Follow by Email

7/25/2015

NO AMBIGUITY WITH JESUS: HE MADE HIMSELF CLEAR ABOUT MARRIAGE

Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech; 
and not as Moses who put a veil over his face (II Corinthians 3:12-13; KJV).

Some evangelical leaders are refusing to take a clear stand on same-sex marriage, choosing instead to use ambiguous language when asked about the issue. Expressions such as "we are having a conversation" or "we are on a journey" cloud the issue, and if there is not clarity in the pulpit there will be confusion in the pews. 

With truth being challenged on every front, this is no time for ambiguity. The stakes are too high. Jesus said that it is the truth that makes us free (John 8:31-32). This is the time for the church to seize the moment and clearly speak the truth in love. 

Since these leaders confess Jesus as Lord, I choose to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that their hesitancy is because either (1) they are not sure what Jesus taught about marriage, or (2) they think Jesus Himself was unclear on the subject. 

The only other alternative would be that they are capitulating to a popular, cultural trend rather than taking up their cross and going against the grain of fallen culture as they follow the Lord. In such a case, Jesus would not be Lord. They would be like the religious people of Jesus’ day who believed in Him but would not confess him for fear of public opinion. John said, For they loved the praise of men, more than the praise of God (John 12:43).
Choosing to assume that it is the former—that they are not sure what Jesus would say or do—I will here seek to give clear evidence of where Jesus stood on marriage. I believe, in fact, that Jesus made Himself so clear on the topic that there is no excuse for us being ambiguous on such an important issue.
Jesus Points to God’s Original Plan for Marriage
Jesus did not directly address homosexuality because it was not an issue in first century Jewish culture. Nonetheless, He made His proactive view of marriage as being between one man and one woman so clear that there can be no question where He stands on this contemporary issue.
Jesus’ view of marriage was expressed one day when the Pharisees asked him a question about marriage and divorce (Matthew 19:3-12). They wanted to know if it was OK for a man to divorce his wife for trivial reasons as taught by some Jewish rabbis based on a very loose interpretation of Deuteronomy 24:1. 
Jesus responded to their question by pointing them to how it was in the beginning. In other words, he pointed them to the creation account of Genesis 1-2 as the place to find God’s original plan for marriage. In this original Divine blueprint of marriage, there is no indication of divorce. Instead, there is one man and one woman in a committed, life-long, relationship.
The Pharisees then challenged Jesus by quoting Deuteronomy 24:1 (which allowed men to divorce their wives) and asked why God had commanded them to divorce their wives.
Jesus responded by saying that Moses had permitted them to divorce their wives because of the hardness of their hearts. He then said, But from the beginning it was not so, showing that even though God made an allowance because of human sinfulness, divorce was not part of the original Genesis model or blueprint for marriage (Matthew 19:8).
According to Jesus, this Genesis account of the creation of the man and woman is to be the ongoing model for marriage since it reflects God’s original intent and plan. It is God’s original blueprint for marriage.
The Genesis Model
In the Genesis account of creation, to which Jesus pointed his audience, God creates a man and a woman and brings them together in a committed, mutual partnership. They are blessed by the Creator and told to bear children and fill the earth. Both are given the same blessing, authority, and mandate as is indicated by the use of the plural pronoun “them” throughout the creation account (Gen. 1:26-31).
The man is created first and then the Creator takes a “side” from the man and fashions it into a woman. The Hebrew word translated “rib” in the KJV literally means “side.” He then brings the two together and when the man sees the woman he is very impressed and breaks forth into what Hebrew scholars say is song or poetic verse.
This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called woman
For she was taken out of man
The Genesis writer then sums up the creation narrative in Genesis 2:24 with the words later quoted by Jesus, Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Distortions & Allowances Because of Sin
It is after the fall in Genesis 3, and the entry of sin into the world, that marriage distortions begin to appear. Whereas in the original model before the fall there is a beautiful picture of mutual partnership, God announces in Genesis 3:16 that now the man will “rule” over the woman. This is a description of what will now occur because of sin, not a prescription of what ought to happen.
Also, in the Old Testament, we see polygamy tolerated, even among the patriarchs. This, however, is merely the Biblical writer describing things as they are in a fallen and distorted world. It is a clear departure from how it was in the beginning before sin entered into the world.
We do not find polygamy among the Jews in the New Testament because over centuries of practice they discovered that it did not work well and the practice, though not forbidden, gradually died out. It was not part of God’s original blueprint for marriage.
It is interesting to note that although certain allowances and tolerances were made in the Old Testament for divorce and even polygamy, there was no allowance made for homosexuality. Homosexuality is such a fundamental departure from the sexuality created by God that it was never allowed. Such a fundamental distortion of the original blueprint for marriage and sexuality would be too harmful for both the individuals involved and for society.
No Human Court Has the Authority to
Set Aside What God Has Established
Jesus summed up His discussion on marriage by quoting Genesis 2:24, which is the crowning statement of the Genesis account of the first marriage. It reads, Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Jesus then warned that what God had established or joined together must not be abrogated or put asunder by any human court or authority (Matthew 19:4-5).
The well-known Greek scholar, Marvin A Vincent, points out that the perfect tense of the verb in this passage indicates that “the original ordinance has never been abrogated or superseded but continues in force.” In other words, God’s original blueprint for marriage is still in force and is the standard toward which we must strive.
Natural Marriage is the Building Block of a Stable Society
The word “joined” in Genesis 2:24 is translated from a Hebrew word that means to be “bonded” or “glued” together, showing that God’s original intent was a life-long, committed relationship between one man and one woman. It is within this context that sex finds its greatest fulfillment and it is where children find the safest and most conducive environment for development and growth.
This is confirmed by the fact that when God sent His Son into the world, He did not place him in a monastery to be looked after by monks or nuns. Nor did He place Him in a castle to be guarded by soldiers and politicians. Instead, He placed Him in a home with a loving mother and father, the safest and most nurturing environment on earth for a child.
Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God at the time of the creation as the fundamental building block of society. We only hurt ourselves and others when we ignore or cast aside God’s original blueprint for marriage.
Why We Must Follow the Creator’s Plan
Jesus made it clear that if we want God’s highest and best for our marriages, we must return to the original blueprint–to how it was in the beginning.
Most manufacturers provide instructions with their product so that the purchaser can maintain the item and get the best use from it. An expensive garment may say on the label, “Wash by hand in cold water.” If the purchaser of that garment ignores the instructions and throws the garment into a washer and washes it in hot water, he should not be surprised if the garment is ruined.
In the same way, we should not be surprised to see lives ruined and society negatively affected when we ignore the clear instructions of the Creator concerning how our lives and marriages should work. God gave instructions and principles, not to “rain on our parade” and make us miserable, but so that we could derive the maximum joy and fulfillment from the life he has given us.
Concluding Thought
If we would derive the maximum joy and benefit from marriage and sex, we must embrace God’s original blueprint as laid out in the Genesis creation account and affirmed by Jesus. It doesn’t mean there will not be struggles and failures, but it does mean that we must embrace the ideal—the blueprint—and make it the goal toward which we continually strive.
Since Jesus is Lord, we can end the conversation concerning same-sex marriage and begin helping those who are struggling with their sexuality to find help and deliverance in Christ.  It is time to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in the institution of marriage!


Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is an author, historian and Bible teacher. His latest book, The Faith & Vision of Benjamin Franklin, shows how Franklin and all the Founders believed Christian virtue to be an absolute necessity for a stable and prosperous nation and wanted Christian morality taught in every public and private venue. The book is available from Amazon and from his ministry website at www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html