The law of the land in the United States regarding marriage has changed. There is great fear among many who hold to a biblical definition of marriage about the rippling effects of this watershed decision. But amidst the rubble, I want us to see the sparkling gem of opportunity for those committed to a biblical understanding of marriage.
For those familiar with the Bible’s clear teachings on the gift of marriage, a few things are certain. We know God designed and gave marriage. We know He gave it as a covenant relationship for life between one man and one woman. We know it is to be centered on God and the Gospel to function in its intended way. Marriage is ultimately a picture of Christ and the church. The husband is to assume the role of sacrificial headship (even to the point of death), and the wife is a stalwart force of respect, diligence, and discipleship. None of that has changed. The Bible’s words are the same today as they were the day before the Supreme Court’s decision.
But have we lost the biblical identity and sacredness of Christian marriage by legally redefining who can get married? No.
It is not the Supreme Court who dropped the ball on marriage. The shift has taken place as a result of professing Christians who have so ignored the other key elements of what defines a biblical marriage that we have lowered the bar and dividing line to simply an issue of gender.
Consider this: can a heterosexual married couple who has made a public oath legally divorce even though the Bible says marriage is explicitly for life and that God hates divorce? Yes.
Can a husband legally neglect the sacrificial responsibility commanded in the Scripture and embrace a passive-aggressive perversion of manhood? Yes.
I could go on, but I hope you get the picture. We have stood idly by as key aspects of biblical marriage have been ignored, yet have become inflamed about this most recent blow in the courts.
Do I wish the Supreme Court had ruled differently? Yes. But they didn’t. What they have done, however, is given Christians the responsibility and ability to be set apart not by the government, but by the Holy Spirit’s transformation of two broken people into one life-long covenant honoring Christ in their biblical roles.
The Bible has much more to say about marriage than the who. While that is an overwhelmingly key and explicit entry point, there is much more given to us about the when, how and why of what makes a true marriage.
Up until now, the only legal dividing line was between who is married. We can’t litigate the why, and can’t change the heart of how. The law is impotent to give and use marriage in a way that honors God. Only the Spirit can create a marriage that exemplifies Christ and the church – not the government.
The dividing line of “married” and “not married” has not served to adequately mirror the line of “Christ Centered” and “not Christ Centered.” We now have opportunity to re-highlight those lines.
For the Christian seeking to follow and display Christ in their marriage, no bar has been lowered, no standard has been removed, and no opportunity has been diminished.
Because of the Supreme Court’s ruling, we now have the unparalleled opportunity to display not only the difference between marriage and not-marriage, but what a biblical marriage looks like versus a man-centered marriage. As the government reshapes and defines what it offers as marriage, we who stand under the Word of God can show what God gives as marriage. The world can now hold up two types of marriage and say there is something different about marriage based on the Bible and centered on the glory of God. Out of the lump of relationships called marriages, we now have the opportunity to show the comparative difference was not so much in the who of marriage, but in the why.
Your marriage responsibility just got a lot more important. We need to stand against divorce and fight for marriage. We need to visually and verbally celebrate long-standing commitment based on the Gospel. We must show the value of not just a Gospel-centered church, but a Gospel-centered home. We can show how the Bible and the Gospel cause everything else to work properly even in adversity as we seek to understand, apply, and fight for biblical manhood and womanhood in marriage.
Glory to God for the opportunity He has given us to radiantly display the Gospel in our marriages! May the new dividing line of Christian Marriage and Governmental Marriage show the powerful work of God in the lives of those submitted to the Spirit and His Word.