A young couple at our church is considering marriage. Ahh youth. They are wondering about the usual stuff. Can they afford a wedding, making a home when they are Man and Wife and, because my church takes all this old God stuff seriously, how to keep themselves sexually pure until they are wed. Those things are indeed worth considering but, speaking as your neighborhood old lady know-it-all, it really boils down to two questions.
- Is this a man who can lead me and my future children spiritually?
- Is this the woman I want to become my lifelong partner and raise my children?
God has a purpose for marriage and, I know this is very unpopular with you sensualists raised on Hollywood out there so take a big deep breath here, it’s not primarily your happiness. When done correctly, marriage will make you holy as you sacrifice (read: suck it up more times than you can imagine) for your spouse by putting their needs before your own. This is what doing marriage God’s way looks like. As a result there are times of great security, joy and intimacy and sometimes it sucks. This angle, you can imagine, makes me very popular with the pre-marriage counseling crowd. From God’s perspective, marriage as an institution is about producing a spiritual nation of children who love Him and have no other God before Him. Malachi the prophet speaks quite plainly on it. “God made them one… because He was seeking godly offspring.” His primary vehicle for making this happen is to join husband and wife together in one flesh and spirit, permanently, to produce offspring and train those children in holiness. (Malachi 2:15)
Whatever view you take on marriage as civil policy, there is only one biblical prescription for it – one man and one woman for life. There are those in our culture who argue that marriage is about feelings and the validation of their romantic partner. Not so for the believer. In our case, marriage is about man and woman coming together for the sake of producing and raising children. For life.
Now. Let’s talk about sex baby. Let’s talk about you and oh yes I am a child of the eighties. Right. So then. The whole “one flesh” thing- the Act. Just as your circulatory system or respiratory system is complete and with you till you leave this world, it is God’s design that joining sexually with your spouse completes your reproductive system and should remain a permanent part of your life. As hard as our culture has tried to divorce the life-giving properties from the sexual act, the fact remains that children are a product of sexual congress. God is purposeful about making sure that no child will be conceived without the involvement of a man and a woman. He intends for each child to have a mother and father. This a major basis of the marriage covenant among believers.
Not only does God join man and woman as one flesh, but “in spirit” they are His as well. Someone somewhere once said that what God has joined together, let no man (not husband nor wife nor any human force) separate. Why not? I’ll tell you because that is why you are here. God is not just seeking offspring. He is seeking godly offspring. Offspring are produced in a moment, as many a victim of our “hook-up” culture can testify. But godly offspring are produced over a lifetime. Thus the need for a permanent union.
Do not be fooled by the Christian who affirms gay marriage as biblically permissive. Marriage has always been and always will be about a man and a woman coming together sexually and spiritually to raise the next generation. Better they raise the next generation as believers. Much more common among Christians but equally condemned by scripture, is the acceptance of “no fault” divorce or dating/marrying an unbelieving spouse- specifically denounced by Malachi in this passage. Like most Christian principles, God has issued a unambiguous earthly method for achieving a spiritual goal. We do not get to choose, amend, or redefine that method. Neither can we improve on it. Any attempts to go our own way or modify His prescription will produce painful earthly consequences. In fact, it will probably look a lot like the state of our highly depressed, substance-abusing, fatherless nation.
Once again, because my brain is feeble and I am just not that bright, many of these ideas are not my own. Our family attended Mars Hill church Sunday and we got to hear Mark Driscoll preach through this text. For a more comprehensive look at this ridiculously relevant 2500-year-old passage, here’s the sermon. There is nothing new. We arrogantly believe we are so different from those ancient, backward, biblical folks. We are not. God’s truth and direction is relevant today because our nature is the same as it ever was. And so is He.