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God’s Reason for Only Heterosexual Marriage

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God’s Reason for Only Heterosexual Marriage

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God’s Reason for Only Heterosexual Marriage

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What about the God-ordained role of the sexes? What is the God-ordained meaning of marriage? This message reinforces the reason for heterosexual marriage—despite what laws in various countries may say otherwise, or even penalize for preaching about.

Transcript

[Mr. Peter Eddington]: Hello everyone. Happy Sabbath to all of you. Great to be here with you in the PM today with my wife, Terri. I hope you had a great week. A little bit of snow on the horizon for tomorrow maybe. We'll see. We've gotten off easy this winter so far, haven't we? But that's winter for you. And thank you, Mr. McClenagan. Really appreciate the special music. Duncan is a computer expert in our IT department and an artist on the side. He does a very good job with his music, and we certainly appreciate the special music today. So, thanks very much, Duncan.

It's been a busy week in media for us here at the Home Office, and will be for the next several weeks, a month or two, because we're getting ready to plan out 2022-2023 projects and operation plan and strategic plan. So, getting ready for that before the Council of Elders arrive in town the end of next month. So, a busy time.

Some of us read the newspaper ads we've been running. We did three campaigns before the Feast and we're in the middle of three campaigns now in Jan, Feb, March. Once we get through those we will send a report out for those who have been asking how we're doing. We've had thousands of requests come in for booklets, for the magazine, and we'll get a more full report out for you soon, once we get through the last half of this whole campaign.

A new Canadian law went into effect last week which threatens to criminalize Christianity across the nation. It's called Bill C-4. I'm going to read some news stories a little bit here to begin the sermon, and explain to you what Bill C-4 is. Bill C-4, which now is in effect as of last week in Canada, bans homosexual conversion therapy. And it's so broad – the bill – that it defines biblical marriage itself and sexuality as a myth. This is Canadian law and can be used against pastors, parents and counselors who either speak against homosexuality, or speak for the biblical definition of marriage, or who counsel a person to adhere to the biblical lifestyle.

Andrew DeBartolo of Encounter Church in Kingston, Ontario wrote in a letter to John MacArthur. You may have heard of John MacArthur. He's the leader of Grace Community Church in California – a megachurch in California. So, Andrew DeBartolo wrote to MacArthur and said, “This means, as of January 8, 2022, it will be against the law in Canada to preach, teach, or counsel regarding God's design for marriage and sexuality.” That's the end of the quote. So, the controversial bill was passed without opposition from either Canadian political party, and threatens imprisonment of up to five years for anyone teaching the biblical view of marriage. So, DeBartolo continued his letter to MacArthur: “Everyone who knowingly causes another person to undergo conversion therapy – including by providing conversion therapy to that other person – is guilty of an indictable offense and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years.” That's the end of the quote.

So, pastors across Canada are planning to preach on God's design for marriage as a biblical ethic of sexuality on Sunday, January 16. And it's in protest of the new law, an effort lead by Liberty Coalition Canada. So that's tomorrow – that these pastors are doing this. Michael Thiessen, a pastor at a Baptist church in Ontario, Canada, is the leader of Liberty Coalition. And he said: “The threat of imprisoning pastors, parents, counselors, teachers and anyone for that matter who affirm God's anatomical design for the sexes, and His plan for human sexuality, and counsels others to pursue obedience to that end is a serious matter. It is an attack upon religious liberties and, more than that, it is a direct attack upon God's moral character and upon His word.” That's the end of that quote.

So, Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community in California is also now calling on US pastors to sign up and join him and other faith leaders. And he asks, “Will you stand with me and our Canadian brothers and confront, in a spirit of love and mercy, the damning sins legalized in our culture? And will you join the nationwide effort to preach on a biblical view of sexual morality on January 16, and proclaim the gospel of salvation that is now criminalized?” That is the end of the quote I have from his letter.

With the passage of Bill C-4, which is loosely called the “conversion therapy ban,” is a great deal of concern among many Canadian churches. And in a letter published by Liberty Coalition Canada, they said, “This bill's wording is sufficiently broad to allow for the criminal prosecution of Christians who would speak biblical truth into the lives of those in bondage to sexual sins like homosexuality and transgenderism. Even a mother or father, who offers their children freedom from sexual sin through repentance and faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, could be threatened with five years in jail if they're found out.” End quote. And then the letter continues with a rebuke of the Canadian members of Parliament, who unanimously rushed Bill C-4 through the House of Commons last month, without any debate or public input. And Coalition Canada continues, “It is important to note that they – our MP's – have also committed high blasphemy by referring to biblical teaching as myths in this legislation. We all must, therefore, tremble to consider what terrifying judgments will be visited upon our nation for this bold gesture of hatred towards the Most High God.” End quote.

