Biblical Marriage: Defining Marriage – Part 2
Independence Day Special: Marriage and Freedom in America
July 5, 2015
“Father, we are so thankful that we have this time to reflect upon Your Word, that we have absolute truth before us, that we can come to Your Word, and we can receive answers to contemporary problems, debates situations, and that we can relax and rest because we know that it’s the truth, and that if we live in the light of Your Word and walk by the Spirit, that even though we may face opposition, ridicule, persecution, hostility, even the loss of freedoms and perhaps even the loss of our lives— we know that You sustain us, that we live on the basis of a hope that is not temporal but eternal.
A hope that is grounded in Your very Person, Your very promise, and the very work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross.
That because of that hope, we have hope. We do not give in. We do not despair. We are not discouraged—for our happiness, our stability is always based upon Your eternal love, Your immutability, faithfulness, and the faithfulness and truthfulness of Your Word.
Now Father, as we study Your Word and reflect upon the current events, we pray that You might strengthen us, encourage us, and that we might be reminded that we are ambassadors for You, that we have been saved for a purpose, and that is to express Your character and the gospel of reconciliation to those who are lost and those who are walking in darkness.
We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
On Thursday night I began a series, a series in response to the fact that a week ago on Friday, we had a significant, if not an earth shattering, decision handed down from the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS). This is not hyperbole.
If you read in the secular media, often the responses of Christians, and evangelicals especially, to the decision on Friday is cast into a very negative light. We are just bigots. We are discriminating against wonderful, lovely people, and all we want to do is take away their rights and take away their dignity.
Nothing could be further from the truth! That does not honestly reflect the biblical position.
That may, unfortunately and sadly, reflect the views of some Christians. There are always some Christians who don’t quite get the message that the gospel and our ambassadorship as believers is grounded upon the love of God. It is grounded upon the principles of Jesus Christ’s First Coming, the First Advent when He came not to judge, but to offer salvation.
That is still the focus of the church—to offer salvation, the gospel of forgiveness of sins.
And yet we find some people who have a predilection towards legalism, a predilection towards an overemphasis, and I mean that in a derogatory manner, just as the Pharisees had an overemphasis on righteousness, that they use that as a bludgeon against those who are involved in sins that they do not understand, and that they do not approve. Problem with that is, that kind of thinking—if you allow that to go on in your soul, eventually works itself out in your life!
Now that doesn’t mean that we approve of the sins of others, whatever they may be, or however egregious they may be. But what it does mean is that that is not an issue for which we should concern ourselves. We are to reflect the love of God for all. We love the sinner, but we despise the sin, and we dare not let those get confused in our mind.
That’s one of the reasons that we have had such a hostile reaction. I think there are others that are more significant, but that’s one of the reasons that we’ve had a more hostile reaction, and we’ll experience a hostile reaction and overreaction from the homosexual community now that they have had this recognition by SCOTUS that same-sex marriage is legal.
That will give them a platform from which they will attempt to execute retaliatory vengeance upon Christians. And I fear that over the coming decades, we are going to reap the consequences of that, and we will feel that hatred and that vindictiveness.
Ultimately, we know that that’s really a hatred and vindictiveness that’s addressed towards God. It is God and His standards and His righteousness that they have suppressed in their soul and that they are reacting against.
We’re going to live in an environment where we experience personal ridicule, rejection, and hostility from people with whom we work, people with whom we live, people that are part of our family. People that we love and care for, perhaps, are going to revile and ridicule us.
As believers, it is incumbent upon us to be informed of what the Scripture teaches to understand the contemporary issues, that we may be able, as Peter says in 1 Peter 3:15, to give an answer for the hope that is in us.
One of the things that has discouraged me a little bit in the last 10 days is the discouragement that I hear from so many Christians. We have hope, folks!
Our hope is not grounded in the Supreme Court or any of its rulings. Our hope is not grounded upon whether there’s a Democrat or a Republican in the White House or in Congress. Our hope is built on the Word of God. It’s built on who Jesus Christ is and what He did on the Cross. We can have joy even in the midst of recognizing that things in the world are not going the way we would like them to.
Wake up! Guess what, it’s the world. Whose system is it? It’s the Devil’s system. What more can you expect from the world than they’re going to follow the arrogance, the hostility toward God that the Devil has manifested?
