The Enemies of Marriage

Title: Three Enemies of Marriage

Text: Hebrews 13:4, Romans 1:26-27

Time: April 7th, 2013



Marriage has been a big topic lately in the news, primarily because of the so-called gay marriage push by activists in the media. The Supreme Court is deciding two big cases that involve same sex marriage, so everyone is talking and thinking about marriage. Unfortunately the direction the conversation is going is all wrong. Most people today see marriage as little more than a social construct, an invention by humans for ordering society.  They fail to recognize that it’s something given by God Almighty. If marriage is something we just made up then of course we are free to amend it in any way we choose. But because marriage isn’t something man-made but something God established a long time ago, then we are not free to simply change it whenever we want. Some people today are actually trying to make the ridiculous argument that so-called gay marriage actually strengthens the institution of marriage! They reason that allowing homosexuals to enter into what we call marriage would increase social stability among gays, just as it increases social stability among heterosexuals. These same people are arguing that conservatives, traditionally opposed to same sex unions and marriages, should actually embrace it because it would strengthen the conservation of the institution itself, especially during a time when standard heterosexual marriages are breaking up at alarming rates. But this logic is so deeply flawed that I want to spend time explaining why, far from strengthening marriage, gay relationships undermine true marriage. But while the solution of gay marriage isn’t a real solution at all, the observation that traditional heterosexual marriage is in trouble today is accurate. The divorce rate is at or near fifty percent nationwide currently. That means half of all marriages will end in divorce. That statistic is alarming, and tragic. How can society survive when marriages are so unstable? It can’t. But why is marriage today so much in a state of chaos? It’s a very complicated problem, but I’d like to come at the problem from three different angles. First, there’s the problem of cohabitation, or in other words, living together by couples without the benefit of marriage. I’ll explore why this simple act of rebellion against God’s moral order undermines marriage and consequently all of society. Second, there’s the problem of divorce. Now some people might wonder whether divorce is really the result of other causes rather than a cause itself for the sad state of marriage today in society. But the no fault laws and how easy it is to divorce actually undermines God’s plan for marriage and society. I’ll try to explain this further. Third, finally, I’ll talk more about how so-called gay marriage undermines real marriage. So let’s turn to the Bible and find out what God has to say about this important topic.


First, cohabitation is a major enemy of marriage as God designed it. Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed be kept pure.” Now there are many couples that actually try to use the argument that they so honor marriage, so respect the institution of holy matrimony that they feel they should wait before they enter into it and see if they are up to the task. So instead of falling in love and then getting married, they instead fall in love and then move in together, in order to determine if a marriage later would work for them. This is a pretty clever argument that fools almost everyone with its logic, but when you get right down to it it’s a lie. It’s a deception couples fool others with, and worst of all, they fool themselves with it. You don’t honor the institution of marriage by undermining it, by substituting a cheap, fake, sham marriage instead, in the place of real marriage. That’s what cohabitation is – a sham and fake marriage substitute. But today one hears very little about the sin of cohabitation. It’s not spoken of in churches; pastors don’t preach against, or even warn people about it anymore. It’s not anything that raises an eyebrow in society generally. In fact, it’s pretty much accepted all over, especially among young people and college students and twenty or thirty-somethings. It’s even getting more popular among older people in their 40s, 50 and beyond, mostly for financial reasons. The main argument for cohabitation is it’s sort of a trial for real marriage; if it works out, then the couple gets marriage; if it doesn’t then they don’t get married. But marriage is a life-long commitment to another person, and you can’t try out a life-long commitment. You either make a life-long promise, or you don’t. If you don’t, then you aren’t “trying out” the marriage commitment. The kinds of things a couple needs to “try out” beforehand don’t require living together, or else God would have arranged for some pre-marital trial institution, and taught it in the Bible. But he didn’t. There’s living as a single person, and then there’s getting married and living as a married person. That’s God’s plan. Cohabitation is an enemy of true marriage because it sets up a fake kinda-sorta marriage that can fool a lot of people into substituting this for the real thing. Marriage is special, a unique kind of relationship reserved for men and women who promise faithfulness to each other. Cohabitation imitates many of the features of real marriage only doesn’t include the promise of life-long faithfulness. Couples get used to the cheap, fake substitute, then when they finally decide they really will get married they have the bad habits of cohabitation patterns that ultimately will work to undermine real marriage. That’s probably why most couples that cohabite and then get married end up divorced at double the normal divorce rate. They’ve been programmed for marriage failure by their cohabitation experience.


