Pastor Ray Ortlund Says Biblical Marriage Is Sacred in God’s Sight and Points Toward the Gospel

Even a troubled marriage is a profound picture pointing toward the Gospel of Jesus, pastor Ray Ortlund said on the first day of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s 2018 national conference.

Ortlund, lead pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, and more than 15 other speakers addressed an audience of about 950 people gathered Thursday (Oct. 11) for “The Cross-shaped Family” at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The three-day event will end Oct. 13.

“Your marriage in the world today is as sacred in the sight of God as the perfect marriage of Adam and Eve back in the garden,” Ortlund told the audience in one of the keynote addresses on the conference’s opening day. “[God] thinks your marriage is worth fighting for.”

Ortlund taught from Genesis 2 and three New Testament passages that quote from that account of God’s creation in explaining how the Bible defines and dignifies marriage. He noted:

— “Every marriage has problems. We’re really not very good at it. But marriage itself is not a problem. According to Genesis 2, God gave us marriage as a remedy.”

— “According to Matthew 19, your at-times disappointing marriage, my at-times disappointing marriage … are no less of God than the marriage of Adam and Eve.”

— “According to 1 Corinthians 6, the risen Christ has made your very body a sacred place here in the brothel of this world.”

— “According to Ephesians 5, people who will never darken the door of a church to hear the Gospel will see the cross-shaped Gospel in your profound marriage.”

Ortlund told attendees, “Your marriage points beyond itself to the glory of Jesus and the ultimate romance [of Christ and His bride, the church]. Your marriage is profound.”

Of the fall of mankind through sin described in Genesis 3, he said, “When God justly kicked us out of the Garden of Eden, He mercifully let us keep marriage. Your marriage is a remnant of Eden.

“On their wedding day, a husband and wife step inside the circle of their one-flesh union, and they become living proof in the world today that the Garden of Eden has not died,” Ortlund said.

The church must maintain the biblical view of marriage as only between a man and a woman, he told the audience.

“If we cave on the Bible’s definition of marriage,” Christians will lose not just a doctrine and some Scripture passages, “we will lose the whole point,” Ortlund said. “We have strong reasons to revere and preserve and rejoice in the biblical vision of marriage.”

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Source: Baptist Press