Let me read you just a couple of paragraphs from Bill C-4 – straight from the bill. First, from the preamble: “Conversion therapy causes harm to society because, among other things, it is based on and propagates myths and stereotypes about sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, including the myth that heterosexuality is to be preferred over other sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.” And then quoting from section 320.102 from the bill: “Everyone who knowingly causes another person to undergo conversion therapy — including by providing conversion therapy to that other person — is guilty of an indictable offense and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years.” So even a parent, who counsels their children to follow the biblical way of marriage, is at risk. So, this is Canada. But many Western countries already have; or soon will have; similar laws on the books.

The gender and identity wars that are rolling through society are turning upside down the norms and the traditional teaching about gender. Everywhere now we hear about identity. Political identity. Race identity. Gender identity. Sexual identity. Sexual orientation. And what has happened? People have divided into groups and sub-groups. And sexual identity, in particular, has been very contentious. It's also defiantly against the Bible. God created humanity as male and female. There is a divine Godly order to creation. And the newest identity talk contradicts directly what God has revealed in His Word. We're dealing with a global challenge that intersects all the fundamental building blocks of a functioning society. And the sexual identity issue will destroy nations. It's perhaps the biggest adversary that the United States, Canada and Australia face today.

There was a US Supreme Court decision made back in June of 2020 – so about eighteen months ago. You may recall the Supreme Court of the United States redefined the meaning of the word sex. They decreed that sex means more than genes and DNA. Sex, as now interpreted by the Supreme Court, means preference – whatever you may feel like at any given time, that's your sex. And it was a sweeping ruling that is impacting all parts of American culture, from schools and businesses to churches and restrooms. The Supreme Court crossed a line into the realm of God and has interfered with the biblically established divine order of life itself. God made humans in His image declaring them male and female, with distinctive biological and even spiritual roles. Without a hint of God's will or purpose mentioned in their ruling, the Supreme Court rendered a debasing and unrighteous decision on sexual morality that will further erode America's moral and spiritual culture – and other nations as a result that follow suit. And the decision does invite judgment – divine judgment – on people that do not wish to keep God in their knowledge.

On Thursday evening, Mark Welch, the operation manager for Ministerial & Member Services here, sent a note out to all the ministry and asked us to preach on marriage – not on Sunday – not tomorrow – like the others are doing, but on the Sabbath this week or the next, if we could. So, with this background here today, I'm going to talk about the God-ordained role of the sexes, the God-ordained meaning of marriage. As we move through the sermon, I want to lay the groundwork for a message which reinforces the true reason – the true reason – for heterosexual marriage, despite what laws and what countries may say otherwise – or even penalize for preaching about. This is our stand on the truth of the gospel in Scripture.

I've titled the message “God's Reason for Only Heterosexual Marriage.” God's reason for only heterosexual marriage. I have five very direct points to cover that are fairly simple. I would like to state upfront that I understand many people are struggling with their sexual identity – at least some are. I understand that a percentage of our population, and even of our church, struggle with same-sex attraction and even transgender feelings. Those are topics to be discussed for another day and need to be handled with care and compassion and grace. But here today, we're going to study what God intended – what God intended in a perfect world, which is a world we are all heading towards – God's perfect eternal Kingdom.

The hope for a happy, fulfilling marriage to the person you most deeply love is one of the most entrenched desires of men and women. As teenagers grow into adolescents, they start to dream of a mate, wondering what it would be like to be married. And no doubt some teens here today are imagining the time when they will fall in love with someone – someone of the opposite sex. It's normal. Happily sharing our hopes, dreams, fortunes and the breadth of life experiences in the most intimate way is one of the most fulfilling endeavors of life. But the sermon today is not about how to have a happy marriage or how to raise kids. No, it's about the spiritual significance of marriage between a man and a woman, and why to violate that is a curse to society.

