectual level.

Arnold Toynbee spoke of a man and his dog having fellowship. They played games and had times of affection. But the so-called fellowship must always be on the dog’s level. Adam needed a special companion on his level due to the radical discontinuity between Adam and the animal kingdom. Adam was no evolutionist. Men and women are different and long live the difference, but woman is the same as man in that both are totally human, made in the image of God, and capable of mutual love and companionship in the one-flesh relationship.

Men and women are more alike than anything else in creation. What is most like half of the moon? The other half of the moon! Same is true with man and woman. Eve had a beauty and grace that even excelled Adam. Eve was for Adam. This does not mean every woman is for every man. Submission in marriage is voluntary. No woman is obliged to accept a proposal.

Genesis 2:25 says that they were “both naked and felt no shame.” After the Fall, however, paradise was only a faded memory. Now they were naked before God.

The shame of nakedness is linked to sin. “The eyes of both of them were opened and they realized they were naked” (Gen 3:7). They were aware of their sinful state which their nakedness symbolized. For all eternity man will be aware of his nakedness.

Before the Fall neither was guilty of sin nor aware of any shame. No cause of embarrassment before God. They had done nothing wrong. Man has been running and hiding from God ever since. He does not want to be the object of God’s gaze. One philosopher said that to be the object of God’s gaze makes me feel less than human; therefore, for me to be totally human there must be no God. Rather than confessing his guilt and exposure before God, he denies God. If we are not running from sin, then we are running from God, endeavoring to cover our spiritual nakedness with whatever fig leaves are at our disposal.

We live in a mad race through life. The hectic pace of life stops us from considering who we are. We fill our heads with constant media, communication, facebook, twitter, and email. It keeps us from thinking. We don’t have to look at ourselves in all our spiritual nakedness before a holy God. You and I will never be able to say, “Here we stand naked before God and man, and we know no shame.”

We cannot deny our guilt; the guilt is there for all to see. Thankfully, “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Gen 3:21).

Sin is real but the atonement is real. Though we are known by God in all our sin and guilt, we are loved by God, received and covered over by Grace, only if we gladly receive His payment for our sin.

Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to thee for dress.

Jesus, thy blood and righteousness,
My beauty are, my glorious dress.

Fully absolved through these I am,
From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.

For a pdf copy of the entire article, see here.

Mike Harding is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Troy, Troy, Michigan.

This article is the manuscript form of a message preached June 15, 2016 at the Annual Fellowship meeting of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International in Indianapolis, IN. The audio version of this message can be found here.

The Introduction to this message is here.

The first point I. Man and Woman are made by God in the image of God. is here.

The second point II. Man and Woman are joined by God to fulfill the mandate of God. is here.

  1. Note: Special thanks to Doug Wilson for some introductory material, Andreas Kostenberger’s “God, Marriage, and Family,” Albert Mohler’s “We Cannot Be Silent,” Rolland McCune’s Systematic Theology, and Commentaries by Hugh Ross, Victor Hamilton, John Davis, and James Boice. []

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