Satan is bent on destroying marriage, because in doing so he thinks he can work great destruction upon God’s church. The devil is trying to destroy God first of all. Knowing that he cannot, he now turns his fury upon the church of God. It is his purpose to destroy the church by working confusion and disorder in the church in order to turn her out of the way of faith and into the way disobedience.
Satan attacked marriage from the beginning. Adam and Eve were his first target. Their destruction was his goal. The destruction of their relationship with God, their marriage, and their blissful life in paradise. Satan worked very subtly. He did not attack directly. He did not approach Adam and Eve as a unit in their strength as God had joined them together, but he approached Eve separately and through her attacked Adam. A very subtle attack that was, and yet it was very effective. A shrewd strategist is Satan. Divide and conquer is his plan. It appeared that he won a major victory, and yet he knew that the war was not over.
Throughout the ages the devil has continued to rage in his assault against marriage, while using various approaches and means as the circumstances permitted.
In time past the devil had to work more subtly than he does in our day. Now he is able to come out forthrightly and boldly against marriage.
Satan has inspired wicked men and women to join the assault. The “women’s lib movement,” the International Women’s Year and the International Year of the Child form an effective crusade against the foundation of the home: marriage.
Satan recognizes that there are two types of marriage. Marriage in the world and marriage in the church. He understands that both are valid before God since marriage is a creational ordinance. Yet these two types of marriage are very different. The fundamental difference is that one is in the Lord and the other is outside the Lord.
The chief goal of the devil is to destroy God’s church and to do that by destroying marriage in the church. Satan is not first of all concerned with the destruction of the marriage of the world. But he understands that if he is going to destroy marriage in the church he must first of all destroy marriage in the world. With the results that he gains in the world he turns his attack upon the marriage of the church.
We recognize that there are difficulties in marriage. That is true for both the marriage of the world and the marriage of the church. The devil uses these difficulties as a lever to divide and conquer.
Many weapons does the devil use in his assault. The first weapon that he uses is the old man of sin, i.e., the evil nature that is in every man, woman, and child that is born. Our evil nature constitutes for the devil an enemy within the gate.
The chief sin that the devil stirs up in men is the sin of pride. Pride is the root sin; in fact, it was the sin of the devil from the beginning. The sin of pride is manifest chiefly in selfishness. It seeks and considers self above all. Satan urges man to declare himself the supreme authority in his life. He urges upon every man the lie that he shall be as God if only he will assert himself and take control in his own life.
This sin of pride is one of the best weapons that Satan has in his assault on the foundation of the home — marriage. In pride every man says, “Everything must serve me. Every person who comes in contact with me must somehow serve me. Everything that exists within my reach and in my control must serve me.”
You can imagine then what this sin does to that most intimate union between one man and one woman. You can see that, if these two who are closely joined together are each inspired by the sin of pride, the devil has a very effective weapon to divide and conquer.
The husband says, “The wife, the home, the children all must serve me.” The wife says the same thing. She says it in a different way and from a different perspective, but she says basically the same thing. If this sin of pride continues to its logical conclusion it destroys marriage. Life in the home becomes intolerable. A dissolution of the marriage will appear to be a very desirable thing, and thus Satan introduces divorce.
We must recognize this attack of the devil upon our own marriages. We must defend ourselves in godly fear, in humility and in repentance before God and before one another, day by day, lest we fall into the snare and temptation of the devil.
Many other weapons are at the disposal of the devil. Following out of pride are all of the works of the flesh. In Galatians 5 we have a partial listing of the works of the flesh. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness; lasciviousness; idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” Notice that adultery heads the list. Adultery has mightily served the purpose, of the devil in his frontal attack upon marriage, and all the others serve as well. The flesh with its lusts yearns after these things and desires these things above all, even above marriage. That ought to be clear for us to see today. A man will have his adultery above his marriage. When a fleshly man is confronted with that sin he will not forsake it in favor of marriage, but rather he forsakes his marriage in favor of that sin.
