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It seems that everyone has an opinion about Gay Marriage, and these opinions are rarely ambivalent. Christians have (and rightly so) been outspoken in their opposition to a redefinition of marriage. This recasting of the institution of marriage is not, we would argue, a progressive and healthy advancement but rather a disastrous detour from what biblical, therefore, right and good.

At the same time and while marriage is on the front burner, particularly the undermining of God’s plan for it, let me ask a question. Are Gay and Lesbians the only ones who undermine God’s plan for marriage?

The answer is, “Of course not!” Just because you are hetero-sexual does not mean that you are reflecting God’s plan for marriage. You don’t get a pass just on marriage because you are not Gay. The basis of a marriage reflecting God’s plan is how it reflects the gospel. In other words a marriage is reflective of God’s plan in so far as it reflects the marriage between Jesus the husband and the church the bride.

This is where it gets quite personal for us inside the Christian camp. God’s plan for marriage includes the following:

Love: Your marriage is to reflect the joyful sacrifice and service of your spouse in order that they might be blessed. This service and sacrifice is to reflect Jesus’ sacrifice and service of you in the gospel. This obviously excludes the selfishness that plagues far too many of our marriages.

Confession: This is the willingness to call sin what God calls it and to admit that we have done it to one another. Confession of sin is the precursor to the display of mercy and grace. Christian marriages are to be characterized by humble confession of sin rather than prideful defending of ourselves.

Forgiveness: This is a hallmark of Christianity and so therefore a hallmark of Christian marriages. How can a marriage that is characterized by anger, bitterness, resentment, and strife be reflective of the gospel of grace.

Distinction of Roles: Husbands and Wives have equal access to God, standing before God, joy in God and acceptance from God. There is no distinction of status (Gal. 3.28) but there are distinction of roles. The Christian husband is the loving leader of his wife who willfully lays his own life down for her while serving his wife in sanctification (Eph. 5.25-33). The Christian wife is to lovingly submit to her husband in a manner that reflects Christ’s willful submission to his Father (1 Cor. 11). This respectful, honoring, posture of love between joint heirs of grace is to be continually reflecting Christ’s love in the gospel.

These are just *some* of the distinctivess of Christian marriage. In so far as we do not love one another, blur roles, or deal unbiblically with sin—then we are undermining God’s plan for marriage.

If we really want to promote God’s plan for marriage we should start with our own. If we really want to protest the rampant undermining of marriage–gay or straight–we can start with our own. What a radical idea of protest! Have a marriage that is completely countercultural!

Far too many Christians are sharpshooters, adeptly able to pick off the various cultural perversions upon marriage without taking inventory of their own house. This does not mean that we should be silent until we have the perfect marriage, it just means that we should not act like we are all about God’s plan for marriage when we ourselves, are not. Because it vividly promotes the gospel, Christians are to passionately promote God’s plan for marriage, starting with our own.

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21 thoughts on “Straight, Bible-Believing Christians Can Undermine God’s Plan for Marriage Too”

  1. Sarah says:

    Thanks for your article – I think our marriages can be a beautiful reflection of God’s love and design and we should focus on that more – but are you saying that a heterosexual marriage may be able to not reflect God’s plan for marriage at all?

    Because I think that a marriage, by virtue of being between a man and a woman, does reflect the base or foundation of God’s plan for marriage in the Bible, from the verses you’ve quoted. If it embodies the characteristics you have mentioned, then a marriage not only reflects the foundation of God’s plan but also his intention that it be full, satisfying and joyfully Gospel focused. I think there are two levels, or intensity of reflection there.

  2. Adam Ford says:

    This is so good, man. Thanks for this post.

    1. Naomi says:

      It is. So many marriages between a man and a woman occur on the basis of so many selfish reasons (lust, control, fear, money, etc.), losing all revelance to the purpose God has for it and us. I am guilty of this sin and grateful for the devastating ending of my ignorance and selfishness (divorce), as it pointed me in the right direction. To God.

