Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Five Biblical Reasons To Support Traditional Marriage

I continue my series here on why I support the traditional view of marriage. Here's a link to my first post: "What Is Marriage?"

As a Christian, I look at the Bible as the final authority on issues that might affect my life and the society around me. It is the bedrock of my belief, and of countless millions around the world. Though this holiest of books has been subject to scorn and ridicule through the ages, it's truths have stood the test of time for millennia, while those who disparaged it have died and faded into obscurity. 

Unfortunately, many who profess the name of Christ don't know what the book that was written of Him even says. Because of this, they are wide open to misinformation about the truths of God's word, and they often fall pray to erroneous interpretations of it in order to fit better into the society around them. This is never more true than the issue of marriage.

Following are five reasons that I believe that the bible explicitly teaches the traditional view of marriage...that is, that marriage is and can only be a union of a man and a woman:
1. Marriage is from the very beginning of the Old Testament clearly defined as the union of a man and a woman. After God created Eve to be a companion alongside Adam, 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." (Genesis 2:23, 24)
This first mention of marriage in the Bible clearly teaches that it is the joining (both physically and spiritually) of a man and a woman.  It is to be a covenant relationship (see Malachi 2:14) which is permanent and exclusive.  

2. When God gave His law to Moses and His people Israel, He explicitly excluded every sexual relationship outside of marriage.

If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death” Lev. 20: 10

“If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.” Lev 20:13
You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination” Lev.18:22 
The argument frequently comes up at this point that we are not under the Mosaic code now and these verses don't apply to us today, any more than the Jewish prohibitions against eating pork or shellfish. However, the truth is that while Christ has set us free from the ceremonial and civil aspects of the Jewish law, the moral components of the law are still in effect today for all people. As a matter of fact, the moral components of the Mosaic law (especially the Ten Commandments, but also other verses as those listed above) form the basis of our legal system in America and that of many other countries. The bottom line is that these verses and many other Old Testament verses clearly show God's original intent for marriage to be exclusively between a man and woman for life. (For a fuller discussion of these points, read this excellent article.)
 3. In the New Testement, Jesus affirmed Genesis 2:23, 24 as God's intention for marriage to be male/female. Jesus did this in response to the Pharisees question regarding divorce:
 ...“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.” (Matthew 19:5, 6)
The phrase “be joined to” (often translated “cleave”) is from the Greek word “Kollao” which means “to join fast together” or “to glue”. This passage shows not only God's intention that marriage be between a man and a woman, but His expectation that it be permanent. As Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi puts it:

“In the sight of God, cleaving means wholehearted commitment which spills over to every area of our being. It means to be permanently glued together rather than temporarily taped together. You can separate two pieces of wood taped together, but you cannot separate without great damage two pieces of wood glued together. In fact, two pieces of wood glued together become not only inseparable, but also much stronger than if they were taped together.”

As a side note (and something I plan to get into in future articles), very few homosexual relationships today or in any other age have featured this type of cleaving, which is permanent and exclusive. As a matter of fact, most don't even see this as something to be desired in their relationship.  (See this article by Dr. Timothy Daily)
 4. Paul repeatedly affirms male/female marriage in his letters as the only sexual relationship acceptable to God.
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. (Romans 1:26, 27)
 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders...will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ( I Cor. 6: 9-11)
  ...(the) law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers  and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching...” (I Timothy 1:9, 10)
 These and other New Testament verses completely disallow homosexual relationships as well as any type of adulterous or extra-marital relationships. Yes, it is absolutely true that if any of these relationships have been in our past and we have since come to Christ, we are washed, sanctified and justified from those sins just as we are from any other sin. Praise the Lord!  However, any attempt to portray these relationships as anything other than sinful is certainly not biblical.
 5. Perhaps most importantly, marriage in the Bible is a portrait of Christ and His church, which is His bride:
 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 church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church...” (Ephesians 5:25-29)
 In this beautiful and important passage, Paul shows the deeper meaning of marriage. God didn't just create marriage only for procreation and enjoyment (although it is certainly for those things as well). He created marriage to be a window into God's heart for His people, the church. Those who have committed themselves to Christ in a covenant relationship are indeed Christ's betrothed, and look for the day in which that marriage is finally consummated.
  Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. (Rev. 19:7)
 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev. 21:2)
 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” (Rev. 21: 9)

This relationship that we have with Christ here on earth as Christians is only a foretaste of the richer marital relationship we will have with Him in heaven. We are now betrothed to Him as a bride is to her bridegroom. One day, we will know him completely and fully as our husband. What a day that will be!





To go to the next article in the series, click below:
Five Secular Reasons To Support Traditional Marriage-Part 1

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