Another very effective weapon that the devil uses in his assault on the foundation of the home is the TV. With TV he is able to bring the enemy within the gate. If the devil is able to bring his most effective medium of communication right into the center of the home, what a powerful weapon he has. Notice I said that the devil brings his most effective weapon into the home. Who can question that this is true? That does not mean that the TV is in and of itself a devilish invention. Yet the TV has so fallen under the power and influence of the devil that now, for all practical purposes, the TV is the most effective tool of the devil.
Satan brings TV into the homes of the world, and that is understandable. But he also brings TV into the homes of the church, and that is reprehensible! We ought to recognize from a cursory viewing that TV is geared for the destruction of the godly home and family. What is TV but a manifestation of the works of the flesh? What better characterizes the content of the programs of TV than what we read in Galatians 5 concerning the works of the flesh? All of us have to admit that there is a correspondence between what comes into our home via TV, and the old man of sin within us. According to the lust of the flesh and lust of the eyes we love that stuff, but according to the new man in Christ Jesus we hate it.
We must be beware that we do not invite the enemy into the gate and then complain that we are not able to withstand the assault of the devil.
How foolish it would be for an army being set in array for battle to invite an effective “special operations unit” of the enemy right into the center of their camp — then to wage war against the enemy without, while they must also fight the enemy that they invited in. Is it any wonder that the devil has so effectively attacked the home and marriage of the world? Is it any wonder that the devil has used TV to corrupt and disrupt the Christian home and marriage?
Our calling is to fight against the enemy — to push the enemy back. What does that mean then for us on this very important front, but to take the TV set and push it right out the door and leave it there. And then by God’s grace renew our efforts to fight against the enemy without, for the battle is not over yet.
The devil has so effectively assaulted marriage in the world that it is virtually destroyed. Now on every hand a note of despair and finality is written upon marriage in the world. It does not work they say. Proof of that is the frequency of divorcer. And divorce brings in its wake unspeakable misery. The conclusion that the devil has brought the world to embrace is that marriage has to go. Marriage may have served in another age, but no longer is it useful. Alternatives are presented; but still new modes must be examined in order to fine a replacement for marriage. Men and women of the world have accepted that conclusion and now the devil tries to force it upon the church. But the church cannot and must not accept that wicked conclusion of the devil. That is not the necessary conclusion and the alternative to the difficulties that beset marriages in the church. Rather we must look at the sure foundation upon which marriage is based. The Scripture says, “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6).
Marriage is God-ordained. It is God who joins man and wife together. From the beginning that was so. After God had made Adam and Eve He brought them together and performed the first marriage ceremony. Now God Himself continues to protect and defend marriage. God assures those who marry in the Lord of His help to fight against and overcome the difficulties that come in the marriage relationship.
Matthew 19:6 is a statement of fact. In the first place it states the fact that God joins man and wife together. Secondly it teaches that man may not and cannot put marriage asunder.
One may try to draw from that text the conclusion that the marriage bond is breakable, and that men can break it, though they ought not to. The truth of the matter is that man cannot break the bond of marriage. God has ordained marriage. He defends and preserves it, and who is able to resist His mighty power.
A word of warning is expressed in this text that we walk not in the way of divorce, because the end of that way is misery and destruction for ourselves. When this word is set before the world they scoff in rebellion. Wicked men believe that they can change this ordinance of God if they wish. Man says that he is not going to be bound in a marriage relationship that does not please him. Man therefore steps over the boundary of the Word of God. In doing so man does not succeed in his attempt to overthrow the foundation of marriage. He only succeeds in destroying himself in the attempt. God is not mocked!
We only have to look at the marriage of the world to have that truth impressed upon us. One might expect to find in the homes of the world a wonderful freedom and fulfillment, a high bliss of joy because men have gotten their own way. But what is it that characterizes the homes and marriages of the world? Do you find in them a higher degree of peace and joy than you find in the homes of God’s people? The answer is obvious. The homes and marriages of the world are beset with every conceivable problem and misery because they refuse to recognize that marriage belongs to God and not to man.
The church of Christ must not be cowed by the conclusion that the devil holds before her. Marriage is going to stand because God is for it. Let us as God’s people consider His truth concerning marriage, believe it, obey it, and enjoy the benefits of His blessings upon us as we walk in His fear.