Monday, January 7, 2013

Marriage Policy Preservation

This is a specific look at the Scriptures that speak to marriage, especially as would be relevant to a discussion of public policy.

From Genesis to Revelation, marriage is a picture of our relationship with God.

Genesis 2
[18] And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” [19] Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. [20] So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. [21] And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. [22] Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. [23] And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” [24] Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. [25] And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Isaiah 61
[10] I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

We see Jesus' affirmation of marriage in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.

Matthew 19
[4] And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ [5] “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? [6] “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Mark 10
[5] And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. [6] “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ [7] ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, [8] ‘and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. [9] “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Ephesians 5
[25] Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, [26] that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, [27] that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. [28] So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. [29] For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. [30] For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. [31] “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” [32] This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. [33] Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Revelation 21
[1] Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. [2] Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. [3] And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. [4] “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” [5] Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” [6] And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. [7] “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. [8] “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” [9] Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife.” [10] And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, [11] having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.

1 Corinthians 13 is often described as the "love chapter in the Bible." 1 Corinthians 7 could easily be described as a marriage chapter.

Sometimes marriages end by death or other means.

Romans 7
[2] For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. [3] So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. [4] Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

Jesus also spoke to things that can lead to adultery as well.

Matthew 5
[27] “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ [28] But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

The Law also gives a variety of instructions on deviations from marriage that should be considered outside the bounds of marriage.  The New Testament reinforces these principles.

Points for policymakers:
  1. Define marriage clearly, one man one woman
  2. Support marriage, ensure it is not punished
  3. Discourage premature endings, ensure those are not encouraged
  4. Prosecute obscenity, especially below the waist
  5. Exclude any deviation from marriage
Some want to incorporate one of those deviations into marriage at the state and federal levels. The change is touted as a matter of freedom and equality. Yet if one understands that any of those deviations are against God's law, then to enshrine them into marriage both denies the integrity of marriage and creates a legally binding sinful relationship. That would be inconsistent with the roles of government. Woe to us if we make this policy change.

We must preserve the integrity of marriage and our marriage policy.

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