Why Same-Sex Marriage Perverts the Relationship Between Christ and His Church
We are hearing, reading and talking a lot about same-sex marriage these days, particularly in light of the fact that the President of the United States of America has made it known that he personally supports extending to homosexual persons the right to enter into legally binding and legally recognized marriages. I’m pretty much convinced that same-sex marriage is inevitable, and it is just a matter of time before it becomes legal, or “civil unions” that are akin to marriage. The question appears not to be “if” this will happen, but only “when.” I have heard some Christians, even those who oppose same-sex marriage, personally. give a verbal shrug about the issue, resigning themselves to the invetibaility of it. But, even if it is something that will become part of our culture and society, the Church must continue, vigorously, to oppose it. There are many reasons, of course and there are many and various opinions being expressed.
I do not however often hear observations that take into account how, and why, same-sex marriage represents a fundamental perversion of the relationship between Christ and His Church. To me, this is the most significant reason to oppose same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage does more simply than corrupt the divinely instituted state of marriage as the life long union of one man and one woman. Nowhere in Scripture are sexual relationships, of any kind, condoned outside this “one flesh” union, as Christ Himself refers to it (see Mt 19:3-9; Mk 10:2-12).
But why? Further revelation through the Apostle Paul clarifies this question, quite precisely: because marriage, ultimately, is intended to be a one-flesh union between man and woman that typifies, or pictures to the world, the relationship between Christ and His church. It is through the fruit of marriage, children, that God blesses the whole world and provides for Himself more people for the kingdom of Christ and His Church. It may truly be said that marriage is sacramental, of a sort: through physical and tangible relationships between men and women, in marriage, God is pouring out His gifts and blessings on the whole world.
Same-sex marriage represents a profoundly corrupt and evil distortion of the relationship between Christ and His Church. For it is precisely that relationship that Christian marriages are instituted and called upon to reflect: both within the marriage itself and as a witness to others around the Christian married couple. St. Paul speaks of this unique and special aspect of Christian marriage in his letter to the Ephesians, chapter five. Consider with me, very carefully, how Paul discusses the nature of human sexuality, and human sexual relationships, in these words:
Be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things yhe wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 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 jwith the word, o 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. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, ecause we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Do you notice how St. Paul frames his words? “Be imitators of God” and concluded with the comment it is precisely in Christian marriage that we see this “imitation of God.” How so? Wives are to submit to their husbands, as the Church submits to Christ, and husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.
When a man and a man enter into a sexual relationship it represents both a perversion of God’s original Creation and the New Creation that is made ours through Christ as we are drawn into relationship with Him through the Church. The nature of homosexual acts themselves reflect the deep self-centered perversion of human sexuality that St. Paul condemns here in this text as “impure.” It represents a complete falling away from what was both created “in the beginning” as Christ asserts and what has been recreated by Christ Himself through the washing of water with the Word.
And so, as we consider same-sex marriage, let’s also consider the unique meaning of marriage for Christian people and how God intends marriage to be the public witness to the world of the relationship between Christ and His Church. Such a witness is both physically and spiritually impossible when homosexuals indulge in those things that “must not even be named, as is proper among the saints.”