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Point of Reference

    by Fred Price

Marriage should be honored by all... Hebrews 13:4
Date Posted: January 21, 2022

The self-proclaimed forces for social change, led by the likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie – who years ago swore off marriage on the Ellen DeGeneres show until “everyone in this country has the right to marry” – often speak to the “plight” of gay and lesbian lovers who are denied the “privilege” of marriage in many parts of the country. (A couple who are characteristically no longer together – whether married or unmarried .) In addressing this issue, we might start by briefly examining the time-tested definition of marriage and the people who engage in it. (Not saying marriage is always practiced as it should be among heterosexuals but that it is designed to give us the best chance of achieving success and happiness in such a relationship.)

Husbands, has the connotation of managing domestic affairs and resources, as in husbandry – for men in marriage. Wives, indicates a married woman, complimenting and completing a man. (The help-mate, suitable helper, companion of Genesis 2:20) Families then are recognized as the result of this joining of a man and woman in a household, a social unit consisting of parents and children related through marriage and birth in a common ancestry or of children adopted into this stable family environment. Marriage represents the melding together of two people – a man and a woman – for the mutual betterment, support and gratification of both; becoming an expression of love and provision for one another and in the process creating new life between them. ( Ecclesiastes 4:9-12sometimes seen as a good analogy of marriage as well as friendship.)

Jesus didn’t address the subject of homosexuality directly, but did reiterate what had been the long-standing teaching and practice of the Old Testament concerning men and women being joined in marriage. “…the Creator made them male and female,…” ( Matthew 19:5; Genesis 2:20-24); the goal of their “cleaving” together being a oneness in body, spirit and purpose – consequently bearing children into a stable home. This in turn established the driving force behind stable societies and civilized culture.

Stark evidence exists of the breakdown of society in consequence of the breakdown of marriage and the family unit. Years of extreme poverty and war in Central Africa have uprooted scores of people, imposing a transient lifestyle on their culture. Families have been torn apart as men have responded to the call to war. (Either willingly or unwillingly.) Prostitution, rape and homosexuality becoming commonplace among the wandering masses as families are abandoned and forgotten about – thus the devastating poverty, disease and starvation stalking the countryside; including an AIDs outbreak unparalleled anywhere else in the world.

The church’s stand on marriage is fairly simple, being expressed as a guard against immorality ( 1 Corinthians 7:9 & 1 Timothy 5:14), an acceptance of mutual responsibility and obligation ( 1 Corinthians 7:3,4 & Ephesians 5:21-31), and a commitment to making it work for a lifetime. ( 1 Corinthians 7:10-11; Matthew 19:9; Romans 7:2,3; Hebrews 13:4) The only legitimate reasons for separation being adultery ( Matthew 19:9) and abandonment. ( 1 Corinthians 7:15) Notice that the roles of husband and wife are always filled by men and women and that the stated intent is to enhance opportunities to educate, train and develop respect for the family, responsibility to society and reverence for the Lord and his church. ( 1 Timothy 3:4,5; Deuteronomy 4:9 & 5:16; Leviticus 19:3) Marriage and families are characterized in scripture as blessings from God ( Psalm 68:6 & 113:9), used as an example of the joy to be gained in God’s presence through ordered living ( Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 John 3:1) – allegorically depicting the relationship between the Lord and his bride, the church. Hence the prohibitions against adultery, divorce and the perverting of the divine plan for mankind. ( Jeremiah 23:10; Matthew 5:27,28; Ephesians 5:32; Revelation 19:7)

Love, marriage and sex – in that order – with the appropriate partner, seems reasonable for many of us; but as with most other provisions Satan seeks to degrade and counterfeit this blessing of God as well. Paul dealt with this topic rather explicitly in his Roman letter, assuring the Christians there that God had made his purposes known and that they could be understood; making sure his revelation would be universal enough that even those without the benefit of temple, mosque or church could see and hear “naturally”. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that we are without excuse.” Yet people are often vain and prefer what their darkened hearts can imagine; professing wisdom, spouting foolishness. ( Romans 1:19-22)

When that choice is made, God gives them over to their own designs; initially to convince them of its foolhardiness, then abandoning them to the subsequent consequences. (Still with the hope that they will “come to their senses” and return to him and his will for every aspect of their lives.) Sexual impurity embraces a number of practices that are equally sinful in God’s eyes, yet I can’t help but wonder if the exchange of God’s plan for human sexuality in opting for a same-sex partner, something that is so plainly contrary to the natural order of physical accommodation and compatibility, isn’t seen as a direct challenge to God’s will for humankind. Besides which, all sexual immorality has a way of escalating and perversion is never satisfied, leading to a general questioning and abandonment of God’s plan for our lives and salvation. ( Romans 1:24-27)

Not considering God’s will in this matter worthwhile and choosing to indulge their appetites and inclinations as they see fit, the depravity of their thinking often finds expression in other areas of life as well; greed, insolence, arrogance, etc. And so we find ourselves with the predicament we have in society today, people not only practicing evil in the privacy of their own homes but advertising, recruiting and applauding others in their doing of evil as well. ( Romans 1:28-32)

A solution is available though. In turning to God, repenting of evil and seeking his will in all matters of life, we can find redemption, restitution and new direction. For the same author who writes of the condemnation of those who engage in evil, likewise assures us of God’s love and forgiveness when we acknowledge him, repent of our rebellion and turn to his way in obedience. Then, “…there is (no longer any) condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,…”; as they no longer, “…live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 & 4

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Biography Information:

Fred Price - married (48 years), father of two grown children, grandfather of six.

Fred retired earlier this year after 42 years as a factory worker.  He has always had a heart for young people and the challenges they face today.  Over the years Fred has taught Discipleship Groups for High School and college students.  

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