Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 20, 2015
In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Genesis 1:27-28
I feel disappointed, angry and hopeful by the debate in our country over the definition of marriage. Disappointed in Christian marriages (mine included) the last 40 years for not being a better example of a Christ honoring relationship. Angry with the majority of our citizens (many Christians) who are repurposing God’s purpose for marriage. Hopeful for the opportunity Jesus followers have to love like Jesus in the middle of opposition to His moral code while living what we believe by modeling grace filled marriages that men and women would aspire to.
Our heavenly Father’s heart of love desires to bless male and female—both created in His image. However, if we redefine marriage other than a wife and a husband in holy matrimony—we create an unholy ritual, expedient for selfish personal gain. Marriage without the distinctive of one man and one woman is not marriage at all. Call it a civil union approved by the state, but do not call it a marriage blessed by Almighty God. Marriage is a covenant before God, between a man and a woman. The marriage of a man and woman is built on the image of holy God.
Christ used the imagery of a man and woman leaving their parents and cleaving to one another in marriage. Marriage defined as a man or woman was never in question for our Lord. He attended a wedding and blessed it with His presence and His present of abundant wine. Marriage for Jesus was the timeless, divinely ordained institution of a man and woman exclusively committed to each other for a lifetime of growing deeper in love with one other. Just as we are faithful to Christ throughout our life, we seek to be faithful to our husband or wife. Marriage is a picture of the oneness of God’s love and an opportunity for a man and woman to become one in Christ’s love.
“He [Jesus] replied, Have you never read that He Who made them from the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be united firmly (joined inseparably) 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 put asunder (separate)” (Matthew 19:4-6, Amplified Bible).
Paul’s challenge (Ephesians 5:21-33) for a husband to “give himself up” for his wife, is exactly the sacrificial love Jesus had for the church when He gave up His life on the cross. God knows the humility of a man and woman in an unselfish monogamous relationship makes marriage work. They serve each other and their unique temperaments are God’s design for one another. Children deserve a male dad and a female mom. They need parents who love them, Jesus and each other. Marriage for Paul is mutual submission between husband and wife for Christ’s sake.
John uses the imagery of bride and bridegroom to illustrate our personal relationship with Jesus (John 3:28-30, The Voice). We dishonor our Savior and mock marriage when we change his word picture of how holy matrimony reflects our salvation and perfect union with Christ. Just as we fall in love with Christ, so we love our wife or husband. Marriage is a journey with Jesus.
Most of all, in the middle of the marriage debate, let’s model our marriages under Christ’s authority—full of humility and love. Let’s ask God’s mercy and forgiveness for misrepresenting His marriage plan. Let’s hope and pray God’s marriage purpose becomes so real in our marriages it is held and revered as the standard for all marriages to become image bearers of God.
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, have mercy on us for seeking to repurpose Your purpose for marriage.
Post/Tweet this today: Marriage is a covenant before God, between a man and a woman. #marriagedefined #wisdomhunters
Additional Resource: 4 minute music video- Matthew West: When I Say I Do
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