The Marriage Debate… it’s OUR Fault, Church!
After 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.
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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