By Scott Patty
Pastor, Grace Community Church, Nashville
Two obvious reasons to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman include loyalty to Jesus and faithfulness to the Bible passages about marriage. But there is another reason: for the clarity of the gospel.
The one human relationship given to us to illustrate the gospel message and the relationship between Jesus and the church is marriage. The Apostle Paul said the mystery of marriage is deep and profound and that it refers to Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-33).
Paul specifically draws on the unique roles of the husband/man and wife/woman in marriage to communicate key aspects of the relationship between Christ and the church. The husband loves his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. The wife submits to the husband as the church submits to Christ, who is its Savior.
God designed the husband/wife union called marriage to illustrate on earth what is in heaven — the eternal plan of God to save a people for Himself called the church. The gospel came first (I Corinthians 2:7), and marriage followed to illustrate the gospel.
If we change this illustration of the gospel, we cannot avoid changing the message of the gospel. If marriage is between a woman and a woman, who will show the saving service of Jesus illustrated by the husband? If marriage is between a man and a man, who will show the submission of the church illustrated by the wife?
Changing the illustration will confuse the message it is designed to make clear. And when the message is not clear, we will reshape it to our liking. The affirmation of same-sex marriage will lead to the affirmation of ways to God other than the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ and personal repentance and faith in Him.
We gladly affirm the gospel of salvation in Christ and the biblical illustration of that gospel of the marriage between a man and a woman.
— Patty is pastor of Grace Community Church, Nashville.