  3. Linda says:

    I often quip that homosexuality didn’t destroy my marriage–adultery did. I think back to when I got married in 1980 at age 25. I was a pew-sitter without a solid relationship with and knowledge of God. I did not choose my marriage partner well. He was cute, fun to be with, financially sound–and I figured any problems that would come up would be worked out. After our first child was born, my husband’s behavior became mentally, emotionally, and sexually abusive. I noticed a pattern with other relationships where someone would be his friend, but then it would fall apart, my ex claiming the person was “worthless.” I began to feel I was worthless to him, and after 18 years of marriage, he left me for a younger woman.

    I still struggle at times with my part in the destruction of my marriage. I wasn’t a godly wife and did not treat my husband the way he should have been treated. For most of my marriage, I tried to be the wife he wanted me to be instead of the wife God wanted me to be. When I finally made the decision to be a godly wife, it was too late to salvage my marriage.

    God has blessed me with several friends whose marriages are an example of what a godly marriage is like. While I am happy for them, it also grieves me at times that I was not able to experience that because of my own willfulness, lack of wisdom, and not putting God in the center of our marriage.

    1. Naomi says:

      God bless you. So many of us have lived your story.

    2. Princess says:

      Linda, don’t blame yourself so much. Nothing you could have done would have changed a narcissist, except, perhaps he would have left sooner.

  4. Phil says:

    Hi there Erik

    Considering that a non-Christian couple are not actively seeking to mirror the life of the Christ-Church distinctive and all that follows from that, in your further points; what could be said about these marriages in light of your title?

  5. Chuckt says:

    Genesis 2:18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (C) NIV

    God brought the animals to Adam and they weren’t suitable and God did not bring a man to Adam. God brought a woman to Adam and that was suitable.

    The other issue is that some people for whatever reason don’t have the hormones for sex which is why the other partners stray and if you think about it, those who can abstain for sex are in the church which can spell disaster for a Christian.

  6. Jeremy Long says:

    Thanks Erik, this is right on. We could all do a little more introspection rather than focus on the world’s perversion, that nature to which it’s a slave to regardless of legislation.

  7. Sherry says:

    As a Christian, this all sounds fine and dandy but the only part that I am always bothered by is this notion that both the wife and man are equal BUT (and there’s always this unnerving but), she is to submit always. The man is always made to be the leader and I think that is the one part that I can never agree on when it comes to following Christian views. How is that equal?

  8. Jonathan says:

    Does The Gospel Coalition have an editor? Who is the audience you are trying to reach, Mr. Raymond? Every Gospel loving, Christ embracing Christian knows they are a sinner in need of Christ. It is no surprise that ALL are sinners. Your article is weak and immature. Do not mistake my reaction to your piece as anything but anger. It is controlled, but it is anger. We are all called to repent, yes. It is our calling as individuals who claim faith in Christ to be gracious in our dealings with others. But how dare you seek to entice sinners who have no desire to repent to feel comfortable in their sin because even Christians living obediently sin. How dare you.

  9. peter joseph says:

    The main problem in western world is division of spiritual and secular. The secularist wants to bring the bill in the parliament to accept all individuals irrespective of sex orientation. This is directly denying his divine trinity. In bible, we can see mystery related to marriage union of husband and wife, , trinity and salvation which has been hidden but revealed through Jesus Christ. Trinity has three important components: unity in diversity, Equality in dignity and .diversity in operation. The same can be visually seen in marriage that has been instituted in Eden garden. If marriage has been demoralised then this is equivalent to derelict his divine characteristics. God has created as in His image as an individual and brought them together in the marriage to reflect His characters to this world. Two shall be one – Echad. The word has been mentioned to explain God and Marriage. Marriage is already defined and , described. There is no need to redefine but we have to live together and reflect that we are carrying God’s representing His image in our life as an individual and family.

  10. Elvis A says:

    I second Jonathan and I am absolutely appalled with by the shallowness of the article. Arguing from the contrary that because current marriages are in disarray and consequently Christians have not right defend the Biblical position of what is normative is very disingenuous and weakens our position. What happened to taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ . Lord helps us!

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Erik Raymond

Erik Raymond is senior pastor of Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha, Ne. He and his wife Christie have six children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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