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Who owns the right to marry?

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A few days ago, Ireland became the first official country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote.

It seems as if the trend of society leans toward public opinion and away from traditional authority. A poster at a recent rally for marriage equality said: “If I like it, I should be allowed to put a ring on it!”

The irreligious world says that the church should stop being so selfish with its beliefs that marriage is restricted to be between a man and a woman. After all, it doesn’t affect traditional marriages does it? Society will be just fine won’t it? We have to love everyone equally don’t we?

Responding to this, fundamentalist Christians declare the church’s ownership of the marriage covenant. God gave us the rights to marry – you can’t redefine it because you don’t own it. We do.

So who’s right? Interestingly enough, the bible doesn’t lean either way. The gospel shows us a union with Christ that the apostle Paul calls the true marriage (see Ephesians 5). Believe it or not, God designed human marriages around the ultimate marriage between Christ and the church!

Through our union with Christ, we are justified and adopted. We are saved, and our salvation is a gift of God (see Ephesians 2). We don’t have any reason to boast of our salvation because it’s not our salvation! In the same way, marriage between man and woman are a gift from God.

Christian, you don’t have the rights to marriage, you have the privilege to marry. As we engage with the secular world and its progressive view of religion and marriage, we can’t be proud, for we too can’t truly comprehend the mystery of marriage (Ephesians 5:32). Don’t hear me say that the church has no say in marriage. We must stand up for what we believe if marriage truly is something ordained by God.

Imagine if you made a gift for someone you love. Imagine writing a song for your boyfriend or girlfriend where all the lyrics and sounds fit together so beautifully that it comes together as a musical masterpiece. Imagine now if someone else came along and changed the lyrics because it didn’t serenade enough people; changed the music because it didn’t include this instrument. It would be wrong, and you would be angry.

Marriage must be defended for what it is instead of twisted, but when fighting for truth, humble methods are more effective in persuasion than the most accurate doctrines. Loving Jesus is the key to transforming your current, your future or your friends’ marriages. Through strengthening your relationship with Christ and building your character, society will have nothing to say (1 Peter 3:15-16).

The world might actually consider us being right.

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