From the beginning, God revealed marriage as a special union between a man and a woman, because, to put it bluntly, that was the way to have children – to go forth and multiply. Sex between a male and a female, united in marriage, produces children within that family. Yet the benefits of traditional marriage extend beyond just reproduction – way beyond that. Studies continue to show how men and women generally live longer and have happier lives when married to someone of the opposite sex. And in traditional unions like that, children likewise generally grow up more socially adept and financially successful than children who grow up in alternative arrangements. There definitely is a strong social case to be made for traditional monogamous marriage between one man and one woman. Experience has shown time and time again how biblical guidelines for relationships and parenting are the ones that work best.

So, I've got five points, and the first one is: There are rules for marriage. There are rules for marriage. To begin with here, right out of the box, we must acknowledge that many people aren't sure whether God really exists, or whether His instructions are even relevant for today. Some people believe human beings came to existence by evolutionary forces, following blind natural selection – survival of the fittest. And this theory postulates that people are simply a higher level of animals and there are no spiritual laws to guide human conduct – no requirement that sexual relations be solely within marriage. And, of course, in our publications here in the church, we've written extensively on this destructive theory – the destructive lie of evolution. Experimenting from this perspective, or because they simply didn't want to follow biblical instructions, men and women throughout the ages have tried many different sexual relationships, including premarital sex – which the Bible teaches against – adultery, once again, polygamy, which is one man having many wives. They've tried polyandry which is one woman having many husbands. They've tried homosexuality. They've tried group marriages. And today, premarital sex, adultery, homosexual relationships have all gained greater acceptance, challenging and undermining traditional marriage. And now there is the confusion of transgender sexual relationships. Is it now a heterosexual relationship or a homosexual relationship? It depends on who you feel you are at the moment. It changes, depending on what you feel you are.

The assumption among many, including governments and judges legislating acceptance of all views, all practices and lifestyles, is that all choices are equal. If there are no rules, people can do whatever they want. And sadly, the approach of doing anything you feel you want may seem as a superior method to all others – a superior thought to think like that. But there are rules for marriage, as we will see here. So, that's our first simple point – there are rules for marriage.

Number two: We are designed for marriage by God. We are designed for marriage by God. With all the sexual experimentation, almost everyone wants the same good life, including children. It's as though people have been psychologically wired to desire marriage and family, for the most part. Like I said, our teens and young adults, that is kind of a desire – to get married, have kids and have a family. We're wired like that. Why? Why are humans predominantly wired like that? Is it possible that we were designed this way from the beginning by our Creator? That's what He intended. What would have happened to the human race, beginning with Adam and Eve, if men and women had not been created with a desire for sexual activity? For family? For procreation? Longing for intimacy, both emotionally and physically, with another person and desiring offspring? What if God had not wired us like that? Adam and Eve may have been the first and last couple, and we wouldn't be here. Was it pure chance that things worked out like they have and we're all sitting here today? Was it evolution? The survival of the fittest? Were we simply lucky? Well, for those that have eyes to see, these inborn traits are simply additional indicators among many that all point to the inescapable fact that humanity was designed and crafted by God. And that takes us back to Genesis, chapter 1.

Let's go there now to Genesis 1 and let's just read verses 27 and 28, because marriage was designed and created by God. It is not a man-made institution. It was designed by God, not by men – Genesis 1:27 Genesis 1:27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
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Genesis 1:27-28 Genesis 1:27-28 [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. [28] And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
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“So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.’” We all know what be fruitful and multiply means, don't we?

The Bible explains here how we were made in God's own image. We're not just a higher form of animal. No, we're made in the image of God, meaning not just in a general appearance, but with minds to think and a conscience. We can think about the future. We can plan. Animals can't do that. And an important principle is revealed here, in verse 27, that is critical in a marriage and family. And that is human life is patterned after spiritual, non-physical, unseen realities. We're made in the image of God – the invisible God – as is marriage and family. There are spiritual thoughts behind it. Just as human beings are made in the image of God, marriage and family are patterned after spiritual concepts, which we'll see more as we go along here. It's not all because of some kind of evolution. It's not a man-made construct. To understand why marriage was designed by the Creator, why the spiritual significance of marriage and family, we have to turn to God for those answers – to learn what He had in mind in making the human race. And when we read through the Bible, we learn of a plan God had not only for Adam and Eve – the first human beings – but for all of humanity – a plan for every person who has ever lived, or whoever will live. And we find that human marriage and family reflect this plan, as we'll see. It was determined before Adam and Eve. It was determined before the foundation of the world – how this would all work.