Second, divorce is a big enemy of marriage as designed by God. Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” The Bible gives very strict grounds for divorce, such as adultery. Yet today, with no fault divorce, one may divorce for any reason or no reason at all. This is not God’s plan for marriage, that is, for one party to be able to separate and leave a marriage for any of the flimsiest reasons. The traditional marriage vows administered, say for example, in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, illustrates the typical and historical Christian rite: “In the name of God, I take you to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death, This is my solemn vow.” There is a promise of commitment for life. But today, in our modern world where “anything goes,” couples can write their own vows to modify the marriage commitment to say, instead of “until the end of life,” rather “until the end of love.” Meaning, whenever either party falls out of love with the other they are free to divorce. And society has gone along with this modification on the traditional commitment vows of marriage in the name of freedom of expression. The result is that now in all states marriage is easy and common. Now there has always been provision for divorce in the past, because of human sin and frailty. But it was rare, and in some communities almost non-existent. But today, partly because of no fault divorce laws and how easy the process of obtaining a divorce is, it’s common. This is an example of how divorce undermines marriage, or I should say, how easy society makes divorce. Another factor is how easy the church makes divorce. It used to be that churches reinforced the benefits of marriage and discouraged divorced. But today hardly any pastor preaches against divorce. The church, generally speaking, is strangely silent on the subject; partly because it doesn’t want to offend the many persons who are divorced; but also because it’s bought into society’s easy no fault divorce mentality. Some pastors have convinced themselves and their congregations that there really isn’t anything wrong with divorce anyway. This explains in part why Christian marriages are typically more or less as broken as secular unbelieving couples’ marriages. The divorce rate in the Christian community is about the same as that in the secular society. But the Bible states categorically, “God hates divorce,” Malachi 2:16. We can see why. If a couple thinks that divorce is always an option, motivation to make the marriage work is undermined.


Third, same sex marriage is a real enemy of God’s true marriage plan. Romans 1:26-27, “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. . . .” So instead of the godly and natural marital relationship, man and woman in intimacy, they exchanged this for unnatural homosexual relationships, men having sex with men, and women having sex with women. Now it’s bad enough that these same sex relationships exist, but it’s even worse that they are now being elevated to the status of so-called marriage. Society is now being asked to “bless” such wicked and perverse things – and society is blessing them! In a few states same sex marriage is legally recognized and official! There’s a movement that is gaining ground to have the whole nation legalize so-called gay marriage. This must be seen as nothing less than an attack, an assault, an undermining of real marriage. It’s one thing to tolerate such deviant behavior, maybe even accommodate it in some way legally through civil partnerships for the purpose of taxes or insurance, but to elevate it to the status of real marriage by law? Marriage is special, real marriage is special, between a man and a woman. But if same sex marriage is permitted or established in the United States then marriage will no longer be special, in fact, it will be profaned. Real marriage is called “holy matrimony,” but if same sex marriage is established by law then there will be nothing holy about marriage because it will become debased, perverted. Now what’s really tragic is that some churches, many churches, are actually sucked up into the perversion and undermining of real marriage by blessing and even performing same sex marriage ceremonies. The Episcopal Church is a leader in this perverted practice. As more churches are brought into the corruption of marriage we’ll see a repeat of Sodom and Gomorrah, and we’ll see the same kind of judgment that follows. Notice in the passage describing Sodom and Gomorrah in the Old Testament (Genesis 19), judgment came only after homosexuality attacked what was holy, after the gays attacked or attempted to gang rape the holy angels of God. Shortly thereafter judgment came. It’s the same today. The gay activists have infiltrated the Christian church and undermined Christian moral teachings on homosexuality to the point that many pastors and churches actually now bless same sex relationships, even some marrying gay couples in the church. Judgment can’t be far.


There are many factors undermining real holy matrimony today. Far too many to list here today. The fact is marriage is being undermined like never before and there is a question whether the institution can survive at the present rate of decline. For example, in some countries in Europe, marriage is nearly non-existent; couples simply live together and forgo marriage altogether. That could be coming to the United States too. We don’t know what the future holds, but we know that if the present rate of decline in marriage continues there won’t be much left of it in a few decades. That’s why we must do everything we can to strengthen and encourage marriage, not undermine it. Christians who support same sex marriage are undermining real holy matrimony whether they know it or not. They may think that society can do whatever it pleases and it won’t affect Christian marriage at all, but they are wrong. What society is doing does affect the Christian church. We must fight against gay marriage, not only because it’s sinful and wrong, but also because if society goes to full support for gay marriage it will undermine Christian marriage as never before. Some Christians actually think that by supporting gay marriage they’ll win friends in the world that they’ll eventually win to Christ in the future. But we don’t do evangelism by undermining right and wrong, by failing to call sin, sin. Real evangelism happens only when a person realizes that sin is sin, and God is holy. Then the difference between one’s sinfulness and God’s holiness causes conviction and repentance. The grace of God is the remedy for a guilty conscience. Faith in Christ for salvation saves us from our sins. But if we fail to call sin, as in homosexual sin, for example, sin, then we undermine the process of evangelism. Only when we speak honestly of sin can we share the grace of God with integrity. So the solution is for church and pastors and Christians to speak lovingly but firmly about the sin of cohabitation, the sin of divorce, and the sin of homosexuality. Right now the big fight is against same sex marriage. We must speak out against it in order to preserve a standard of marriage that is truly holy matrimony. So-called gay marriage isn’t holy; it has nothing to do with holy; in fact, it’s the opposite of holy. It’s dirty, filthy, perverted and sinful – and we must not be afraid to say so. Maybe you’ve been silent on the whole same sex marriage debate. Maybe you’ve taken a “wait and see” approach. I can assure you if you continue to “wait and see” you’ll be sad by what you see! It won’t strengthen marriage; it might well destroy it completely. Please, don’t let it happen without offering resistance. Pray, witness, speak out. Don’t let marriage go down without a fight.


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