The answer to the discussion on marriage must surely come from Jesus, who is the bridge between the Old and New Testaments. Here, in Mark, he gives the basic construct of marriage, with reference to the first prophecy in Genesis, given by Adam.
The Pharisees came and asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” testing Him. And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.” And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
You notice how the Pharisees used this question to test Jesus, knowing, even in that era, that it was a tricky question, one which they might use to attempt to stumble Jesus or force him into an area of discussion which would make him look insensitive to the needs of others, or overly judgemental.
Today, Christians are being tested in a similar way by liberal thought as it backs the homosexual lobby, which is seriously pressing for what they term ‘equal marriage’, as if marriage in itself isn’t at this stage equal, being defined as between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others. Pressing for ‘equal marriage’, however, is a clever, well orchestrated ploy, and one which appeals to those who are not as devout in their conviction as those who hold to the tenets of the faith as handed down in the canon of scripture, what we might term fundamental believers, also considered conservative Christians.
Being conservative, or holding fundamental beliefs is, in the current political climate, considered extreme in some quarters, yet the Word declares itself to be unchanging, eternal and fixed, which indicates that God has not changed his mind. As confirmation, he demonstrates his singleness of purpose in this when he says he is ‘Yahweh Who Changes Not’. So he doesn’t change, but there may be some things which we need to change to match his design and purpose for us.
It could be said then that God has fundamental views and is conservative, and his ways reflect this, as do his thoughts. Why should he have to change? He is God. Does God make mistakes he has to rectify? No, it is we who need to change to meet his consistency of purpose and design. This reveals him to be uniform, organised, ordered and decisive rather than out of touch or in need of constant change to follow the trends, fashions and whims of the world. He leads. He does not follow.
So how do we know which things change and which do not, since it is evident that God introduced a better covenant based on better promises when we entered the New Testament? Well, surely by confirmation in the New Testament of what God spoke in the Old.
So, here in Mark chapter 10, Jesus reminds us that God’s intentions for marriage were revealed way back in Genesis, when Moses wrote that God made us male and female, and Adam announced that ‘a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’.
Here then is the God-revealed intention for marriage, ratified clearly and concisely by Jesus who refers to Genesis to bring us up to date. In other words, God has not changed his mind on marriage from his original statements – that he made us male and female, and we would be joined as one flesh.
Even divorce was added through the lawyers because of the hardness of their hearts. It was never God’s intention to permit divorce. He said no one should divide husband and wife, not even to separate themselves because of their own issues or reluctance to work out their marriage, but to submit themselves to one another in love and humility under the mighty hand of God, who would surely bring healing to any struggling relationship provided the participants were willing to submit to his will and his instruction.
So now we have a push for a change in the basic constitution of marriage to accommodate what God never intended at any time, either Biblically under either covenant, or practically, through the creation, or socially. For the hardness of the hearts of self-proclaimed progressives this change will probably be instituted and enshrined in law, but it will never be ratified by God.
He has not and will not change his mind. He will not be in that false marriage as he is in the marriage between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others. That arrangement cannot be considered ‘equal marriage’ in the sight of God. The equality of marriage can only be God’s intended union between a man and a woman.
Jesus goes on to remind us that a person who divorces and remarries commits adultery. This doesn’t sound like a ratification of the Pharisaic or Mosaic decision to grant divorce to me. These divorces became separations of convenience by men with false intent. Some forms of compromise lead to diminishing of purpose. For a Christian divorce should be avoided unless they are unequally yoked to an unbeliever, or to an adulterer, which is the same thing, since no adulterer could be considered a disciple of Christ.
There is no precedent for homosexual or lesbian marriage. It is an oxymoron. It is unbiblical. Marriage is and can only be what it is – the union of a man and a woman as one flesh.
It could be said that any change in law to redefine marriage to include same-sex partners is, in a way, coming between the man and the woman in marriage. ‘What God has joined together let no man separate’. God has joined together male and female. The push for other gender equations is a pulling apart of God’s original plan for marriage between a husband and his wife.
He makes them one flesh. He joins them together. He ratifies and confirms their marriage in the wedding bed, which is, in a male and female marriage, undefiled. Woe to the person who comes between this arrangement by any means.
Marriage as it is must be guarded and kept. It is precious and holy, not only to Christians and the other Abrahamic belief systems, but to God himself, as confirmed by Jesus.