Protecting True Marriage: What Should Motivate Us
“Embracing the Like-Opposite”
Pastor Louis Prontnicki
September 24, 2013 (Given at the Fort Washington Holiday Inn)
There are many good reasons why we should work for the protection of true marriage.
Allow me to suggest the most glorious reason.
Imagine you are an artist, and you adore your wife and you love your children and your grandchildren, and you want everyone else to know how much you love them. So you paint a huge mural on the side of your house, and it shows in great detail the faces of all the people you love. There are scenes in the mural of you with your grandchildren on your lap; there are scenes with you with your arms wrapped around your adult children; and there is a scene with you and you wife, embracing, with big smiles on your faces. And there are scenes of the whole family gathering joyously for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays.
Everyone who passes by that mural stops and admires those scenes and say, “What a loving husband and father and grandfather! It’s obvious how much he cares for them and adores them!”
But then one night, someone comes by and defaces your mural. He paints beards on all the women, draws horns on the men, and scrawls curse words all over it.
How would you feel the next morning when you saw? You’d be outraged! You would be so upset that someone had perverted your beautiful mural, which displayed your love.
That’s how God feels when people deface His mural of marriage. Why? Why is the design of marriage as one man and one woman so important to Him? Here’s the crux of the matter:
Because God designed marriage to display His amazing love and grace to all mankind.
He wants the world to see the glorious truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ exhibited in the covenant relationship between one man and one woman.
And that raises a question: What is it about the marriage of one man and one woman that uniquely displays the Gospel? Why can’t the loving relationship of two men or of two women display the truth of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church? (Tim and Kathy Keller have answered that in their book “The Meaning of Marriage.”) Let me present their points as scenes in God’s mural of marriage:
1. The first scene in this marriage mural is that our God-given gender, as male and female, constitute our identity. Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” In the core of our beings we have been made as either male or female. My gender and your gender is not a social construct; it is not what I feel it should be, any more than you and I could choose to be a horse or a bird. God has made us distinctively male and female, and to blur or invert that distinction is not only to rebel against God’s design; it is also to further deface the image of God in you.
So picture God creating us as male and female as the basic background to this mural.
2. The second scene in this marriage mural is that as male and female, we have been created wonderfully different than each other. “Men are from Mars, and women are from Venus, right?” We see this in 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. It’s as if they said, “He needs a woman’s touch.”
In God’s wisdom, He made a woman both to be like the man, and yet also to be the complementary opposite of him. She was made in God’s image, with equal dignity and standing, but at the same time she was different than he was, in order to complete him.
God sketched us on his mural as males and females who are “Like Opposites” to one another. A man and a woman are like two pieces of a puzzle that can fit together precisely because they are not alike. It is only when our complementary parts are “matched up” that we can complete the puzzle. Or think about the male and female ends of two garden hoses, how they are “Like Opposites.” Now you begin to see on God’s mural this dynamic, this exciting tension, as the two main characters in the painting are like one another, but opposite each other.
3. The third scene in this marriage mural is when this one man and this one woman, who are “like-opposites” to each other, are brought together in the covenant of marriage. Here is what God wants us to see as we look at His mural of true marriage: The Good News of salvation through Jesus is best displayed in the marriage bond of two people who are “like-opposite” to each other. That is, God gives opposite identities and roles to the man and the woman, in order to picture some glorious truths about the gospel.
The Lord says to the husband: “I want your sacrificial and loving leadership to give people a picture of how My Son came to earth to sacrificially lead and love His bride, the church.”
The Lord says to the wife: “I want your submission, respect and obedience to your husband to show to the world how Christ’s bride honors and obeys Christ, and is made holy by His love.”
Now, do you see how only two people who are “Like Opposites” can fulfill those roles? Only a man and a woman, who have been created by God as “Like Opposites” can demonstrate the role of Christ on the one hand, and the role of the Bride of Christ, the Church, on the other hand.
Therefore, when anyone seeks to change what marriage is- through polygamy or through same sex marriage- he is not simply eroding the foundations of society and family; he is defacing the magnificent mural of God’s love and salvation, as portrayed in a true marriage.
Look with me at this third scene from another angle: God’s Son is our holy creator, while you and I are sinful creatures. We are very much opposites. But when God’s Son became a man at the incarnation, He became “Like us,” taking on our flesh and blood. Why? So that at the cross, Christ, the sacrificial bridegroom, embraced us as His “Like- Opposite” bride. That’s the wonder of the Gospel! That’s the mural that we must not let be defaced and marred!
There’s another perspective in God’s mural as to why marriage can only exist between two people who are “like opposite” to each other. It’s because this “like opposite” dynamic is one of the chief ways that God exposes our sin and selfishness and also makes us holy.
You see, one of the reasons that makes homosexual love so “attractive” is how much easier it is to relate to someone of your own gender, right? But God deliberately designed the most intimate of relationships to be between two people who are “like opposite” to each other! Why? So that such a marriage would be a means of exposing how selfish we both are; yet, in the secure bond of a marriage covenant, we would be able to grow in His grace, as we learn to love and appreciate a person who is the puzzle piece opposite of me! (Think of a file sharpening your kitchen knife.) Such “like-opposites” help us mature in holiness in ways no other experience can, and it brings about deep unity, because of the profound like-oppositeness between the sexes.
This is the deepest motive for protecting true marriage: Because God’s glory is at stake.
If we do not, not only will children and society suffer, but it will also cause us and others to not see God as we ought to. It will leave that awful graffiti on His beautiful mural. We will be tolerating a false view of God, promoting a distorted gospel, and failing to cling to His mercy and grace.
Therefore I urge you to work for the protection of true marriage, for the glory of God and for the spread of His wonderful gospel! Thank you.