We get a great opportunity to manifest the love and the grace of God, forgiveness of God towards others who oppose us. Just as the disciples did, just as numerous others have throughout the generations and throughout the centuries, we get an opportunity to turn this whole issue, this whole discussion into an opportunity to help people understand the love of God, the grace of God, and the work of Christ on the Cross.
This gives us an opportunity to witness to others, and we need to shape our thinking that way. Despair and discouragement, bitterness, and hatred towards these things that have happened are not part of the makeup of a Christian who’s walking by the Holy Spirit. We have to change the way we think and change the way we react to these things.
Certainly, we recognize that this is a sad decision, but this is a new reality. Nothing like this in the history of the US has ever taken place. And it’s taken place over a period of just a very short time. This is a radical shift in the thinking of the people, and we need to recognize that this is where things are and the new world in which we live.
One of the things that I’m doing as we look at this Independence Day Special, is talking about marriage and freedom in America.
On Thursday night I talked about the purpose of marriage. We ended that, but I’m going to develop that a little more, as we need to define marriage because the more I study this, the more my thinking is being impacted by the fact that this is not always as much a matter of understanding the SCOTUS decision and the advocacy of same-sex marriage, as it is for believers to understand what Biblical marriage is all about.
So often even Christians have succumbed to the watered down definition of marriage that has become normative for western civilization—a view of marriage that is not a Biblical view of marriage. As we approach this topic in any conversation, we as believers need to make sure that we understand what marriage is.
Now our authority is the Word of God, as I pointed out the other night. We’re going to start from that presupposition. We must always start from that presupposition. But when we’re talking to unbelievers, when we’re talking to rebellious believers, they may say, “I don’t care what the Word of God says. I don’t care what the Bible says. You Christians always go back to the Bible. That doesn’t mean anything to me.”
Well, what does mean something to you? Let’s talk about law. Let’s talk about history. Let’s talk about these undergirding concepts that are really the foundation for a conclusion and see if this really works.
What I’m trying to do in this series is shed a lot more light than heat and help us as believers think about what the issues really are, how we define them, and how we can use that to engage in conversation with those who do not agree with us.
Now we recognize there are, there’s a certain element that doesn’t agree with us and never will agree with us, and all they’re going to do is throw bombs at us. They’re going to be involved in name calling. They’re going to say extremely hateful and spiteful things to us. But we are to love our enemies.
That’s what the Scripture says, and that we are to love those who persecute us. That doesn’t mean that we validate their views or validate their positions.
We need to understand also that as evangelical Christians, we stand with a pretty solid block of individuals that comprises perhaps 20 million, at least 20 million in the US.
There’s probably another 20–30 million that may not hold to all nine points that Barna Research Group uses as their criteria for defining an evangelical. Perhaps they hold to four or five or those.
There are a number of fairly conservative Christians who don’t necessarily agree with a doctrinal statement on the inerrancy or infallibility of Scripture. There may be one or two other points that Barna uses as their criteria that some observant Christians, some practicing Christians don’t hold to, so we can enlarge that category perhaps to 40–50 million Americans who hold roughly to the authority of the Bible and to the fact that homosexuality is a sin against God, and it is also a devastating sin in its consequences towards society.
This view has been collated by the opposition in caricaturing Christianity and the church. In fact, they have done such a wonderful job in the Devil’s world of propagandizing the younger generation that the stand against homosexuality has come to be THE defining characteristic of what makes a Christian a Christian.
Now none of us believe that. We believe that the defining element is the love of God demonstrated through the Lord Jesus Christ and His death on the Cross, that a defining element of Christianity is understanding the grace of God to all who are sinners.
Yet studies have indicated that the minds of those under, let’s say, 30–35 have been radically impacted by the world.
In a study written by Dave Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons called—and a work that they published from the basis of it—UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity…and Why It Matters, if we’re going to try to impact those under 35 with the gospel, we have to understand some of the distortions, misunderstandings that they have about Christianity.
One of the questions that they were asked in a poll is, “What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the word “Christian”?
Over 90%, think about that, over 90% of young Americans surveyed answered, “anti-homosexual accurately describes present-day Christians.” That’s the #1 thought that comes into their mind when asked, “What is Christianity”?”
