The sanctity of marriage
Heb 13:4 "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous." (ESV)I think the problem with the phrase "sanctity of marriage" is that people today have no idea what that word really means. The word "sanctity" comes from the Latin root sanctus which means sacred or holy. Sanctity is supposed to mean the state of being holy. But even in our churches today we rarely use these terms. Holy means; sacred, pure, morally blameless. Holy is not only a state of something we are to be, it is the state in which God exists. We are to strive to be holy because God himself is holy.
1 Peter 1:16 "You shall be holy, for I am holy." (ESV)
But we do not like to talk about things like holy anymore. We like to talk in terms of good and bad. We try to live a "good" life but often make poor or "bad" choices. We even go so far to as to label "bad" things as diseases or conditions. Drunks are now alcoholics and angry people lacking self control are diagnosed with a defiance disorder and offered anger management classes. It is never the persons fault. While the behavior may be "bad" we seldom call the person "bad."
The problem with that train of thought is that it is not true. When something is not good it is evil. You are either holy and pure or you are tainted by the world and are evil. This is the state that all mankind finds themselves in. We are all evil and living in a sin filled body and deserve death and eternal punishment in hell for that sinfulness because sin is evil. So how did we go from being sinful and evil to simply "bad" or worse yet, "sick?"
We stopped allowing the Bible to be the final authority in defining what both holy and evil are. Years ago we allowed our schools and science to start making the false claims that man was not created but rather evolved over time and that the nature of man is basically good. When that supposed goodness does not seem or appear good to us we label it as some sort of malfunction. But who gets to decide what is or is not good? What is the proper and appropriate condition upon which to label those who fall short? Without the Holy and perfect Word of God to guide us we end up making stuff up. Therefore our positions, much like the president's recent decision on gay marriage, evolve and change as time goes by. We are being taught (and schools are teaching our children) that all change is good. It's trendy to be a "progressive" because progress is considered a good thing. But is it?
Why did the president supposedly change his mind about gay marriage? Has the Bible changed and progressed? No.
In 2008 candidate Barack Obama said, "I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now for me as a Christian it's also a sacred union. God's in the mix." Today he has changed his mind on that. Here was his reasoning for his change of mind.
"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married"
Now what changed? Is God still in the mix for Christians? Is marriage still a "sacred union?" Yes! The only thing that has changed is that society (through the help of the media and our educational system) has began to accept the behavior. Homosexuality is not wrong because homosexuals can not remain monogamous, or serve their country well or can not be nice family, friends or neighbors. Every reason Obama stated had nothing to do with why it is sinful in the first place. Homosexuality is wrong because it perverts the purpose and plan of God.
Genesis 2:24 "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it"
Sexual immorality of any kind is a sin. That has not, nor will it change. We need to be careful about letting society, Hollywood or politicians try to define right and wrong for us. It can lead to our eternal destruction if we do.
1 Corinthians 6:9 "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
We were not given the task of defining what is sinful. God has already done that for us and His word is very clear. Those who practice sexual immorality and those who practice homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God. It's sin. It's an abomination to Him (Lev. 18:22).
That does not mean that people who choose the homosexual lifestyle can not have some good qualities about them. Many are nice people who like to help their family, friends, neighbor and country. But all those other qualities do not make that one sin excusable. They are still living a sinful lifestyle and until they repent they will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But people might argue that since the state is not religious it has no right to define marriage in religious or "sacred" terms. The problem with that is, that marriage was a sacred practice long before the state began to regulate and tax it. Marriage, has always been the union between a man and a woman. Even in non-religious cultures there has been no recognition of marriage between persons of the same sex until recent times. The problem with allowing it now will be the effect on the religious freedom of those of us who believe that marriage is sacred and is only between men and women. It will not be long before Christians will be punished for not recognizing same sex marriages, even in their own churches. And that is the heart of the issue.
The fight for gay marriage is not about giving them access to a sick spouse in the hospital, access to insurance coverage, or tax breaks. It is not even about taking our right to religious freedom away (which it would ultimately do). This is about sinful men and women throwing their fists up at the face of God and saying, no we do not want you or your holiness. Those fighting for gay marriage are rejecting God and all He stands for. Those who, like President Barack Obama who claim to be Christian but support gay rights, are living a lie. There is nothing Christian about supporting something that God's Word so vehemently opposes.
Romans 1:18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools...26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them."You can quote your experiences and earthly reasoning as long you as you like, but God's Word will never change. It is time that the church got back to using God's Word as the source of all truth and abiding by what it says. After all, while marriage is a sacred union, it is not the act of marriage that sanctifies us, it is through God's truth that we are sanctified.
John 17:17 "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth."The church needs to get back to not only preaching the Word of Truth, but abiding by it. Christians should treat their marriages as the sacred unions they claim that they are. They should wait until they are wed before they enter into a sexual relationship and they should remain faithful once they are married. If Christians truly lived out their faith there would be no reason for a Christian to get a divorce.
Christians should also be living out the Word in all areas of their lives and that includes the way we treat those who are opposed to the truth. Yes, we should fight to protect the sacred union of marriage but we must do so with the gentleness and respect that God's Word demands. We are a sinful people trying to live for a holy God, we are not His hand of justice. Let us not claim a role that does not belong to us, but rather let us show others the freedom, love and forgiveness that God offers to anyone who chooses to believe. We need to do what is right to be able to stand up for what is right.
Psalm 25:8 "Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies."