The fall of man into sin has had devastating consequences for marriage and the family. The most beautiful and blessed of all human relationships, that of husband and wife in marriage, was thoroughly corrupted and spoiled because of sin. The reason of this is that fallen man’s nature has become totally depraved, and this militates against all possibility for a happy and blessed marriage, the foundation of the family. Our Lord describes the great evil that proceeds from the depraved heart of man: “For from within out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7:21, 22). There is no sphere of life where this depravity of man is more evident than that of marriage and the home. For man’s life in marriage to be happy and prosperous it must be God-centered. God made man to live in covenant communion and fellowship with his creator. This communion would be reflected in marriage as man lived in love in the blessed closeness of the two becoming one flesh. But man’s sinful nature has made this impossible. He has become the enemy of God and so also of his God-given life’s companion in marriage. He no longer knows how to live in peace and happiness through loving devotion and faithfulness with his wife. He has become proud and self-seeking and filled with evil lust. Fallen man rebels against every ordinance of the Lord for marriage and the home. He seeks in his vain imagination to devise new arrangements for marriage and the home that will satisfy his own evil lust and free him from his God-given obligations and responsibilities in marriage. In doing this, man imagines that he will be free and that he will make his marriage and home better. But he has become a slave of his own wicked lust, and his mind has become darkened through his great foolishness. In all of his evil devices he has brought to marriage and the home all of the hellish misery of bitter strife and conflict, divorce and, re-marriage, and a world full of rebellious and delinquent children. Most of the violence and wickedness that there is in this world can be traced to its origin in ungodly and wicked homes. The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked. Not all of the advances in modern psychology, sociology, and methods of worldly marriage counseling have been able to restore peace and order and blessing to the home. As long as man lives in disobedience and rebellion against God this will remain impossible.
The corruption of marriage and the home became immediately evident at the time of the fall. The first consequence of the fall was that Adam and Eve knew that they were naked. No longer could they live in holy purity and faithfulness with each other as husband and wife. Their hearts were filled with evil lust which would soon break forth in all sorts of evil deeds against each other. God made man to be the head of his wife. According to the wonderful order of His creation, God ordained that man should rule over his wife in love for her good, to lead her, protect her, and provide for her. After the fall man has become an evil tyrant over his wife. He uses and abuses her only for his own glory and the satisfaction of his own lust. According to God’s wonderful creation order He made woman to be the helpmeet of her husband. He required of her that she should live in loving devotion to her husband, to serve him in order that together they could serve the Lord. After the fall woman has become self-centered, vain glorious, disobedient, and rebellious against her God-given husband who has the calling to rule over her. The curse of the Lord came upon child-bearing. Before the fall the wonderful and glorious role of woman was to bring forth children in loving companionship with her husband. After the fall the woman suffers great sorrow and pain as she brings forth children. Her desire is to her husband and he rules over her. Man after the fall brings forth offspring and a race that is as depraved and corrupt as he himself is. He is totally unable to change the nature of his children. He no longer has the ability to nurture his children in the knowledge and fear of the Lord. By his own ungodly example he teaches his children to be even more idolatrous, worldly, and corrupt than he himself is. Ungodly man brings forth a race that is bound with him for hell and destruction.
All of the history of mankind testifies of the great wickedness he has brought into marriage and the home. Consider some of the most awful examples of it. Think of the great evil of polygamy so, prevalent in many heathen societies years ago. What a corruption of marriage this is. God made marriage from the beginning to be an exclusive lifelong union between one man and one woman. But man, because of unbridled lust, is not satisfied with the wife that God has given him. For his own glory and prestige he desires to marry more wives, once considered the measure of his greatness. But in doing this he only brought jealousy, bitter strife, and confusion to his home. In the whole process woman was degraded and dishonored to a status as low as an animal. She was used and abused only for evil pleasure. Man gained such tyrannical power over her that he could despise and dispose of her at his will. Those he did not put away he often maltreated as his servants and slaves for his own advantage. These evil practices became prevalent even in Israel as they more and more adopted the abominations of the heathen nations around them. This was not something which the Lord approved of even when it was kings and rulers that committed these things. This was a great evil in His sight and He often sent His prophets to admonish Israel and to warn them of misery and judgment that would come upon them for this evil.
Consider the great evil that the women of this world have fallen into. They have given themselves over to lust and enticement, forsaking their own husbands and family to live in sinful pleasure. The depth of degradation to which this has brought the woman is the great evil of prostitution, the moral scourge of all the world. Recently I read in a history book about how many thousands of prostitutes once lived here in Singapore. What dishonor, misery, and wretchedness this has brought to the life of the women of this world.