Go to John 1, and read verses 10 through 12 for a moment. Turn over to John 1, if you would. The apostle John wrote his gospel to prove to his own people, the Jews, and to all of humanity today, that Jesus was indeed God. And then he adds a reason why – John 1:10 John 1:10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
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– it says,

John 1:10-12 John 1:10-12 [10] He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. [11] He came to his own, and his own received him not. [12] But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
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– “He,” – Jesus – “was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own,” – the Jews – “but His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God.” – To those who believe in His name. So why? To become children of God. That's the ultimate purpose for humanity. That's why Jesus came into the world. That phrase tells us God is creating His own family.

Look at Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
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, because other passages certainly reveal this same astounding truth. Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
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is actually part of the vision statement that we have for the United Church of God.

Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
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– “For it is fitting for Him for whom are all things and by whom are all things in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” So here we read how Jesus was, and continues to be involved in God's plan and purpose to bring many sons to glory. God is adding sons and daughters to His family – children.

Look in Acts 17:28-29 Acts 17:28-29 [28] For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. [29] For as much then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like to gold, or silver, or stone, graven by are and man's device.
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, for a moment. The apostle Paul notes that human beings are indeed the offspring of God – not the offspring of dogs and cats and cows – the offspring of God. We are His children. It's a family relationship. So, notice Acts 17:28-29 Acts 17:28-29 [28] For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. [29] For as much then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like to gold, or silver, or stone, graven by are and man's device.
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,

Acts 17:28-29 Acts 17:28-29 [28] For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. [29] For as much then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like to gold, or silver, or stone, graven by are and man's device.
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– For in Him – in God – we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, 'We are also His offspring.' Therefore” – verse 29 – “since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone – something shaped by art and man's devising.” So, we are God's offspring, and it mentions here that it will lead to us having a nature like God – divine nature.

Now other pastors from other denominations who preach about family and marriage tomorrow will not pass this verse the same way that we would. They believe in the trinity, where the Godhead is closed to just the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It's a closed trinity. It's a complete family that no one else can enter. And so, when they preach about us being the offspring of God, or the children of God, or the sons and daughters of God, they see us as being more like kind of angels under God – spirit beings, but not part of God's actual family. They say that the trinity is closed. Of course, we don't teach the trinity. We believe there is a Father and the Son and then the power of the Holy Spirit. We believe that we can partake of the divine nature as the offspring of God. So, our understanding of family goes a lot further than most understand – who believe in the trinity.

Look at Ephesians 3. Paul explains further to the church at Ephesus about this family of God – Ephesians 3:14-15 Ephesians 3:14-15 [14] For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, [15] Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
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– Paul says to the Ephesians,

Ephesians 3:14-15 – “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ from whom the whole family in heaven and on earth is named.” So, God even considers us part of His family now – here on Earth. And so, our second point: We are designed for marriage and family by God, as His children. And it is something that points ultimately to our higher divine purpose.

Point three, which extrapolates on this further: God designed us for His family. God designed us for His family. Go to 2 Corinthians 6:18 2 Corinthians 6:18And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.
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. Let's turn there for a moment. Because Paul encouraged God's people at Corinth with a specific promise – we shall be His sons and daughters.

2 Corinthians 6:18 2 Corinthians 6:18And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.
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“‘I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

So, as our families here have children and are born into our families – you know I have three sons and a bunch of grandkids – they're all part of my family. But God initially created Adam and Eve and their descendants – all of us, all of humanity – to eventually become part of His family – to become part of the family of God, not just human beings any longer. Physical families are a direct type of God's own spiritual family. He's getting kids.

Look at Revelation 21:7 Revelation 21:7He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
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, and notice how in this passage, which pictures the future, notice what the future is here for human beings becoming spirit beings.

Revelation 21:7 Revelation 21:7He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
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– “He who overcomes shall inherit all things.” And when you look behind the Greek it's talking about the entire universe – inherit everything – even things beyond the universe. “And I shall be his God and he shall be My son.”

So, he who overcomes, is converted, and is raised at the resurrection will inherit all things and be God's son or daughter. And these scriptures we've read, and many others, tell us how God's plan, from the beginning, was first to create us as temporary human, flesh and blood beings, subject to dying. But then, follow that up with the opportunity to live forever as immortal, eternal spirit beings, not subject to death any longer. So, He created us physical first, but then have the opportunity to become, not a human being, but a spirit being – and in His Kingdom. If we follow God in love and obedience, God offers that promise to us. Notice 2 Peter 3:9 2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
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, because He is eventually going to make this offer to become part of the family to every human being. And so here, explaining God's love for all His children – for all humankind – that is what the apostle Peter wrote.

