Men want all the privileges of marriage without the responsibility.
God intends and expects marriage to be a lifetime commitment between a man and a woman, based on the principles of biblical love. The relationship between Jesus Christ and His church is the supreme example of the committed love that a husband and wife are to follow in their relationship with each other.
As God made man in His own image, so He made earthly marriage in the image of His own eternal marriage with His people.
Sexuality in the context of heterosexual marriage is not only good, but exclusively good. Only heterosexual marriage relationships can show forth the complementary design of men and women. According to the apostle Paul, one of the purposes of marriage is to show forth the mystery of Christ and the church (Eph. 5:32). If marriage can be construed as a man and a man or a woman and a woman, what is left of the glorious mystery of Christ and the church? We are left with only Christ and Christ or church and church.
Homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung and Eric Redmond taken from Don’t Call it a Comeback, edited by Kevin DeYoung, copyright 2011, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org. Pages 169-170. Get this book!
Marriage has all kinds of purposes: it provides the environment in which children may be born and properly reared. It provides the context in which the sexual instincts can be exercised in a God-intended way. But first and foremost, Genesis teaches us, it provides a very special friendship. In marriage a man and a woman can become the best of friends, knowing each other to such a depth that only God knows them better! This, too, is a gift from the Creator.
We [should not] make the mistake of thinking that marriage will provide the ultimate satisfaction for which we all hunger. To assume so would be to be guilty of blasphemy. Only God satisfies the hungry heart. Marriage is but one of the channels He uses to enable us to taste how deeply satisfying His thirst-quenching grace can be.
Marriage matters…because God created it, not society, and therefore God as God alone defines it. It matters because it’s a picture of God’s gospel love, hard-wired into creation. Change or redefine marriage, and you’ve gone a long way toward defacing and obscuring one of the most significant common-grace pointers to the love of God in Christ.
Marriage is the God-appointed and legitimate union of man and woman in the hope of having children or at least for the purpose of avoiding fornication and sin and living to the glory of God.
Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. It is a sacred mystery. In fact, the sacredness of Christ’s church is linked to the sacredness of marriage. Christ is the heavenly Bridegroom and the church is His bride (Revelation 21:9). Marriage illustrates this union. The husband is called to be Christlike in his love for his wife because this protects the sacredness of the divine object lesson. The Christian husband therefore displays what he thinks of Christ by the way he treats his wife. And marriage itself is a sacred institution because of what it illustrates.
It is commonly accepted among men today that the great danger is to get married too early. The thought of marriage is approached with fear and trepidation, with the threat of what the man will lose mainly in mind. But in the view of Genesis 2 – and in our experience in ministering to singles – the greater danger is what will happen to the man if he doesn’t marry. It is not good for a single man to develop selfish and otherwise sinful habits. It is not good for a man to grow older without the sanctifying influences of a wife and children. It is not good for a man to battle with sexual frustrations. (The same things might be said about a woman, too, but the Bible is specifically talking here about the man.) What is good for a man is to seek a relationship that will blossom into marriage – the sooner in adult life, the better (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
Unbeknownst to the people of Moses’ day (it was a ‘mystery’), marriage was designed by God from the beginning to be a picture or parable of the relationship between Christ and the church. Back when God was planning what marriage would be like, He planned it for this great purpose: it would give a beautiful earthly picture of the relationship that would someday come about between Christ and His church. This was not known to people for many generations, and that is why Paul can call it a ‘mystery.’ But now in the New Testament age Paul reveals this mystery, and it is amazing. This means that when Paul wanted to tell the Ephesians about marriage, he did not just hunt around for a helpful analogy and suddenly think that “Christ and the church” might be a good teaching illustration. No, it was much more fundamental than that: Paul saw that when God designed the original marriage, He already had Christ and the church in mind. This is one of God’s great purposes in marriage: to picture the relationship between Christ and His redeemed people forever! (George Knight)
God patterned marriage purposefully after the relationship between His Son and the church, which He planned from eternity. And therefore marriage is a mystery; it contains and conceals a meaning far greater than what we see on the outside. What God has joined together in marriage is to be a reflection of the union between the Son of God and His bride the church. Those of us who are married need to ponder again and again how mysterious and wonderful it is that we are granted by God the privilege to image forth stupendous divine realities infinitely bigger and greater than ourselves.
The ultimate thing we can say about marriage is that it exists for God’s glory. That is, it exists to display God. Now we see how: Marriage is patterned after Christ’s covenant relationship to His redeemed people, the church. And therefore, the highest meaning and the most ultimate purpose of marriage is to put the covenant relationship of Christ and His church on display. That is why marriage exists. If you are married, that is why you are married. If you hope to be, that should be your dream.
The wonder of marriage is woven into the wonder of the gospel of the cross of Christ, and the message of the cross is foolishness to the natural man, and so the meaning of marriage is foolishness to the natural man (1 Cor. 2:14).
