“If the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3 ESV
The recent Supreme Court decision came as a tough blow to those of us who hold the Bible to be our compass for truth. In many ways their decision should not come as a surprise due to the displacement of a covenant view of marriage for the consumer relationship it has become. The importance of marriage today is seen largely as a social and legal arrangement, certainly not sacred. Sadly this is true for many who call themselves Christians. Outside of a few ministers in the world who ever refers to it as Holy Matrimony anymore? Many would say they believe in monogamy but really they mean an arrangement whereby personal happiness is the measure for how long they stick it out. Belief about marriage for many Christians would be better referred to as “serial monogamy.” One consumer relationship after another that still enjoys a social and legal status.
Marriage in America has become just another consumer relationship like our patronage at our current favorite restaurant. When our spouse pleases us we are satisfied and willing to commit. If our spouse fails to meet our needs we move on to another partner. Sadly, many Christians have modeled far too much of this brand of marriage to an unbelieving society. We are not referring to those, however, who have divorced, fighting to save their marriages with an abusive, unfaithful, or abandoning partner. Second marriages can certainly be blessed unions showing forth God’s covenant design.
In stark contrast to our present state of consumer marriages, the Bible speaks to us of a covenant God who is reckless and extravagant in his great love for all people everywhere (John 3:16-17). He is the God of relationships, existing himself as one God in three divine persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He calls us to enter into covenant with him through the blood of the eternal covenant through Christ in the cross. In marriage, he invites men and women into his covenant purposes to reflect his amazing grace and blessing.
We believe that God created the man and the woman in his own image with equal value before him and as coheirs in his verdant garden. He commanded them to rule together and enjoy all that he provided (Genesis 1:27-28). Marriage was his gift to us to experience an intimacy of fantastic delight and to participate with him in bringing life into his world. God defined marriage to be a holy union between a man and a woman who consciously enter into a covenant relationship with Him and with one another. Their vows being a testimony of their solemn oath confirming God’s covenant intention. God was the original designer and it is his holy presence that strengthens the marriage bonds (Genesis 2:24-25). Jesus quoted the Genesis passage when rebuking the Pharisees for so easily accommodating divorce, then said this about the mystery of marriage. “They are no longer two but one flesh. What God has joined together let no man separate.” (Matthew 19:6 ESV)
We may be quick to point a finger at the 5 justices who comprised the majority decision overturning the law of the land regarding marriage as between one man and one woman. This has been a consensus in law that has prevailed as a marriage foundation for over 230 years. I am tempted to see them as the culprits of an accelerating moral and spiritual decay in America. If I really listen to God’s voice, however, I hear Him calling us, His bride, to repent of our sin and return to Him who is our Bridegroom with a whole heart. God is calling us to follow hard after Christ. Only then will our marriages be healed, restored, strengthened and become the picture of the gospel He intended. Only then will we have something to say to a watching world about Holy Matrimony.
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34 ESV) Christians are often quoting this verse as a proof that a punishment upon America has been brought by a secular society instead of seeing God’s discipline first upon the house of God. Most of all, sin is a disgrace to God’s people. Our sin of materialism, pornography, infidelity, oppression of the poor and worship of many kinds of idols. Righteousness is not merely positional for the Christian it must be seen in “right living”.
So, good Christian, when the foundations are destroyed what should the righteous do? We should repent of our idols and return to Christ with a whole-hearted devotion. We should learn and accept deeply God’s design in our covenant relationships of marriage. We should prepare to make a defense for Christian marriage to the world in gentleness and respect. This defense must be seen first in the unconditional love and godly purpose portrayed in our marriages, then, secondly, through the sharing of God’s word on marriage and family life.
Lastly, we need to share the good news of the gospel calling people by the same radical grace Paul experienced then proclaimed to secularized Gentiles in his day.
…“in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:19 ESV
Leo Wisniewksi is the Director of Locking Arms Men, a Pittsburgh based men’s ministry making disciples of men of all ages.