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The Ten Commandments of Marriage: Introduction

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2).

This is a very familiar passage to most of us, as it is the statement the Lord made immediately before giving Moses the Ten Commandments.  These statutes and judgments were given to the children of Israel so they could “learn them and be careful to observe them” (Deut. 5:1).

Why was it so important for Israel to understand these commandments?  First of all, they were God’s special people. “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” (Deut. 14:2).  It was also important for them to keep these commandments because God promised them prolonged days in the land that He had given them (Deut. 4:40).  And as Solomon concluded the book of Ecclesiastes, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Eccl. 12:13).

Today, God still has his own special people.  No longer is it the nation of Israel, because now he has claimed the church as His own, “which he purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).  The church today is “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people…” (1 Peter 2:9).  John wrote that our love for God should be a love where we want to keep His commandments (1 John 5:3) and do his will.

In the beginning, God created the first spiritual institution when he realized that it was not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18).  So he made a helper comparable to him and brought her to the man.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24).

The apostle Paul spoke a great mystery to the church in Ephesus (Eph. 5) when he used the spiritual relationship of the husband and wife as an example of how the church was to be comparable to Christ.  He told them how wives should submit to their husbands in the same manner the church submits to Christ.  Husbands should love their wives in the same manner that Christ loves the church and was willing to die for her.   When the church is presented before God as the Bride of Christ, it “should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27).  “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15).

Now, let us compare the nation of Israel, the church, and the marriage relationship.  First, the nation of Israel was God’s holy and special people, and He gave them the Ten Commandments, in which through obedience they would have prolonged days in the Promised Land.  Today the Church is God’s holy and special people.  It is also expected to follow God’s commandments and remain faithful until death, so that he will give you the crown of life (Rev. 2:10).  And then the marriage relationship is like that of the relationship between Christ and the church.

So if the Ten Commandments apply to the called out, which is now the church, which is like the marriage relationship, would it be possible then for us to apply the Ten Commandments directly towards the marriage relationship?

This is going to be our goal for this series of articles.  This will not be a list based on the wisdom of men, who say things like “Thou shalt always kiss her in the morning”.  Certainly rendering the affection due her is important, but for now we will consider the Ten Commandments as they are written in Exodus 20 and apply those same values to the marriage relationship.  Obedience in the Lord’s commands has promised rewards to the faithful, and we will see how applying these values will render rewards in our homes.