Now that’s a hurdle we have to overcome because that is exactly what characterizes the younger generation. They have taken in all the views, all the ideas, all the value systems of the modern relativistic culture and made it their own, so that what we see reflected in that survey is how anti-Christian American culture has become.
It is not the culture of the 90s. It’s not the culture of the 80s, and it is 180 degrees opposite of the culture of the 50s and the 60s. This is a radical shift.
So, one of the unfortunate realities that we see here is that as Christians, we are automatically pigeon holed. As soon as somebody finds out you are a Christian, you are automatically labeled a bigot, you are anti-gay, anti-homosexual, and we have to understand how to deal with that.
Now because of this level of hostility in the culture, there have been three responses from the Christian community—I use that term in a broader context—three responses from the Christian community as to how to handle that.
The first response is just to leave it alone. Don’t talk about it. If we ignore it maybe it will go away, but if you keep talking about it, it’s just going to reinforce this caricature that the world has of us that the primary thing that defines us is an anti-homosexual stance. The more we discuss it, the more we’ll be defeated, and the more this will be a distraction to the gospel.
There are a number of people, it’s a minority, but a number of people within the Christian leadership who have taken that position. This is often a position that you’ll find among young youth pastors in their dealings with teenagers because the teenage community has been so brainwashed by the pro-gay, pro-same-sex propaganda that any time the subject is brought up, “Well, you’re just gay bashing.”
If you talk about what the Bible says in these areas, “You don’t want these people to have their civil rights.” “You’re unloving, you’re hateful,” and this is the automatic response. So some people say, “Well, don’t talk about it.”
Second, it’s just give into it! Just accept it. This is the way the culture is going, so we just accept it. After all, “what difference does it make”? If we just accept same-sex marriage, it’s not going to really change anything. Who cares what’s going on in the bedroom?
Now I agree to that to a certain extent, but who cares what’s going on in the privacy of somebody’s life at home? Well, we have to understand that there’s a difference between not making an issue out of things like that and what goes on in the privacy of the bedroom and understanding that maybe, maybe by taking this to the extent that we validate it with such a term as marriage, that we’re doing something that is self-destructive.
It’s not by emphasizing that marriage is for heterosexual monogamous unions only. By stating that it’s not being anti-homosexual, it’s stating a positive, and it’s not stating a negative.
So the first response is just to ignore it and maybe it will go away.
Second response is to accept it or embrace it.
Third response is to answer it—to answer it that it really does matter, that this is not a frivolous debate. This is not simply a debate that is about taking away certain rights or dignity from people.
If you understand the Declaration of Independence properly and the Bible properly, you can’t take dignity away from anyone!
That’s why Clarence Thomas, in his dissenting opinion, for which he’s caught a lot of flak from people in the black community, says even slaves, even when they were being abused, had dignity because he understands that dignity biblically is grounded in the fact that each one of us is created in the image and likeness of God.
We have dignity inherent to us, and it is not based on how people treat us. We never lose our dignity, because it is not a secondary aspect. It is inherent to our makeup as image bearers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It matters, because this particular decision and its social impact is more than likely the greatest social revolution since Jesus Christ. It’s the greatest social revolution in history. No nation or empire has ever sanctioned homosexual activity as marriage. It’s never happened.
Even in the pagan world, you never had gods and goddesses who were created in the image of the people. You never had gods and goddesses who were involved in homosexual activity. They were all involved in heterosexuality and heterosexual activity.
So much is at stake in this whole debate and we have to understand it. Not talking about it isn’t an option. Giving into it and accepting it isn’t an option.
So the only option is that we need to understand how to answer it as Peter goes on to say in 2 Peter 3:16. We need to answer it in love and kindness. We need to answer this in a way that glorifies and honors the Lord Jesus Christ.
The greatest threat I think we have to Christianity isn’t same-sex marriage. The greatest threat we have to Christianity in the US isn’t from the Supreme Court. It’s not from progressives in either party.
The greatest threat is Christians who aren’t willing to grow to spiritual maturity, Christians who are going to look at these circumstances as an excuse to give in to despair and discouragement, and Christians who are going to use this as an excuse to go further underground because they just don’t want to be a target.
As I read the Declaration of Independence this morning, we have to honor those men who signed the Declaration of Independence. They pledged their lives, they pledged their fortunes, and they pledged their sacred honor in order to bring liberty to the colonies. They were willing to give everything.