The adultery and wickedness of man has left behind a world of illegitimate and destitute children with no father or mother to care for them. We read of thousands of illegitimate children that were fathered by American soldiers during the Vietnamese War. The depravity of man’s nature and the frustration that sin has brought to the soul of man has caused other parents to abuse and beat their own children until they are left battered and torn and maimed for life, if not murdered. How awful are the consequences of man’s sin and rebellion against God.
We need not look into past history to discover the great wickedness that man has brought into marriage and the home. The 20thcentury man and woman are the product of many years of development in sin and wickedness. They imagine that they are not as savage and wicked as men of old; but in actuality they have increased in wickedness. The modern inventions of the age have enabled man to live in even grosser immorality and wickedness. Few are the husbands that remain faithful all their life to their wives in the holy bond of marriage. We read of much great wickedness in eastern society, and we know that it is no better in western society. Today the world has built resort areas that cater to men’s basest immorality with the women of their choice. These are frequented mostly by married men. Meanwhile, women the world over are influenced by the ungodly and evil women’s liberation movement to refuse and forsake their God-ordained roles as wife and mother in the home. They imagine that they are justified in doing this to liberate themselves from the evil tyranny and chauvinism of their male counterparts. How ever, in all of this they only show themselves to be as selfish, vain, and corrupt as men. Thousands of mothers every year the world over murder their own children before they are even born. They refuse the responsibility and burden of raising a family and dare even to go to such great wickedness as to murder their own children so that they might live in selfishness, lust, and pleasure. The heroes of our modern-day world are the immoral beasts of Hollywood and Broadway who glory in having one sexual partner after another, and in rebellion against God continue to put away their husbands and wives. Much of the world seeks to pattern its life-style after such men and women and for entertainment watches them revel in immorality and debauchery on the movie screen. God is not mocked by all of this wickedness. It is an abomination in His sight and He will come in His holy wrath for judgment.
But we must also see the consequences of the fall from a closer and more personal perspective. Our own sinful nature is so corrupt and depraved that we cannot live in marriage as we ought according to the holy ordinance of the Lord. How strong the temptation of our own sinful nature to spoil our marriages and home through our own evil cravings, selfishness, vain pride, and foolish wickedness. What a tremendous influence the wicked and ungodly world has upon us. How totally unable we are of bringing forth a new generation of children that is righteous and holy before God. How often the joy and blessedness of our own homes is marred by the entrance of sin and spoiled by bitterness, selfishness, and hatred both between husband and wife and among the children in the home.
Against the dark background of the history of fallen man God has made known the wonder of His grace and mercy by maintaining and preserving his covenant of grace with man. In His wonderful covenant of grace He has maintained the central place of marriage and the Christian family. According to His purpose of election He has preserved unto Himself an elect remnant. Throughout the history of the world He has redeemed out of this wicked world a people whom He has formed for Himself. Through the wonderful power of His grace and Holy Spirit He continues to regenerate and sanctify that people for the glory of His own name. This is the only hope for the Christian home in this evil world.
How wonderful is the story of God’s great purpose for the home and the Christian family. Immediately after the fall of man into sin the Lord appeared to Adam and Eve to announce the wonderful promise of His salvation. Though He chastened the woman for her sin of rebellion against Him by giving her pain and sorrow in child-bearing, yet He promised that she would bring forth the seed of the woman who would ultimately be the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was born in the fullness of time, born of a woman, to redeem us from the curse and corruption of sin. Already when God first announced this promise to Adam and Eve, Adam in faith called his wife the mother of all living. Wonderfully the Lord exalted the woman and declared that she would be saved through child-bearing.
God promised to the patriarchs of old already that He would bring forth from them a new and holy generation according to His wonderful covenant of grace. He promised to make the seed of Abraham as numerous as the stars in heaven, and as the sand by the sea shore innumerable. In spite of the great wickedness of the world God has maintained His covenant from generation to generation and raised up a godly seed. He has further promised to bring His people to a new and better land of which Canaan was a type and where sin and wickedness would be no more. Through His grace He continues through all the history of the world to use the families of the godly to cause many sons and daughters to be born to endless life in Zion. This is the hope of the God-fearing and of the Christian family.
As Christians God has given us the great calling to raise up Christian families. Young people must seek truly godly and faithful partners in life. They must not pursue the lust and vanity of this world. They must seek to marry in the Lord. As Christians we must be earnest and faithful to pattern our homes after the principles laid down in the word of God. Thank the Lord that His Word contains so much instruction for marriage and the home. In every respect our homes must be radically different from those of the world.
As parents we have the tremendous calling and responsibility to bring forth and raise up godly children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, by correction and discipline and by godly example.
In order to do all these things we need to be constantly searching the word of God and praying for His grace.