Much has been said about marriage lately and I’ve been hesitant to write about it again…if you follow my blog or listen to my sermons you know that I believe marriage is to be between a man and a woman, but why? Why do I believe in what has been called a traditional view of marriage? I believe that way because I accept the Bible as the authoritative Word on every aspect of life. I did not say I perfectly obey it—I said I believe it to be the authoritative Word on every aspect of life.
That means I believe that when the Bible speaks on a subject the Bible is right even when everyone else disagrees. I understand we must interpret the Bible correctly—I know that the Church once used the Bible to teach the earth was flat and that the sun rotated around the earth, but that was not a correct interpretation. There are times when we will have to agree to disagree. For example I know the Bible teaches Jesus is coming back again, but Church has taken the Word of God to prove any number of theories about His return. I am confident in my believe about the cicumstances of His return, but I am not willing to fight over it…there is enough gray around the circumstances of His coming to keep me from being dogmatic. But what about marriage? Is it black and white or is it gray? I would suggest the Bible is very black and white about marriage and because it is we, who are Christians, must accept what it says as our authority on the subject. What does the Bible say?
I want to follow a simple outline I came across not long ago. When it comes to marriage we must first understand this—God ordained it. Before there was a government, before there was a Supreme Court, and before there were federal judges to weigh in with their opinion God ordained marriage.
We find the first marriage in the second chapter of the Bible. Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” That is simple and yet profound. It is straightforward. It tells us that the very first marriage was arranged by God and ordained by God and blessed by God. It also tells us that in God’s view marriage was between a man and a woman. God ordained it.
Secondly, Jesus affirmed it. The other day I was speaking with a friend in Publix. He brought up my view of marriage and said he disagreed and then he asked, “What would Jesus do?” We know exactly what Jesus thought about marriage because Jesus told us what He believed about marriage.
In Matthew 19 Jesus was asked about divorce and He answered, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two of them shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Jesus went to the source—He went to the passage in Genesis and used it to show God’s view of marriage. When Jesus spoke on marriage He did so with this understanding—marriage was between a man and a woman.
When Jimmy Carter or anyone else says Jesus would approve of a different view of marriage than expressed in the Bible they are wrong. Jesus was God and the Bible is His Word—both the Old and the New Testaments are His Word and they were inspired by His Holy Spirit. God ordained it and Jesus affirmed it.
Finally, Paul explained it. Paul was an apostle and in many ways he was the theologian of the early church. Every word he wrote in the New Testament is from the Holy Spirit. He was inspired in his writings so when we read Paul we are reading the Word of God. What did Paul say about marriage? In 1 Corinthians 7 he spoke of marriage and discussed marriage, divorce, abandonment, and remarriage. One thing is certain—in 1 Corinthians 7 Paul spoke of marriage as that which is between a man and a woman. He spoke of the wife not separating from her husband and the brother who has a wife and the woman who has a husband. He explained some of the finer points of marriage, but he did so in the context of marriage as being between a man and a woman.
In Ephesians 5 he speaks of being filled with the Spirit and talks about that in the context of marriage. He speaks to the wives in the context of living with their husbands and of husbands in the context of living with their wives…in verse 31 he quotes from the same passage in Genesis and then in verse 32 adds, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”
We could go to other passages written by Moses or other writers, but throughout the Bible marriage is seen in one context and one context only—that which is between a man and a woman. You simply cannot rightly divide the Word of God and come to any other conclusion.
I understand the emotional arguments and I understand the legal arguments, but for the Christian, the Bible is our authority and we must accept what God ordained, what Jesus affirmed, and what Paul explained as being the final word on any subject.
So, what God ordained, what Jesus affirmed, and what Paul explained is the final word and the Supreme Court does not get to re-define it. We live in a country where another view of marriage is now legal, but that doesn’t make it right. We live in a world where another view of marriage is now accepted, but if we are to be children of God and if we are to obey Him we must accept His Word as our authority and He simply says marriage is that which is between one man and one woman and they are to be one flesh for life. Anything else is simply neither Biblical nor Christian.