If this generation of Christians and this generation of Americans is not willing to do the same thing, then we not only dishonor the signers of the Declaration, we dishonor every one of our forbearers who put on uniforms to fight to preserve the liberties of this nation.
We dishonor ourselves because there is something worth fighting and dying for and losing everything we have for, and that is the truth of God’s Word.
We have to take that stand. I am saddened when I read of Christians who are county clerks who rather than fight, have given up their jobs. That doesn’t win anything. I know it’s hard. I know it’s terrible.
I know that the people that are fighting receive hate mail, that they receive threats on their lives, that the financial cost is such that they will lose their fortunes in fighting for what is right, but the issue before us in terms of our own personal character is if we’re not willing to fight for what is right, what are we willing to fight for? Personal security and comfort?
That was an indictment that Francis Shaeffer brought up to the American people back in around 1977 in his book, How Should We Then Live? where he predicted that American culture was such that people were going to become so mired in the pursuit of personal security and happiness that they would be willing to give up everything just to maintain the illusion that they were secure and that they were happy.
That is coming true before our very eyes.
We have to answer this question as we go forward in this study: What is marriage? Why should marriage be restricted to one man and one woman? That is the ultimate issue. For Christians, we need to understand this biblically.
When we’re talking to non-Christians, we need to recognize that there have been put forth over the centuries dozens and dozens of reasons why marriage should be between one man and one woman.
That is, I believe, a residual of the impact of the Word of God on culture. And that this has always been recognized, and same-sex marriage has never been recognized.
One of the implications of this decision is that we’re going to challenge all the definitions of marriage. We’re going to challenge it in terms of polygamy and in terms of polyandry. As one writer facetiously said, “We may see polyandry legalized before the word is actually recognized in spell check in Microsoft Word.”
There’s a case in Montana that was started up on Friday where a man with two wives (he was a former Mormon, and he’d been kicked out of the Mormon church because of his multiple marriages), one marriage was civil, the other marriage was religious, but he’s applied to—he went down to the county clerk to get a marriage license for the second marriage. So they’re already pushing polygamy.
There have been a number of articles published in different periodicals and journals over the last decade pushing for the legalization of polygamy, and not only that, but for pedophilia, legalized pedophilia with an adult man and a young boy.
So this is what we see coming up. Once you start changing a time-honored definition, then you start having problems. We have to look at this from a biblical viewpoint.
Here’s the question: Is there an inherent and essential nature to marriage which excludes all other consensual unions between adults? That’s really the question. Is there an inherent and essential nature to marriage which excludes all other consensual unions between adults?
To put it another way: If marriage is only a way that the government acknowledges feelings of love and affection between people—let me read that again, think about it—If marriage is only a way that the government acknowledges feelings of love and affection between people…
See, this is how the definition of marriage has been so diluted over the last 50 years—we think of it as simply a way in which two people who love each other can get together, be joined together legally.
We have so minimized the definition of marriage that now we can apply it to anything.
If marriage is only a way that the government acknowledges feeling of love and affection between people, then preventing people from marrying would be discrimination similar to racism or religious bigotry and religious persecution.
But if marriage is something more, then to dilute it or reduce its significance to only love and affection, we’ll have dire consequences on a society.
There are many ways in which our society discriminates. We have a society that’s faced discrimination that’s wrong. In fact there was a democrat not long ago that said, “We need to outlaw all discrimination.” You can’t do that.
To open your mouth, to use any noun discriminates. If you use the word “dog” you’ve just discriminated against all cats. If you use the word “man” you’ve discriminated against all women. Any noun isolates one thing from all other things. That’s discrimination.
There are different ways in which we discriminate: MADD–Mothers Against Drunk Driving, exclude fathers by its very definition. Senior discounts also discriminate against anyone younger than 60, 61, or 65. You can go to IHOP, and you can get a senior discount, I think, at 55. That discriminates against everybody else.
Discrimination is typical with marriage. We have laws that say that you can’t get married until you are of a certain age. We discriminate at the voting booth still, that we say that you can’t vote until you’re 18 years of age. That’s discrimination.
So there are forms of discrimination based on essential qualities that do not demean or trivialize or insult someone. But arbitrary discrimination based upon things such as race, Jim Crow laws, other things of that nature, are indeed to be prohibited and prescribed.
But what we’re talking about in terms of marriage means that we have to understand what marriage is and what its purpose is. There are two answers that we can give; one is from the Bible, the other is from law and practice.
Many non-Christian cultures and governments for over 6,000 years have recognized that marriage is between one man and one woman, and this can be affirmed without making homosexuals the object of scorn and ridicule and derision. In fact, many Christians have unfortunately done great harm to the faith by thinking this way.
One last quote here before we look again at Scripture. This is from a book by Sean McDowell (the son of Josh McDowell) and John Stonestreet called, Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage (Thoughtful Response), says,
“Christians who fail to think well about key cultural issues never rise above infectious confusion or unprofitable anger. A church that hides from cultural conflicts or chooses to do nothing will become culturally captive and will effectively abandon people to be victims of bad ideas.—I bet you never thought that people could be a victim of a bad idea.—Love of God demands truth, and love of our neighbor demands action.”
We looked at this the other day. We looked at our passage in Genesis, but first before we go there, I wanted to give you just a couple of quotes since it’s Independence Day, quotations from signers of the Declaration.
Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration, said, “Every citizen of a republic must watch for the State as if its liberties depended upon his vigilance alone.” We must be watchful.
John Adams said, “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. Now I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
These were the signers of the Declaration.
The other day I gave you this quote from John Jay which is important because he was the first Chief Justice. He said, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
In a Supreme Court ruling in 1882, the Supreme Court said, “…this is a Christian nation.” It’s based upon our thought, not that it’s regenerate, but that its ideas came from the Old Testament and the New Testament. It came from that Judeo-Christian heritage.
From that heritage we have three Divine Institutions. An institution is something that has absolute value. It’s not something culturally derived, but it is something that is built into the framework, the structure, the warp and the woof of human society before the Fall.
Individual Responsibility, Marriage, and Family were the first three. They are all instituted before the Fall, and they are designed to promote productivity and to advance civilization.
They’re designed to provide stability, stability in a society so that as children are produced because, as we saw on Thursday night, this is one of the primary purposes of marriage—to fulfil the divine mandate still in effect: to be fruitful and to multiply.
That was stated in Genesis 1:26–28. It’s restated in the Noahic Covenant in Genesis 9. That purpose for the union of man and woman as stated in those two covenants clearly excludes homosexuality because homosexual couples cannot be fruitful and multiply.
It’s designed to provide a framework of education for the next generation. And it’s important to have input from both men and women.
The next two Divine Institutions are government, the establishment of the judiciary, and the establishment of nations, and that came after the Fall. So that is post-Fall and designed to restrain evil. What we’re primarily focusing on is marriage and family.
Now in Genesis 1:26–28 we see the original creation of man. Genesis 1 down through Genesis 2:4 gives us a summary of each of the seven days of that original creation week.
And so we have a summary here of what happens on the sixth day of the creation of man. God says, “Let Us make man in Our image…”
We need to note that we are as human beings created in the image and likeness of God. This is what gives dignity to every human being, and why we as Christians especially need to treat every human being, whether we agree with them or not, whether we like what they do or not, whether they are criminal or not, we need to treat them with a measure of dignity because every one of them is in the image and likeness of God.
When we get to Genesis 9 and the Noahic Covenant when God establishes the principle of the death penalty and execution for murderers, the reason for that is because a murderer has taken the life of an image bearer. He has performed an act against God by killing someone who’s in the image and likeness of God.
So because someone has been so divorced from reality and has such loss of control that they have gone to that extent, they forfeit their life. But why? It doesn’t matter what this other person has done! It doesn’t matter what their behavior has been unless it has been that which is prescribed by God as so egregious that it deserves the loss of life.
Execution is not murder, which is what the critics say. It’s because every human being is in the image and likeness of God.
God created them according to Genesis 1:27, male and female, male and female—this is huge—that every man, every woman, is equally an image bearer.
But God created them distinct, physiologically distinct so that one needs the other in order to fulfill the mandate to be fruitful and multiply.
Just as their physiological and biological features are complimentary, so too are their soul features, so that while there are numerous ways in which men and women are similar, there are numerous ways in which they are different.