2 Peter 3:9 2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
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– “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise,” – you know this promise of eternal life – “as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” God doesn't want anyone to lose out on this opportunity of a lifetime – the opportunity for eternal lifetime.

This is God's overall transcendent purpose for creating humanity – to offer us the opportunity to become part of His eternal family – to be His children. And so, we have to take positive steps towards this as we live our lives. We must want it. If we repent, and be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit, we can receive this marvelous gift. You remember Paul wrote in Romans 8:14 Romans 8:14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
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:

Romans 8:14 Romans 8:14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
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– “As many as are led by the Spirit of God.” – Those who are converted – “they are the sons of God.”

So, once you've become converted, God already considers you a son ready to inherit all things. Reminds you of 2 Peter 1:4 2 Peter 1:4Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
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. Let me read it to you.

2 Peter 1:4 2 Peter 1:4Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
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– “By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these,” – through these great promises – “you may be partakers of the divine nature.”

Once again, this is not something taught by other denominations – that you actually become divine, become part of the family of God. They believe the family of God is already sealed with three beings in one or however they try to describe it.

What does it mean to partake of the divine nature? It means that we can become part of the divine family – God's family. It's an incredible promise and opportunity. We shall be His sons and daughters, and as we're told, inherit all things.

So our third point is – God designed us for His family, not just for human family. God designed us for His family.

Point four is: Becoming a child of the Father. Becoming a child of the Father. God's great purpose of producing sons and daughters in His family has been in effect, as we said, before the foundation of the world – before creation He decided this. God is reproducing Himself – creating more divine creatures, more divine beings, creating children who will possess His holy and righteous character and, in time, share eternal life as spirit beings with His same divine nature. We're created in His image. We will be His children like real divine children of God.

Let's go to Romans 8:16 Romans 8:16The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
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for a moment, as we look at becoming a child of the Father. Because when we respond to God's command to repent and be baptized, we still live as human beings. We're all flesh and blood here right now, not yet changed into spirit. But we will eventually receive all the rights and privileges as a son and daughter and heir within God's family.

Romans 8:16-17 Romans 8:16-17 [16] The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: [17] And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
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– “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” See, once you have God's Spirit in you, you are considered a child of God. “And if children, then heirs.” An heir inherits everything from the parent. “…heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” So what Christ inherited is what we will inherit – “If indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” So, you have to live a righteous life. You have to be looking towards becoming perfect – if we suffer with Him. The New Living Translation says, in verse 17:

V-17 – “Since we are His children we will share His treasures. For everything God gives to His Son, Christ, is ours too.” So, in the same way Christ was glorified at His resurrection, we'll be glorified too and inherit a similar spirit world.

In the Roman world of Paul's day, when he was writing this, a father would declare his son to be fully his son and heir when the son reached a certain age of maturity into young adulthood. But before that declaration, the son was held in a lower position to his father. But when his coming of age was declared, the son was then legally vested with all the rights, powers and privileges of a son and heir of his father. And that's actually the example that Paul's using here from the Roman world – how a son would eventually be an heir of everything his dad had once he reached the right age. That's what Paul is referring to here, in verses 17 and even verse 18. The process wasn't complete until the son reached this coming of age and receives all full rights and privileges. And so, when we are an heir and inherit all things, we too will receive all the rights and privileges of the family of God. That's what Romans is talking about. Look at verse 23 here. Romans 8:23 Romans 8:23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
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Romans 8:23 Romans 8:23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
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– “Not only that,” – inheriting all things, being joint heirs with Christ – “Not only that, but we also have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our bodies.” We’re looking for that spirit body. The New Living Translation says in verse 23:

V-23 – “And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We too wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as His children, including the new bodies He has promised us.” The New Living Translation puts it very well. We too receive all the full rights as His children including the new bodies that He promised. That's Romans 8:23 Romans 8:23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
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from the NLV.

We haven't reached the point of having all the full rights of sonship and daughtership yet, have we? We're still human, mortal. But we will attain that status in the resurrection to immortality at Christ's return. That's the promise. God's inspiration, through the apostle Paul, to use this analogy, underscores the guarantee God makes that we can indeed become His children ultimately living forever in His family. God's promise of full rights of sonship will be bestowed at the resurrection upon our change from mortality to immortality, at which time we will be invested with all the powers and privileges of a divine son or daughter. This is what a human marriage pictures. Look at 1 John 3:1-2 1 John 3:1-2 [1] Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. [2] Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
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. Let's see how John puts this. It's very plain English.

