Grace and Truth

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Gay Marriage and the Church

One thing that bugs me about the debate over gay marriage is that when both sides bring the Bible into the discussion they always seem to miss something. And it’s something HUGELY important.

One side says it is about justice and equality. The other side says it is about the family and the rights of the child. Both sides are passionate, heated and emotional.

But it is important to see something bigger is going on: whilst there is much emotional rhetoric on both sides, the battle is actually spiritual.

There are two people who care more about marriage than even the most verbal and passionate of activists:

These are of course God and Satan.

I have heard both sides discuss Leviticus 18 & 20, the story of Sodom and of course Romans 1. I’ve heard Christians and non-Christians, gay and straight argue these scriptures.

And of course, whilst these scriptures are valid, something vital is constantly overlooked.  And that is the fact that the whole Bible, the whole story of redemption is about marriage.

It begins with a marriage – the Garden of Eden

It ends with a marriage – the marriage supper of the Lamb

And in between is the great and wonderful story of the redemption of humanity through marriage.

The Eternal Truths of Marriage

As followers of Jesus Christ in this post-modern age it is easy to miss the beauty and significance of the eternal truths displayed in marriage.

It is oft-repeated that Jesus never said anything specifically against homosexuality, thus saying in effect, that He condoned it. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact everything Christ said and did was in order to institute a covenant marriage-relationship between Himself, the Bridegroom, and His Church, the Bride.

Jesus used the Jewish marriage customs of the day to illustrate to His Jewish disciples the significance of why He came. We need to remember that Jesus is a Jew and it was to other Jews that He spoke. We, as non-Jews who have been grafted in, can often miss the significance of Christ’s words.  (I have written extensively about this here)

In point form here are just a few of the Jewish marriage customs showing forth Christ’s redemption:

  • The Bride-Price (Mohar)

In ancient Jewish customs the Bride-price was agreed upon by the father and the Bridegroom-to be.  The Bride-price was a very high price to pay. The higher the price that was paid, the less incentive for a young man to divorce his betrothed.  This gave the young woman comfort that her betrothed would in fact return for her after he had finished preparing a place for her in his father’s house.

Jesus Himself paid a very high price for His bride, the ultimate price – He paid with His own blood.  His life was poured out for her.  No higher price has ever been paid than what He paid.

  • Paid in Full

When the young man paid the price in full to the father of the bride the marriage covenant was established….

…and so we see Jesus.  Upon the cross He cries out with a loud voice “It is finished!” (John 19:30)

There He paid in full the debt owed, our debt, for the sin of mankind to the Father.

  • The Glass of Wine

After the bride-price was agreed and paid, the Jewish bride-to-be would be called in and offered a glass of wine to drink. To drink from the cup would show her acceptance of the covenant with the groom.

So too Jesus, the Bride-Groom, offered His disciples a cup of wine.

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.  Mark 14:23

Jesus gives the cup to his disciples at the last supperThis was Christ’s “marriage proposal” to His Bride.  Jesus offered to His disciples the Cup, and in doing so He was instituting the New Covenant.

The Old Covenant was between Jehovah and His Wife, Israel.

The New Covenant is between Christ and His Bride, the Church.

And every time the gospel is proclaimed throughout the world it is Christ once again issuing His marriage-proposal to the lost sinner.

Satan Hates Marriage

And of course, this is why Satan hates marriage. Because every time a man and a woman enter into a marriage-covenant with each other it is proclaiming the victory of the Bridegroom and the redemption of humanity through Christ’s Bride. Marriage is a prophetic sign-post pointing to Christ and His Bride. And more than anything Satan wants that sign-post removed from the earth.  This is the reason he is pushing the gay-marriage agenda so vehemently.

God Loves Marriagejewish-wedding-gift

And of course, this is why God loves marriage. Because He designed it to be a pointer to His beloved Son, Jesus Christ.  He put it in this earth to point to the true marriage of Christ and His Bride.  He wants people to see marriage and to know there is something deep and mysterious shown forth that cannot quite be grasped.  Something that will turn people to Christ and be saved.

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:31, 32

Marriage is the fight of our day. I urge you not to become side-tracked with emotional rhetoric, but to see this issue as it truly is – a spiritual battle.  And one in which the Church must be engaged. Care about this. Pray. Write to your MP’s too.  Encourage church leaders to speak up.  Pray, pray, pray.