We live in a world today that for the last 50 years has drunk heavily from the fountain that says that men and women are not different except for a few body parts—that their souls, if there’s even someone who believes in an immaterial soul,they would say that their souls are identical. Therefore, men can do anything women can do, and women can do anything men can do.
But men, it’s recognized more and more, that there are some things men don’t do as well as women. They don’t nurture, they don’t have those maternal instincts. Now not every woman does. There are some women who just flat don’t have maternal instincts. That’s a result of the corruption of sin. That’s not a result of the fact that that’s how things ought to be.
Sin that comes into effect in Genesis 3 had a huge impact in corrupting the nature of people that come after that. Some are born with deformities, with inabilities. Some have perhaps soul deformation because of the impact and corruption of sin on their lives.
This would explain why some people seem to have gender confusion, because their soul has been corrupted by a number of things, but there may have been an inherent weakness there that comes—it doesn’t cause that—but that comes as a result of generation.
So as I pointed out earlier, Genesis 8:17, Genesis 9:1, Genesis 9:7 continues this command to be fruitful and to multiply.
Now when we look at that in terms of the purpose of marriage, we see that this purpose is to multiply and fill the earth. This reflects God’s initial creation activity as described in Genesis 1.
After what I believe is a time-gap, a short one, when you have the angelic fall between Genesis 1:1–2, God brought judgment upon the earth so that the earth was without form and void. Void means it’s unfilled. OK, so it’s unformed and unfilled. That’s a pretty good translation for those Hebrew words Tohu wa bohu.
God began to give new form to the earth and began to fill it with creatures. Then He delegates to man the responsibility to continue that process, and they are to multiply and fill the earth. But this is a task that man alone cannot do.
So we get into Genesis 2:18, “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’ ”
So He creates the woman so that man can fulfill that destiny.
We see that not only is marriage to be between one man and one woman, but we can’t stop there. That’s an inadequate definition. That is basically more of a description than a definition.
We see that it is between one man and one woman, but for the purpose of fulfilling God’s mandate to multiply and fill the earth. It’s stated both at the original Creation Covenant in Genesis 1:26–28 and in the Noahic Covenant.
Never did God endorse or authorize polygamy. Polygamy was only practiced by Jacob among the patriarchs. It was practiced by a few in later periods. It was practiced in violation of the Mosaic Law by David and Solomon.
But those who are ignorant of Scripture often bring this up as something that the Bible allowed. God allowed it under permissive will, but that was not His decreed will.
His decreed will, as Jesus states, is to be between one man and one woman.
In Matthew 19, when the Pharisees came to Jesus, they asked Him a question about divorce. Now Jesus doesn’t go to the Mosaic Law. He goes back to creation.
Matthew 19:4, “…Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female?’ ”
What Jesus is doing here is recognizing that you start with the standard, which is the pre-fall condition. That establishes God’s will, God’s ultimate will, and God’s ultimate purpose. God made accommodation to the sinfulness of man within the Mosaic Law, but that standard is male and female, one man and one woman.
He affirms that in Matthew 19:5, also from quoting Genesis 2. So He concludes in Matthew 19:6 there are no longer two but one flesh, “…what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
He holds a high standard of marriage that is not determined by culture, that is not determined by the situations that fall upon corruption of a marriage.
So let me give you four other factors that are part of the reason and purpose of marriage:
- One is to regulate sexual desire. Sex was given for the purpose of procreation, to multiply and fill the earth. But sex can be abused under sin, and it can lead to abuse, primarily of women in terms of sexual assault. It can lead to abuse within marriage, but marriage is given to regulate sexuality for the purpose of procreation.
- Second reason for marriage is that it’s given in order to provide proper balance and expression to both the female nature and the male nature. It regulates and domesticates the male nature; the husband settles down, focuses on caring for his wife and providing for his children and taking on the responsibilities of spiritual leadership within the home. The man who is alone does not focus upon these things.
- The marriage is designed to protect women from those who would seek to take advantage of them, and it gives them a place and a role to utilize the abilities and talents that God has given them within the home as they fulfill the mandate to multiply and to fill the earth, as they have a role and responsibility to train and to teach their children.
- Within the structure of the family, a marriage, which has a male and a female, provides input from both for the child to have a full development.
