But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. | 1 Peter 3.14-16
I decided last week not to get embroiled in the conversation over same-sex marriage, not because I didn’t have a position, but because there were enough voices making themselves heard. This week, I have watched many good friends make comments that reveal that they have bought into the rhetoric and are willing to abandon (or rewrite) the Orthodox Biblical position on marriage in order to form an acceptable modern alternative. Others, while not willing to redefine, have taken the stance that as Christians, we should be known for what we are for, not just what we are against. I AGREE. 1 Peter 3.15 urges us to give a reason for the hope that is within us, so I thought that it would be helpful to clearly state the good that Christian’s are so fiercely standing up for.
Marriage was given as a gift to the first couple Adam and Eve. This complimentary union was designed to benefit them:
Emotionally | as the two different genders would balance one another, with both receiving the benefits of the other sex
Biologically | as a means of reproduction for the human race
Socially | as a means of relational commitment, as well as creating order within the society (so we don’t have people fighting over partners as you see in the animal kingdom).
Intimately | as God joins together into what the Bible calls a one flesh relationship, taking what was 2 and making them 1, which includes physical oneness
Spiritually | as a means of worshipping God and serving Him as image-bearers, created to model the relationship of the Trinity (3 persons, 1 God)
God creates this human institution that is the closest thing on this earth to the relationship that we have with God through Jesus. It combines submission, leadership, sacrifice and love in a way that both brings glory to God and is a benefit to the individuals involved and the society at large.
Christians believe that God’s design is good and perfect, but because of sin, it has been tainted. The sin in this world means that no marriage on this side of Jesus return is going to manifest this goodness fully. Even in Christian marriages you have infighting, betrayal, anger, and power struggles. The Bible gives hope in this showing that if we aim for honoring God in marriage (both parties) that we will be sanctified (made more like Jesus) and that we will find happiness through sacrifice (Ephesians 5.22-33).
The reason why Christians are so serious about marriage is because they believe that it is truly good as it has been designed. The problem is, as people deviate from God’s plan, it has consequences. Divorce is a sin that breaks the commitment and oneness of marriage. Sexual promiscuity taints the faithfulness that monogamy offers. Pre-marital sex affects the trust and intimacy as God intended it. Same-sex marriage breaks down the complimentary aspects that reflect the Trinity. Christians don’t always try to make a cause and effect argument (do this and it will lead to this), but they do believe that because God created and is in control, that NOT following the rhythm He created will have detrimental effects to individual and society.
I know that this will not necessarily convince anyone to change their position, but I felt it was important to be clear about why Christians make such a big deal about marriage. It is the goodness of God that makes people defend marriage, not a hatred of people who want to live differently.