Here is my newsletter article for Summer 2014 at Midlane Park ARP Church.
This past week my wife and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. Our anniversary is on June 30, the same day as another couple in the congregation. And I was told that for another couple, June 29th was their anniversary! Undoubtedly many couples were celebrating at roughly the same time we were.
Marriage seems to have taken its lumps recently, however. “Traditional marriage” (as it is sometimes called) has been challenged recently, and with the decision of a federal judge, we are about to feel the pinch even here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The problem goes back much further than just recent history, however.
In Matthew 19, the Pharisees ask Jesus a question about divorce, and He responds with these words:
“Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female,and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (vv. 4-7)
Note what Jesus says here about marriage: its foundation is not based upon culture or history or tradition or government, but upon God’s own design. He, as the Creator, made all things (including human beings), and He designed marriage to be between one man and one woman. Jesus quotes from Genesis 2, which is significant, because this takes place before man’s fall into sin in Genesis 3. The effects of sin can be seen everywhere, and marriage is no exception. But God’s design in the beginning for marriage was not only for it to be permanent (answering the question about divorce), but also between one man and one woman.
These matters are not only important for the way in which our modern society functions. Marriage is used in Ephesians 5 to express the relationship between Christ and the church:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,that He might present to Himself the churchin all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. (vv. 25-27)
Those words make no sense outside of a biblical framework. Those words must be understood in light of the foundation truth of Genesis 2. Rest assured, such an assertion will be deemed “intolerant” by many in our day. But we should not – we must not – shy away from the truth of the gospel.
And that is the truth and message we want to convey: Jesus shows us what true love really looks like. Our sins make us ugly and hideous and repulsive, but He gave Himself up for His beloved bride, the church, so that she would be beautiful and blameless. We do not define love by looking to ourselves and our own desires, whatever they might be. We see love shown to us in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Him we are loved with an everlasting love. In Him we have a true love that knows no end.