Think about a modern analogy. You’re at work, most of you work at places where you have men and women, let’s say you have projects to work on. You’re trying to focus on developing something. You get input from men and input from women, and they give different input. Right or wrong, they each look at things from a different perspective. So as a project is brought to completion, by having that input from both men and women, there’s a more well-rounded result.
The same is true for children. If you just have two men or two women, or sadly in the case of single parents where there’s not a male figure to provide a model for male leadership for young men, if there’s not a woman there to provide a model for young women, then you are going to have problems. So husbands and wives are both necessary in order to provide that balance that comes to children.
So what we see from these passages: Six things before we close.
First of all, marriage is two human beings who become one in every way possible. They are united together. The two become one flesh, and that is a term that doesn’t just mean sexual union. It has to do with their soul union as well.
Second, we see that marriage is oriented toward procreation and filling the earth.
Third, we see that marriage comes with an expectation of permanence. Jesus says what God has joined together let no one separate. That provides a stable environment for children, so that they can grow up in a home where there is security and stability, and this will enable them to be more properly oriented to reality and to live better within society where they are not struggling with issues related to insecurity and related insignificance.
Fourth, from a biblical perspective, marriage is an institution created by God for all human beings, not just for Christians. When I went to seminary, one of the questions people would ask was, “If two unbelievers came to you to get married, would you do the wedding?” And you’d have some guy say, “No I wouldn’t do the wedding.” “Well, why not? Marriage is for everyone.” And there’s Christian marriage, but marriage is for every human being based upon Genesis 1 and 2.
A fifth thing is that sin does not negate marriage’s original design. The corruption of Genesis 3 doesn’t change the inherent purpose of marriage as given in Genesis 1 and 2.
And sixth, last of all, marriage between male and female is a picture of Christ and the church. God has chosen that male-female union to be a picture that He uses to depict the relationship of Jesus Christ to the church.
If Christians go with the validity of same-sex marriage, they are blaspheming Jesus Christ, they are blaspheming the church, and they are ripping out the heart of what the New Testament teaches about the body of Christ as the Bride of Christ.
Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”
That love of Christ for the church becomes a pattern in blueprint for the church going all the way back to Genesis 1.
Ephesians 5:26, “That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the Word,
Ephesians 5:27, “that He might present her to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but you should be holy and without blemish.”
So that is in this same way.
In Ephesians 5:28 Paul says, “…husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.”
So any change in the definition of marriage has a gross theological consequence. This is why this is important. This is important to teach. It’s important to understand for a number of reasons, but I think that we all need to understand it better so we can articulate it to our families, to our children, that we can articulate it to those who ask us.
But we need to understand that just because this decision has come down, it hasn’t destroyed anything.
The Lord is still on the throne. It didn’t surprise the Lord. It didn’t surprise Jesus Christ. It didn’t shake up His plan. It’s just a surprise to us. It saddens us, but we’ll get over it. Life will go on. It may not be what we expected, but who made the promise that we get to live out our lives and realize all of our dreams and expectations? No one. Our job is to represent the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Father, we thank You for this opportunity to think through Scripture, to think through these issues, to think through how we as believers are to interact with the culture, with the world around us. It’s not easy. It’s especially difficult, I think, for many of us as heterosexuals who have a certain revulsion and disgust for just the very concept of homosexuality and homosexual union. But we have to recognize that you have that kind of revulsion and disgust in terms of all sin. And that therefore we need to recognize that just as You loved us in such a way that You gave Your unique Son, that You demonstrated Your love for us, and that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. And that we need to model that. We need to put that in our thinking and in our lives towards all who disagree, for we have all sinned and fallen short of Your glory.
Father, we pray that if there’s anyone here this morning unsure of their salvation or uncertain of their eternal destiny, that they would take this opportunity to make that both sure and certain. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sin, whatever it is. That no sin is more of a violation of the righteousness of God than any other sin, whether it’s bitterness, anger, resentment, vindictiveness, or whether it’s homosexuality, or adultery, or pride, or any of these other sins. They all equally violate God’s standards, and they are equally obnoxious to God.
But Christ paid the penalty for sin, so that all we have to do is trust in Him and we have forgiveness. Whatever it is, we experience the reality of that forgiveness in our lives, and we’re given eternal life. All that is necessary is to believe in Christ and you have eternal life.
Father, we thank You for the truth of Your Word, that we can stake our lives on it. And we pray this is Christ’s name. Amen.”