Bible-believing, Bible-honoring Christians are alarmed at the rapid deconstruction of marriage in our land, and rightly so. Within one lifetime our culture has rushed headlong into an explosive increase in pre-marital sex, babies born out of wedlock, adultery, abortion, divorce, single-parent homes, and now same-sex relationships.
Many voices who oppose these deadly experiments with family have made their case based on practical matters. Family is vital, they say, because it is the fundamental institution upon which all other institutions in a society are constructed.
One man and one woman committed to one another for life is the design that has been the foundation of communities and countries for thousands of years. Why? Because this model produces the greatest percentage of healthy productive citizens. Children are more secure, capable and productive when raised by their biological parents.
Children who are not raised by their biological parents are at much greater risk for poverty, illness, crime, drug abuse and yet another generation of the same. As a result, broken families put enormous pressure on every important institution in the community.
Schools, churches, businesses and governments all suffer when the family structure suffers. These vital institutions are strengthened when the family is healthy. Healthy families provide a new generation ready to face a world full of challenges and opportunities.
So, healthy families strengthen the community. Broken families hurt the community. This is reason enough that we should protect the traditional model of family, not experiment with it.
These practical insights are accurate and helpful, but they are only part of the marriage story. Marriage and family are much bigger than local communities and societal institutions. Christians aim too low when we pursue these matters alone, important as they are.
Marriage is a spiritual institution that serves God’s kingdom as well as man’s societies. In the Bible we learn that Christian marriage is meant to be a living parable of the love relationship between Christ and his church.
Reflecting God’s love for his people is the high calling for our marriages. We cannot, we dare not, think that simply because we have committed heterosexual marriages we have somehow fulfilled our Lord’s calling in our marriages. We must aim higher.
Wives submit to your husbands as the church submits to Christ. Husbands love your wives as Jesus loves the church, willing to sacrifice everything for her. This is a great mystery. This is our great task.
To reflect God’s love for his people in our daily lives with our spouses is pretty lofty stuff. How do we put hands and feet on such a grand idea?
First, we must know God’s truth about marriage well. Wisdom comes from devotion to God’s word. Support a church family where biblical truth is taught and lived.
Second, we must accept God’s truth about marriage. As Christians, our marriages are not ours alone. Even our relationships with our spouses are part of our walk and witness as followers of Jesus Christ. Confess Jesus as Lord of everything you do.
Finally, we need the power to live in a way that proclaims God’s love for his people. Christian marriage is counter-cultural and counter-intuitive. It is beyond our natural abilities. We need more than human effort in order to succeed.
To live up to the high calling of Christian marriage we must have the powerful presence of God’s Spirit in our lives. Salvation is not the end of Christianity. The Christian life is not meant to be one of spiritual stagnation or backsliding, but one of spiritual growth and victory.
Let us aim higher in our marriages. Let us be devoted to the full measure of God’s design for our homes.
Richard Foster, Grace Baptist Church, April 2015
Published in Camden News, May 1, 2015