1 John 3:1-2 1 John 3:1-2 [1] Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. [2] Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
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– “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God!” That's it. Children of God. “Therefore, the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

What's it like to be like Him – to be like Christ? It's to be part of the divine family – to have and inherit the same traits and powers. The astounding truth revealed in this verse is that we, like Christ, will have life eternal and unimaginable power and glory. So, this our point number four – becoming a child of the Father. Simply put, God's plan for humanity is a family plan.

Now, what about marriage? Point five: The spiritual goal of marriage. The spiritual goal of marriage. Similar to the way a human family reflects God's plan to have a family, human marriage also reflects a spiritual relationship with God. Human marriage is modeled after the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church. This is a major reason why other forms of marriage than between a male and a female are so reprehensible. It destroys the vision that God has for His family.

Go to Ephesians 5, and notice how Paul explains this concept. Here in Ephesians 5, Paul is discussing the responsibilities between husbands and wives. You know, husbands love your wives…. And we quote this at wedding ceremonies, right? Look at Ephesians 5:31 Ephesians 5:31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
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Ephesians 5:31-32 Ephesians 5:31-32 [31] For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. [32] This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
American King James Version×
– “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” And verse 32, after talking all about marriage: “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.” Christ and the Church.

So, marriage is a beautiful example of the relationship between Christ and the Church. And Paul explains in verse 25 – just above – that Christ also loved the Church so much that He gave His life for her. Christ gave His life for the Church. Christ gave His life for us, as the bride. So how could we, here in the congregation, ever doubt His love for us – having given His life for us? How could we not respond to the things He asks us to do?

The understanding that marriage between a man and a woman is a type of the relationship between Christ and the Church is further understood in the book of Revelation – Revelation, chapter 19, I'm going to turn there here in a moment. It's a vision that Jesus Christ gave to the apostle Paul – sorry, the apostle John – at the end of the first century. John was in exile on the Island of Patmos, and John recorded this vision that was revealed to him by Christ, right here in the book of Revelation. After Jesus returns to take over the kingdoms of this earth, and establish the Kingdom of God, He reveals how He's going to be involved in a very special marriage.

Revelation 19:7-9 Revelation 19:7-9 [7] Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. [8] And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. [9] And he said to me, Write, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God.
American King James Version×
– “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And verse 8: “And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” So, Christ is marrying the saints. “Then he said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”’”

You and I, who are a part of the Church – the Church founded by Jesus Christ – will become the bride of Christ. That's why a human marriage pictures Christ and the Church. Our righteous behavior here is likened to fine costly linen – the righteous acts of the saints. A happy human marriage therefore gives us insight into a greater marriage. One that will truly last forever, and both parties in that marriage will be spirit beings. Christ's bride will no longer be physical humans, but spirit. Sons and daughters of the Father will marry Christ. Because human marriages are patterned after the spiritual relationship, we can better comprehend our fifth point, which is the spiritual goal of marriage – what marriage ultimately pictures. Any other form or type of marriage than that ordained by the Creator destroys this vision. Destroys this vision. Let's wrap up the topic by reading from John 10. I've got one more verse for you here – John 10:9-10 John 10:9-10 [9] I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. [10] The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
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. Jesus says:

John 10:9-10 John 10:9-10 [9] I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. [10] The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
American King James Version×
– “I am the door.” He's the door. He says: “If anyone enters by Me,” – if you enter through Christ – “he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” Verse 10: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that you may have life, and that you may have it more abundantly.”

Of course, Christ is ultimately talking about eternal life in His Father's Kingdom. Christ has come that we may have eternal life. But we have to enter through Christ. We have to enter through Him. He says, “Enter by Me.” To enter that door, we have to enter through Christ, and by living as He tells us how to live – not in some alternate lifestyle way. To help us prepare for this magnificent future, God has allowed us to experience, through marriage and family, a foretaste of this wonderful abundant time, as He calls it. God's desire is that we live abundant lives filled with happiness and success. And that cannot come about through alternative lifestyles. It's not part of the plan. The happiness and training God offers us, through marriage and family, is best experienced in harmony with God's instructions – in and through God's guidance – on His ordained and instituted form of marriage. That's God's role for the sexes. And that's God's reason for only heterosexual marriage.