Keeping marriage holy: 3 characteristics

By Dale McCamish - Senior Minister, Wilmington Church of Christ

Four churches will be participating in the Sermon Series Keeping Marriage in February. Dove Church, Faith Family Church, First Church of God, and Wilmington Church of Christ will explore how all followers of Christ should fulfill their responsibilities to keep marriage. Visit one of the churches listed during the month of February and listen to these messages, join question and discussion groups, have an opportunity to win a weekend marriage retreat, and/or participate in a three-week marriage seminar.

I have the privilege of kicking off our marriage sermon series with the subject of keeping marriage holy.

Holiness requires three characterist

ics: God’s involvement, separation and dedication. During a discussion with the religious leaders of his day, Jesus said we find the “separation” feature of holiness occurring within marriage. Jesus reminds them that since the beginning of creation, when the creator ‘made them male and female’ (Matthew 19:4), God separated Adam and Eve by design. More than just two mere animals, Adam and Eve completed the creation process as the only image bearers of God. “God created mankind in his own image…male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

Perfectly equal, completely complimentary and beautifully designed, Adam and Eve played specific roles to reveal God’s glory. God even gave them a unique purpose in their relationship — marriage. Together they form a new family.

Jesus said, “Haven’t you read … for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife?” But Jesus didn’t stop with that explanation; he went on to remind his listeners that when God separated Adam and Eve, He also dedicated them for a holy purpose: “the two will become one flesh” (Matthew 19:5).

Marriage contains the three characteristics of holiness: God’s involvement, separation and dedication. The reason for joining together far exceeds just a relationship between two individuals or a relationship for procreation: Jesus said, “They are no longer two, but one flesh” (Matthew 19:6). This is a mystery — how can one plus one equal one? But it is still true.

More than just physical intimacy (though we can see the oneness of bodies fitting together), their oneness became, as one preacher said, the “mingling of souls.” The holy, image-bearing purpose grows exponentially in the newly formed oneness of marriage.

The Apostle Paul repeats this mystery in Ephesians 5, writing, the oneness of marriage allows people to see the oneness of Jesus Christ and His Church. Also, marriage reveals more clearly the mystery of the three-in-one unity of God. Because God set men and women apart and gave them a specific, God-honoring purpose it’s now the responsibility of every Christ follower to help keep marriage holy. To find out how, listen in on one or more of our sermons throughout this month.

I recognize that this short article cannot go into the depth or develop these themes as much as we would like, but if you have any questions or would like to discuss this subject more please email me at

By Dale McCamish

Senior Minister, Wilmington Church of Christ