What is Christian marriage?
There has been great controversy these days about marriage. In Indiana we passed RFRA amid accusations that discrimination was certain for some if it passed, and others if it did not. The Supreme Court ruled gay marriage to be the law of the land, despite the fact that they are not supposed to make law. Accusations of hatred have flown around us like mosquitos at dusk, most under the assumption that disagreement is necessarily accompanied by hate.
The issue ultimately revolves around the definition of marriage. Government has, in the past, defined marriage as between a man and woman, seeing in that union the ability to govern from within the family, as well as the means by which society grows through the gift of children. Now the definition has been broadened simply to include two people who love each other. There has been discussion about whether to keep the old definition of marriage, and to make a distinction of “civil unions” available to those in the LBGT community. Marriage, for the government, is basically defined as a civil union. It is a legal contract between two people.
Christian marriage, however is something different. It is the life-long union of a man and woman, made by God as a reflection of the loving relationship He has with us and blessed with the gift of children. This is taught widely in the Bible, but is best understood when we examine two places in Scripture: Genesis 2:18-24 and Ephesians 5:21-33.
In Genesis 2 God points out that it is not good that man be alone and that he needs a suitable helper. God causes Adam to fall asleep and takes a rib from his side with which He makes the woman (Eve). God then reunites them as one flesh by marrying them to each other. He creates them different to compliment and complete each other.
In Ephesians 5 God uses the reality of the relationship between Jesus and the Church as the model for husbands and wives to follow in their calling to each other. Husbands are called to love their wives using the sacrificial love Jesus showed when He died for our sins on the cross. Wives are called to submit to the husband’s loving leadership as the Church receives the sacrificial love of Jesus. Husbands lead by loving their wives sacrificially, and wives receive that and respond back in showing love using their unique, wondrous gifts.
Christians cannot accept any definition of marriage other than the one defined in those two Biblical texts. God is the author of marriage and we will remain faithful to what He has made. While Christians must, at times, oppose what society does, the call of Christians is to primarily promote the truth. In defining Christian marriage, we mainly assert what we are for.
· We are for a husband and wife being joined together by God in the one flesh relationship He defines as marriage.
· We are for husbands sacrificially loving their wives in thanks to God for the love Jesus demonstrated when He died and rose to save the world.
· We are for wives receiving the love of their husbands and responding in love as the Church responds in love to Christ.
· We are for marriages lived, not out of obligation of law, but out of genuine love for each other as we have been loved by God.
· We are for husbands who are the heads of their homes, following the words of Jesus who defined leadership when He said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
· We are for couples living in marriage not because they “have to” do things for each other, but because they have the privilege of loving this precious gift of God with the love He gave us in Christ.
· We are for children being born as a product of the love of their parents.
· We are for parents loving their children sacrificially, applying the Law and Gospel correctly and lovingly.
· We are for fathers who see our heavenly Father as the model to follow in how to love their children.
· We are for mothers who model the Church as the means by which God’s children are born and nurtured.
· We are for families whose home is a place of refuge, education, love and care.
· We are for families who see their daily lives as a calling, not a contract.
· We are for families that share the truth about marriage in love, and encourage others to understand the love of Jesus that defines our homes and relationships
May God make, define, and bless our homes.
For a devotion on this subject see: http://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20150806