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My real name is Charlie Albright. I am the pinnacle of evil who God has flooded with His mercy. Declaring my sinful self righteous and holy in His sight! Lavishing His grace upon me by the blood Jesus shed on the cross! Carrying me through this life and giving me satiatfing joy! Anything good about me is only because of His grace!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What is the Purpose of a Permarital Relationship?

The following is a short answer that I came up with for a project in the class Marriage and the Family.

What does the Bible say about dating for marriage?

Well, to answer this question we have to turn first to the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. In 2 Tim 3:15-17 The Apostle Paul tells is a young pastor named Timothy that the Scriptures are profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness so that the Man or messenger of God maybe complete and equipped for every good work. What Paul is telling Timothy is that everything that he needs for faith and practice of faith is found in the pages of scripture.

This is very important to realize when coming to the question of the purpose of dating. For what God, through the apostle Paul, is telling us is that all we need to know about dating and marriage is already before us. But let me throw in some important qualifications here, (1) it is all that we NEED to know and (2) it is for what promotes godliness. For point one, we may have ideas and assumptions that we see as essential for finding a spouse and having a happy marriage that God does not see as essential. The tendency is then to think of the Bible as insufficient because we do not find our own perceived needs listed in the Bible. To the contrary, the Bible tells us what we need. If our perceived needs are not in the Bible then they are not true needs. On point two, the Bible tell us us how we can reach the highest goal which is godliness. It is not concerned primarily about how we can quick satisfy our desire for romantic pleasure or a host of other desires. (As pure and godly as those desires might be.) What the Bible lays out is the path to the greatest joy, which is holiness.

So, lets look in to the main question now, should Christian just date to marry? If we look to the Bible one thing becomes starkly clear, there is not prescribed means to find a spouse. God gives no direct counsel on what levels of emotional closeness man and woman should engage in before they are fully married. Or anything like a formal system to find a mate. It is just not there. But since we know that the Bible the sufficient, we are guarded from the idea that God has fail to correctly inform us on this issue and we are left to fend for ourselves. We must turn to look at what God HAS said and see if we are properly aligning our priorities with God's priorities.

If we look for a relationship between an man and a woman that has moved beyond a friendship, marriage is the only thing that is presented as acceptable. In the very beginning God made woman to complement the man and they were in a relationship where they cleave to one another instead of their parents. Jesus makes the term of the relationship clear when He pointed to this account and defined the relationship as marriage (Matt 19:3-6). Through the Proverbs, Solomon only gives wise sayings to his son about marriage. When we read through the epistle, we only read about instructions regarding marriage and attesting to the glories of that relationship (Eph. 5:22-33, Col 3:18-19).

What can we gather from all of this? If we keep in mind the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture we remember that the priorities in the Bible should be our priorities. And the Bible clearly presents marriage as the holy relationship for a man and a woman to be in if it has moved beyond friendship. So I concluded that marriage should be the priorities of our premarital relationships. Our relationships with the opposite sex that has moved beyond friendship should be for the purpose of marriage. Any other purpose is is going to a place that God has not made that relationship to go. It is to make a goal (whether it be emotional closeness, physical interaction, or anything else) what God has not set as the goal. That is why I concluded that any premarital relationship should be entered into for the purpose of and constantly moving to a marriage.