What does the Bible actually say about marriage?

marriage

Once we have agreed to allow God to be the authority that He is, and let Him write the moral laws which will ultimately govern us all, we must make every effort to know Him, to know His Word and let Him be God.  The creator of the universe, who will judge us all at the end of time, has given us a beautiful and extensive book by which we can know Him, His character, what He wants out of us, and how we are to live.  Do you not think we should make every effort to know it?  Or do you think He will allow us to plead ignorance at the judgment seat?

Marriage.  When God created the world He spent six days creating the land, the sea, the planets, the animals, the foliage, and lastly He created man and woman.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”  Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.  The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.  So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.  The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.  The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

– Gen 2.18-24

This is what theologians call the “created order”.  God created man, and then God paraded all of the animals and living creatures before him to show that there was no other creation like man.  Every living creature had a male and female to procreate, and there was no creature with whom Adam could communicate or reproduce.  Thus, God created a suitable helper, a partner, a compliment:  the woman.  And it is because of this created order that men and women must leave behind their parents when they are ready to marry.  This is a familial structure, the two were made to compliment one another, and the two work together to reproduce.  The two create a family, separate from their parents, the two are now one.  They are two halves that compliment one another to make a whole.

When the Pharisees tried to put Jesus on the spot about divorce, He referenced this created order and the heart of God in marriage:

And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 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 shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

– Matt 19.2-6

The marital union through Scripture is defined and understood to be between a man and woman.  The Old Testament Law outlined consequences for anything other than sexual relations between a man and woman within the confines of marriage: homosexuality (Lev 18.22), sex with an animal (Lev 18.23), and sex outside of marriage (Lev 18.20).  Marriage was clearly defined from the beginning, and all possible diversions from the definition were clearly defined, judged and dealt with.  This is why Jesus did not have to answer these types of questions about sexuality.  Sometimes people will argue that Jesus did not talk about homosexuality directly, and thus attempt to make an argument from silence that it is acceptable.  But Jesus upheld all of the Law, and that is why the Pharisees (the keepers of the Law) attempted to trick Him up in His keeping and teaching of the Law, namely on divorce and keeping the Sabbath.  They had added traditions and nuances to the Law, and tested Jesus about them.  But Jesus did in fact reference the created order, as we already saw, and therefore to argue that He was silent on the topic is simply wrong.  He assumed that people understood the Law and heart of God, and He endorsed marriage to a stronger covenant than had previously been held.  Some people will also try to say that homosexuality is fine when the two are committed to one another in marriage, that the problem is promiscuity.  But this goes against the created order which God formed and Jesus upheld.

The rest of the New Testament teaches us to value and esteem marriage highly.  Defiling the marriage bed by having sex before marriage, having sex with the same gender, and having sex with a married person are all grievous sins that God will judge.

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”

– Heb 13.4

Paul teaches husbands and wives how to act within the marital bond in Ephesians 5, 1 Corinthians 6, 1 Corinthians 7 and 1 Peter 3.  He also teaches us that part of the downward spiral of culture when it has walked away from the authority of Scripture is to give in to unbliblcal sexual desires:

“For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”

– Rom 1.26-27

Homosexual tendencies are not a new phenomenon.  The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were marked by homosexuality well before God even gave the Old Testament Law!  This was thousands of years ago.  It is actually from where we get the term sodomy.  Romans and 1 Corinthians also speak of homosexuality as the norm, as well, which was two thousand years ago.  Thus we cannot argue that the Bible is simply out of date or old fashioned.  There is nothing new under the sun (Ecc 1.9, 1 Cor 10.13).

This is simply what the Bible says about marriage.  When we come to God for salvation, we must submit to Him as King, as God, as Lord over our lives.  That means that we purposefully and intentionally stop doing the things that God calls sin.  All of us will have many, many things that we must stop partaking in.  For some it will be gossip, for some it will be pride, for some it will be sleeping and living with a boyfriend/girlfriend, and for some it will be homosexuality.  We are not God and we do not get to make the rules.  But God is gracious and redeems us from all walks of life, and from all types of sin.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

– 1 Cor 6.9-11

If you do not believe in the God of the Bible, and if you do not submit to the Bible as your authority, then that is fine.  But the United States government did not create marriage, God did.  And the United States government does not have the ability to rewrite Scripture.  We, as Christians, however, should not try to force the United States government or people who do not submit to Jesus as Lord to act like Christians.  That is futile.  And there is a much bigger issue on the table, and that is their salvation.

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