Equal_Sign_question2After reading a post from a young Christian who is choosing the culture’s view of homosexuality and so-called “Gay Marriage,” I got to thinking about how and why young people—our own children, even—could so easily set aside the Scriptural understanding of marriage.

Then I realized… they rejected it because their parents’ already had!

No, we parents haven’t endorsed same-sex marriage, but our understanding of the meaning of marriage has already been exchanged for a meaning that is culturally—not biblically—defined.

Here’s What I Mean…

For at least a generation, it has been commonly acknowledged and practiced that marriage exists for personal fulfillment. Consequently, marriages have been forged in a moment of passion, then dissolved in a moment of frustration. I’m over-simplifying, of course, but you see my point… a person has the right to be married to whomever makes them happy. And conversely, they don’t have to be married to anyone who doesn’t make them happy.

As you probably know, the divorce rate among Christians is not much different than among non-Christians.  So, while Christians should know better, these statistics belie the fact that even Christian marriages are still—too often—based on the culture’s “personal fulfillment” ideal.

We’re Not Teaching the Truth!

What does marriage mean, though? What is it really for? Has the church been teaching it?

I don’t think so…

We give lip-service to the biblical truth that marriage is a picture of Christ and the church, but do we really know what that means? For example… what does sexual union teach us about Christ and the Church? In all my years in a pastor’s home, Bible College, full-time ministry, and listening to thousands of sermons, I have never once heard a biblical answer to that question.

Imaging God…

God made us in His image… and evidently, it took both male and female for God to adequately paint the portrait. Have you or I ever been taught why? I can’t remember ever hearing why.

When God made the man and the woman, you remember what He told them… to be one flesh, and to be fruitful and multiply. These are commands to engage in sexual union. And He told them these things right in the context of making the man and the woman in His own image!

So… exactly how does sexual union contribute to the “Image of God”?

Perhaps a few have heard this answer, but it sure hasn’t been emphasized in our teaching on marriage or sexuality. I believe the answer is this:

God is a “Trinity”—that is, He is a plurality expressed as a unity. Sexual union is a physical picture of that divine unity… it is literally a plurality expressed as a unity.

It’s right there in Genesis 1 & 2… the God who is ONE said “Let US create man in OUR image,” so now in human flesh, the “TWO become ONE.”

Marriage is a Portrait of the Divine

Marriage is not about human-fulfillment. Marriage is not about the pursuit of happiness. Marriage is not about self-expression. It reveals the very nature of God.

Marriage is not about rights. Marriage is not about equality. Marriage is not even about human love. It expresses of the glory of God.

When a man and woman come together in marriage, they reenact the creation of mankind in God’s image as a plurality—male and female. When that man and woman unite sexually, they expand that image by making tangible a picture of the perfect unity of the Godhead.

This… this is the deepest meaning of the sexual union of a man and a woman in marriage.

Have They Rejected This Picture of Marriage?

Today’s generation of young people have not rejected this truth… they’ve simply never heard it.

Today’s generation of young people have accepted our definition of the meaning of marriage—to find personal fulfillment—but they have wondered why we would be restrictive about what sort of personal sexual fulfillment is “OK.”

Today’s generation of young people have embraced our value of human love as the ultimate purpose of marriage… but they also correctly recognize that real love doesn’t just happen between opposite genders.

Do You See How Far We’ve Strayed from This Truth?

It is we who have failed to understand the true meaning of marriage from God’s Word.

It is we who have, instead, embraced the culture’s man-centered definition of marriage.

It is we who have laid aside our glorious calling as Divine Image-Bearers—Male and Female—designed by our maker to physically join in one flesh… and made sex only about ourselves.

So let us not be shocked that our children have mutated our distorted definition of marriage into one that we find offensive.

Perhaps our own distortion of marriage has been offensive to God for a long time already…

A Call to Truth.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the Supreme Court. I don’t know what laws will be enacted regarding these issues. But I do know that we—as the church—need to be restored to God’s Truth.

And regardless of what the law of the land is or becomes, we can embrace God’s calling on our marriages. We can begin to seek out the riches of God’s Glory, revealed in human flesh as described in God’s Word. We can put the truth of God-given gender distinction into practice in our lives.

… And only then will we truly have a voice to speak to the next generation what sex is really about, and what it means to play the God-ordained, gender-determined role in that divine portrait.

— Pastor Ed

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5 Responses to The Marriage Debate… it’s OUR Fault, Church!

  • It seems as I read this I saw in my minds eye the enemies desire of destroying this image and confuse the issue of Man (male and female) being the “Image bearer of the Divine” “Naked and Unashamed”. Perhaps you could finish my thoughts on this.

    • I believe you’re right.

      From the very beginning, the enemy has been envious of humanity’s “image-bearer” status. It is for this reason, I believe, that he even introduced the concept of “naked” to Adam and Eve (there was no such thing as “naked” before the fall! There was only “as God made it/us”). The very first thing that Satan influenced the couple to do—after they had chosen obedience to him instead of God—was to cover their image-bearing bodies.

      Think about it this way…

      Satan, we know, has always wanted to be “like God.” But that honor was bestowed upon man rather than himself. This means that he is going to be tremendously envious of us. No wonder he tackled that “problem” first!