Marriage is for making children into disciples of Jesus. Here the focus shifts. This purpose of marriage is not merely to add more bodies to the planet. The point is to increase the number of followers of Jesus on the planet… God’s purpose in making marriage the place to have children was never merely to fill the earth with people, but to fill the earth with worshippers of the true God… When the focus of marriage becomes “Make children disciples of Jesus,” the meaning of marriage in relation to children is not mainly “Make them,” but “Make them disciples.” And the latter can happen even where the former doesn’t.
Very soon the shadow will give way to Reality. The partial will pass into the Perfect. The foretaste will lead to the Banquet. The troubled path will end in Paradise. A hundred candle-lit evenings will come to their consummation in the marriage supper of the Lamb. And this momentary marriage will be swallowed up by Life. Christ will be all and in all. And the purpose of marriage will be complete.
From the moment marriage was instituted, God aimed to give the world an illustration of the gospel. Just as a photograph represents a person or an event at a particular point in history, marriage was designed by God to reflect a person and an event at the most pivotal point in history. Marriage, according to Ephesians 5, pictures Christ and the church. It is a living portrait drawn by a divine Painter who wants the world to know that He loves His people so much that He has sent His Son to die for their sins. In the picture of marriage, God intends to portray Christ’s love for the church and the church’s love for Christ on the canvas of human culture.
As husbands sacrifice their lives for the sake of their wives – loving, leading, serving, protecting, and providing for them – the world gets a glimpse of God’s grace. Sinners see that Christ has gone to a cross where He suffered, bled, and died for them so that they could experience eternal salvation through submission to Him. They also see in a wife’s relationship with her husband that such submission isn’t a burden to bear. Marriage onlookers observe a wife joyfully and continually experiencing her husband’s sacrificial love for her and then gladly and spontaneously submitting in selfless love to him. In this visible representation of the gospel, the world realizes that following Christ isn’t a matter of forced duty. Instead, it’s a means to full, eternal, and absolute delight.
Ultimately, all of this is glorifying to God. He has sent His Son to die for sinners, and He has set up marriage to reflect that reality. When we understand this, we realize that marriage exists even more for God than it does for us. God has ultimately designed marriage not to satisfy our needs but to display His glory in the gospel. When we realize this, we recognize that if we want to declare the gospel, we must defend marriage.
God’s rules regarding marriage are not arbitrary. Everything in human marriage is to be, Ephesians 5:25, “with reference to Christ and the church.” That’s why within marriage there are male and female roles – whereby the husband shows Christ and the wife shows the church. That’s why God forbids divorce – because Jesus would never leave us nor would we desire to leave Him. That’s why sex before marriage is wrong – because the joining of us and Christ only happened after a covenant was made. That’s why marriage in God’s economy is between one man and one woman – because Jesus didn’t marry Himself nor did the church marry herself. That’s why married children leave their parents to form a new union – because the union with Christ is to be dominating over all other relationships. That’s why within marriage couples now become one flesh – because we are in Christ and He is in us. That’s why adultery is wrong – because God would never cheat on us nor should we spiritually cheat on Him by running after other gods.
God’s primary purpose of marriage is to image forth Christ’s marriage to the church (the bride of Christ) (Eph. 5:32). That’s why everything we see as it pertains to marriage falls within this paradigm. God hates divorce – Malachi 2:16 – why? Because Jesus would never divorce His church and the church would never divorce Jesus. Couples are “one flesh” in marriage, why? Because we are one in union with Christ. Men lead their wives, how? Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Wives follow their husbands, why? Ephesians 5:24, “But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.” Why no adultery? Would we cheat on Christ by running after other gods? Why no fornication? Do we share intimacy with Christ before we come to Him in spiritual marriage? Why no polygamy or homosexuality? Because marriage reflects the union between Christ and the church – one man, one woman. In a nutshell, our marriages are to show the world the Gospel. When people observe our loving and committed relationships, they are to see Jesus and the church.
Marriage is all of God’s doing. It is His institution, His definition of one man and one woman and His mysterious weaving of two people together as one. Marriage is from Him. Marriage is through Him. And marriage is for Him. The primary purpose of marriage is that it exists to display His glory. The primary purpose of marriage is to put on centerstage the relationship that He in Jesus Christ has for His bride, the church. Marriage is a visual illustration of the Gospel.
Marriage an earthly institution. It is a very good institution, but it is earthly, temporary in that is applies only to life in this world. Marriage is a sign to point to something far greater. So, when the fullness of time comes and evangelism ceases and we are perfectly redeemed and we are living in the reality of the gospel promises, there is no longer any need for the sign. We have already arrived at the destination.
Why is our union with our spouse the most important human relationship? Do we dare assume another human relationship is more important than our union with Christ which marriage represents? What’s wrong with adultery? Does that display the covenant fidelity that God has with His people? What’s wrong with fornication? Does intimacy with Christ happen before we have a covenant relationship with Christ? What’s wrong with homosexual or polygamous so-called marriages? Do those display Christ and His bride? Why do we have marital roles within marriage? Does the church lead Christ or does Christ lovingly and sacrificially lead the church? Why must spouses love and forgive one another? Does Christ do any less for the church? Why does God forbid divorce? Does Christ divorce the church or the church divorce Christ?