Marriage Law Survey: There’s Something Else At Stake

rawpixel-com-243094Today is the last day to register for the Australian national postal survey on the redefinition of marriage.(If you haven’t registered, do it here: Do it now!).

As a foreigner, I am not eligible to respond. I sure wish I could though.

Much has been written about the social and legal dangers of moving away from the traditional definition of marriage. Much has also been written about the God’s clear design for marriage laid out in the Bible and borne witness to in every culture and society for thousands of years. This is where I stand, too. Given the opportunity, I would vote, “No” to any proposed changed.

But something else is also at stake. Paul writes in Ephesians 5:24

“Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:24–27 ESV)

Paul has a very firm basis for making these practical points about love and submission in marriage. It’s this: God has given us marriage as a unique and powerful picture of the saving gospel. In the Bible, marriage isn’t just a law or a social norm, it is an imitation of the good news of Jesus: loving and selfless sacrifice, grateful and humble submission.

Just look at how marriage is used as a metaphor for God’s love for his unlovely people, and his redemption of them, in the Old Testament prophet Hosea.

Or at the “invitation only” marriage banquet of the Lamb and his church in Revelation 19.

There is a serious possibility that the laws about marriage will be changed to allow people of all genders to marry each other. This will be a sad day, because it will be a rejection of the Creator’s original design for his world. And things are bound to go awry when the manufacturer’s instructions are ignored. The devil would love to see the guts ripped out of one of the most beautiful illustrations of the gospel.

But I appreciated the advice recently of a well-know Christian speaker on this issue: if the law does change, let’s not get grumpy about it.

What’s more important is that we conduct ourselves, especially within our marriages, in such a way that the gospel is obvious. Perhaps this change is even needed to highlight the contrast between God’s design for marriage, and what the world often considers marriage to be – an often temporary, subjective, self-serving relationship.

If the law does change, Christian marriage will (should) become weirder and weirder to those around us. Let’s pray that there may be something undeniably attractive in our “weird” marriages because they shine forth something even more wonderful – the good news of Jesus Christ, who became sin for sinners so we might become God’s righteous children.

“Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12 ESV)