      It’s also interesting to observe that if Satan made the covering of our bodies his top priority, then perhaps the divine image seen in the human body is much more important to God than we tend to think it is!

      — David Martin (aka Pastor Ed)

      • Hi David,

        In reply to your reply to Rick you mention that ‘perhaps the divine image seen in the human body is much more important to God than we tend to think it is!’, do you think that in a way God is dishonored when we unnecessarily wear clothes or better yet God is honored when we do not cover our bodies and display the divine image in our body? Another but related question is if one goes to a textile beach most of the body can be seen on scantily clad women and men, yet that is still considered being covered up. So is the divine image only seen in the completely naked body or is the image of God in the parts that Adam and Eve were ashamed of and most of society today? I understand the being naked and not ashamed is the uncovering of the whole body with nothing to hide or be ashamed of. But to put it bluntly, if my genitals are covered, I am not technically naked. And when we read the account of Adam and Eve of them being naked and not ashamed, we automatically know that the reference is into the covering of their private parts. As you said, it was the enemy that pointed it out to them. We assume (and rightly so) that it was their privates that they immediately covered with fig leaves. (I’m thinking out loud now). Thus, He created man in His image, male and female, and therefore together, as one, in marriage, they bare the image of their Maker.
        You say that in marriage that creation of mankind is reenacted as being made in God’s image as a plurality – male and female. So is the image of God only reflected as the two become one as in marriage or is the image of God also reflected in individual or singular nakedness?
        In other posts on the Biblical Naturist the writer is a naturist by conviction because and I quote, “Being ashamed to allow my body to be seen is an insult to the One who stamped His own likeness there.” Hence, to answer my own question the image of God is reflected in both – in the male and female together but also in the male and female alone since God is also three separate persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

        Klaas

  • Another great post! We, as a society, have entrusted marriage to a lesser authority, the state. We have allowed the state to be the “gate-keeper” (marriage “licenses”), the “guardians” (divorce courts), and the “regulators” (minimum-age, gender, etc) of marriage. We have entrusted what was ordained by God, and belongs rightfully to Him alone, to a lesser “deity”…the state, even though the state has no Biblical basis for this responsibility.

    The church has also forsaken its responsibility to educate its young people in God-given and God-honoring sexuality. Since we have abdicated our responsibility, we have entrusted it to the state, which knows nothing of the truth, and is driven by Satan’s agenda. Hence our young people get instruction in contraception, but not God-given morals. The ONLY sex-education I got from my parents was a five-minute lecture from my dad a few days before I got married…at age 22. By then, I had already been over-exposed to the world’s views (porn). I got no teaching in church then, and haven’t gotten any since…in almost 58 years…in “Reformed” churches.

    I have been in two such “marriages of convenience”, not by my choice, but by theirs. Indeed the “marriage” I am in now is such a marriage. She married me when I had something to offer that she needed, and then she dumped me when she no longer needed what I was able to give her. She left me for another man…who she is in “love” with, and who makes her “happy”.

    Have the marriage vows gone from “Til death do us part” to “Til death or disconvenience do us part”? It certainly seems that way. I still believe in “Til death do us part”, but I am increasingly in the minority.

    I just started another reading through Song of Solomon, which I do at least twice a year. My study Bible is a New Geneva Study Bible, so it has introductory notes for each book. The commentators noted: “Many interpreters, both Jewish and Christian, have regarded the Song as an allegory of God’s love for Israel or the Church”. Even though the commentators go on the explain that the Song belongs with the Wisdom literature, the contemporary view I find is that most preachers treat it as an allegory. That points us squarely back to the church’s un-Biblical views on sexuality, sex and marriage.

    May God give us grace and wisdom to help steer the church back to where it belongs, in God’s camp, not Satan’s camp. It is time we start refuting the lies, and start teaching the truth.

    God bless!

    Steve

  • I understand the words themselves, but am confused by the application thereof.

    Me-unmarried, waiting for marriage.

    In all my youth I’ve seen both happy and unhappy marriages, which seems to not be of consequence, based on the reading above.

    And furthermore my list of qualities to look for in a match also don’t make much sense based on above reference other than that both parties must agree to live by ?what exactly I’m not sure.

    I’ve always thought that both must be believers and that marriage was a need based on our inability or not to remain celibate and faithful to the laws God has given to us as a guide for our lives.

    It seems that from what I read above, that marriage has less to do with our personal abilities to abstain from sin, fulfillment of our carnal desires or happiness.

    But I’m still confused by what exactly this would look like (not physically), as a picture of life to work towards or achieve.

    How would this affect or change my views that marriage as a binding commitment to care for and love one another until death claims one or the other, that both should share faith and common goals in life, and partake in the union of flesh to procreate and to keep one and the other from sinfully lusting after any one else.

    Is it more about our relationship with God, and that by joining our flesh that we are communing more closely with our Creator, by reflecting him in our bond?

    So it means that there’s no difference from what I’ve learned except that our churches have not emphasized enough the need of communication on a personal level with our Creator, to strengthen our relationship with Him above all and through a Godly marriage.

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