Word from the Center Digest: September 27, 2019

Marriage: Not So Outdated After All

by Winston Grieser

Perhaps you have heard the expression “older than sin.” That expression is actually one that fits holy marriage, that is, marriage instituted by God.

What is holy marriage? It’s the life-long union between one man (a biological male) and one woman (a biological female). (That a writer must add the descriptor “holy” in front of the word marriage and define man and woman as “biological male and female” shows that “dark times have us o’ertaken.” Once the term marriage was self-explanatory, or so nostalgia would tell us. Yet the institution of marriage has been under assault by the devil since his temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the assault continues to this day.

The devil teaches mankind to value things that are not holy marriage as its equal because the devil calls evil good and good evil. But sex outside the lifelong union between one man and one woman is sinful, even though world governments may say it is legal. Legality does not trump the morality of God’s holy Law. Adultery, homosexual unions and living together before marriage, whether a couple is engaged or not, are equally sinful and break the Sixth Commandment, despite their legality in the civil realm.

 Holy marriage was instituted by God in the Garden of Eden as part of His creative work. “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 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’” (Gen. 2:21-23). Holy marriage is quite literally grounded in creation and is the fountain from which society and civilization spring! We also see this in the way in which God gives the woman to be Adam’s wife, adding, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

Some have argued against the traditional definition of marriage saying it is old fashioned or too narrow for our modern times. They argue falsely, that Jesus didn’t have much to say on the subject. On the contrary, it is Jesus, the eternal Son of God, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, created the marriage estate. During His earthly ministry, Jesus quotes the above passage from Genesis 2 to the Pharisees when they ask whether it is lawful to divorce (see Matthew 19), and to these words Jesus even adds, “Therefore, what God as joined together let man not separate.” So it seems our Lord actually has quite a bit to say on holy marriage.

Holy marriage is the way that God intended for man and woman to live on earth, both before and after the fall. After man’s fall into sin, holy marriage was intended to keep us from breaking the Sixth Commandment, to warn us against sexual immorality, and to encourage us to live a chaste and decent life in word and deed, and each love and honor his spouse. Holy marriage was also intended for the procreation of children, for children – as God grants them – are the natural fruit of the mutual love that husbands and wives have for one another.

The world may see holy marriage as out-of-date and antiquated, but for Christians who take our Lord at His Word, we recognize the gifts of holy marriage in our pious spouses and children – blessings given by God according to His perfect will and in His good time. Have we done anything to deserve these earthly blessings? No. But Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom of the Church, whom He redeemed by His blood, never sees marriage and children as old-fashioned. Instead, he sees them as part those sanctified and cleansed “with the washing of water by the word, 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” (Eph. 5:26-27).

The Rev. Winston Grieser is pastor of Apostolic Lutheran Church, Moses Lake, Wash.

Be Informed

“The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Monday that the city of Phoenix cannot use a criminal law to force two artists to design and create custom wedding invitations expressing messages that conflict with their core beliefs.” Click here to find out more about the case.

Be Equipped

September 17 was the 231st anniversary of the creation of the Constitution, when “the most influential set of American laws were enacted. Even though the United States of America is a relatively young country, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest national constitution in continual use in the world. By articulating stable principles rather than detailed rules, the Founders gave us a timeless guide for good governance.” Keep the Constitution Day celebration going by reading more about the document here.

Be Encouraged

“True equality is not trampling on the rights of those who are weaker or smaller than us. Let’s do better.” – Lila Rose, pro-life president and founder, Live Action

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