God’s Design for Marriage

The SCOTUS ruling on California’s Proposition 8 and DOMA continues to spark fierce controversy, and it’s now, more than ever, important for the Christian to understand what the Bible says about the Christian, homosexuality, and the government.

Wedding Bands

Wedding Bands

This is the second of three blogs that ParkingSpace23 will be writing: (1) The Bible and Homosexuality; (2) God’s Design for Marriage; (3) The Christian, Homosexuality, and Government.

As discussed in the previous blog, homosexuality is a sin because the Word of God defines it as such. For those who struggle with homosexuality, there is hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 6:9-11). Part of that hope rests in understanding what a God-honoring marriage looks like.

What is God’s Design for Marriage?

God clearly mandates that marriage is only between a man and a woman:

  • This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh (Gen 2:24)
  • He also said: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined 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, man must not separate.” (Matt 19:5-6)
  • But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate.” (Mark 10:6-9)
  • For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. (Eph 5:31)

God created the universe in six days. Throughout the first five days God declared His creation good (Gen 1:4,12,18,21). During the sixth day, before creating Adam, God stated that the living creatures were good (1:25). After creating Adam, God stated, “It is not good for the man [Adam] to be alone. I will make a helper as his complement” (Gen 2:18). Adam goes on to respond, “And the man said: This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken from man” (Gen 2:23). Therefore it is an oxymoron to refer to a homosexual marriage. Marriage by God’s design, by the nature He created, and by His definition is between a man and a woman.

Why Should We Care?

1. God’s Own Nature is Seen in Marriage

God is a triune community (John 10:30; 14:9; 16:5-11; 17:20-26). Genesis 1:26-27 states,

  • Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.

In these verses there are distinct genders (male and female). Such diversity reflects the plurality of the Godhead. God’s image is in male and female coming together to create an essential unity of persons. Homosexual relationships distort and destroy the image of God. The image of God is best seen in gender complementarianism (cf. Gen 2:18-25).

2. Marriage is a Stage which Presents the Drama of Redemption

Christ's Redemptive Relationship with the Church

Christ’s Redemptive Relationship with the Church

Marriage is a covenant that a man and woman enter together (Mal 2:14) in which husband and wife join in imitating the divine drama of redemption. The gospel is displayed for all to see in a godly marriage, husband and wife both submissive to the Word of God – the man as the husband imitates Christ by humbling himself to love his wife through servant leadership so that he might nourish, cherish, and provide for her – the woman as the wife imitates the church by humbling herself, submitting to her husband so that she might honor him. Ephesians 5:22-33 makes clear the marriage relationship:

Role of the Husband:

  • Husbands, you have made a covenant that you will imitate Christ, in a way that you never have before. You have promised to imitate Christ in His relationship in the drama of redemption to His Church. Therefore, you are first called your humble yourself. For Christ, “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself” (Phil 2:6-7). You are to humble yourself from any honor or privilege or respect that you may think that you have or deserve.
  • Secondly, husbands, you are called to love your wife just as Christ also loved the church. Christ did this by “taking the form of a slave, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:7-8). Christ loves the Church by serving Her, even to the point of death itself. Husbands you are to love and serve your wife all the days of your life understanding what Proverbs says, “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain” (Prov 31:10-11). As Christ gave Himself up for the Church, may you daily lovingly give up yourself for your wife.
  • Thirdly, husbands, you are called to provide for your wife. Christ died that He might sanctify the church. Husband you must provide for your wife, shepherding her as the head of the house. Husbands, you must nourish and cherish her as Christ does the Church so that she might be holy and blameless

Husband you must humble yourself to love your wife so that you might provide for her.

Role of the Wife:

  • Wives, in the divine drama of redemption you have made a covenant that you will imitate the Church. Therefore, you are first called your humble yourself. The Church does not merely obtain the provision of Christ but acknowledges His headship.
  • Secondly, wives, you are called to submit to your husband as the Church is subject to Christ. As the Church submits to Christ, my you submit to your husband’s godly servant-leadership, that you might have a reputation for good works; showing hospitality to strangers, washing the saints’ feet, and devoting yourself to every good work. May you be defined as a Proverb’s 31 woman: “She does him good and not evil All the days of her life…She senses that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night…She extends her hand to the poor, And she stretches out her hands to the needy…Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
  • Thirdly, wives, as the Church honors Christ may you respect your husband (Eph 5:33).

Wives you must humble yourself to submit to your husband so that you might honor him.

Biblical Marriage Relationship

Biblical Marriage Relationship

There is so much more that could be said in this area and many more passages of Scripture that could be studied. Ephesians 5 clearly demonstrates that marriage is to actively display the gospel, marriage to be a clear representation of the drama of redemption. More books that are really helpful that you could read would be:

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism

The Exemplary Husband: A Biblical Perspective

The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective

Word Filled Families Walk in Truth

3. God’s Glory is on the Line

God’s design for marriage is ultimately for His own glory. He has defined marriage as between a man and a woman. He has designed marriage to reflect His own triune nature. He has declared the gospel through marriage. Homosexual relationships defy God’s definition of marriage, assault His nature, defame the gospel, and thus are antithetical to the glory of God. Heterosexual relationships may be in line with God’s definition and reflect His own triune community but if they do not actively demonstrate and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in marriage they dishonor God and do not glorify Him either. If you are married may you actively display the gospel and proclaim the gospel for His glory!