Held in honour

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
Hebrews 13:4

I am a happily married hetrosexual man and I am passionate about marriage. Not just my own marriage, but marriage everywhere. I hold marriage in high esteem. Marriage is to be honoured and respected. It is to be the pinnicle of human relationships because it was the first human relationship. Marriage takes priority and precedence over every other human relationship. That is why society trives on marriage.

Society needs marriage to be held in high honour. This isn’t just for the good of the religious bunch, but for the good of all. When society sees marriage as something costly, important and precious, society does something good for itself. The fact is that marriage represents and produces many good benefits – the merging of resources, safety and security for women, the possibility of reproduction, protection and gender role modeling for children, etc.

They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Mark 10:4-9

In Mark 10, Jesus defends marriage against a teaching that is threatening to devalue marriage – divorce. It was a big deal in those days because there was a big debate going on between two Jewish schools of thought about whether divorce was lawful/permitted. Divorce is the nemesis of marriage, it is anti marriage and divorce is still a big deal today, it hurts the people involved and their children. To Jesus, the problem of divorce wasn’t whether it was lawful or not. It had to do with the design of marriage. 

This is what Jesus says of marriage:

  • God’s creation of distinct male and female designs (biologically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) form the basis for marriage (Mark 10:6).
  • Marriage is the forming of one flesh (Mark 10:8) – as Adam aptly proclaimed over Eve, “bones of my bones, flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23).
  • This new flesh is to the exclusion of others, even previous family (Mark 10:7).
  • Marriage is the work (a gift) of God. Since it is God who joins together, then only God can pull apart – by death (Mark 10:9; Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:7).

In answering the question, Jesus showed that it wasn’t a matter of whether divorce was allowed, it was a matter of how marriage was designed. Divorce was never a part of that design, it was a later concession because of man’s sinfulness. It still is a concession, it was never a part of plan. God’s feelings towards broken marriages is not neutral, it is grief. It is sadness.

Notice that Jesus didn’t compromise or side line marriage. Jesus honoured marriage. He held marriage in high esteem, as something precious and important. He did it by reiterating and upholding God’s design for marriage, the what, how and why of the design. Let me rephrase that and say it again: Jesus honoured God’s design and definition of marriage.

Marriage, means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
Marriage Act 1961 (Australia)

Why should we uphold the Marriage Act in Australia as it stands? Because it upholds God’s design for marriage, which is good for all of society. Laws are for the good of society – to protect society and individuals within society. Why should we stand against marriage equality or homosexual marriage? The fact is that homosexual marriage is an oxymoron. Marriage requires the union of distinctly different things (specifically gender and sexual orientation), homo means same. And more importantly, it threatens to dishonour marriage.

If you are a Christian and wondering what you should do in the face of the call for Marriage Equality, here’s the answer to your question: do what Jesus did. He met their brokenness with truth and grace. He didn’t compromise, nor did he condemn. There are more practical things that we can all do which I’ll blog in the coming days.