Posted by: bonarlairg | July 17, 2013

What We Believe About Marriage

(The following statement was posted after a respondent to this website asked for clarity as to the position of this church regarding same sex marriage.)

The Free Church subscribes fully to the Westminster Confession of Faith which has a chapter on Marriage and Divorce. It states who marriage is for – “Marriage is to be between one man and one woman” WCoF 24:1. We are therefore totally opposed to so-called same-sex marriage which has now been legislated for in Scotland and in England & Wales.  It is our fear that the passing of this legislation is the greatest depth to which our nation has yet stooped in its opposition to God.  The position of our Church regarding so-called same-sex marriage would, however, be the same as our position with regard to incestuous marriages, that such marriages cannot “ever be made lawful by any law of man or consent of parties” WCoF 24:4.  Marriage between man and woman is a worldwide phenomenon that transcends the boundaries of race, nationality and language.  It is undoubtedly appropriate that civil law is used to regulate and enforce marriage but the institution itself does not trace its origins to the laws of any state or parliament.  Marriage existed before there was even such a thing as nations or governments.  This indisputable observation accords perfectly with the biblical account that God himself instituted marriage for mankind in the beginning of creation.  We do not therefore accept that civil governments have authority to redefine marriage to permit same-sex unions and can never accept the lawfulness of such laws even if they are legislated for by the state.

The Confession also states what God’s purpose was when he instituted marriage – “Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife, for the increase of mankind with legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed; and for preventing of uncleanness” WCoF 24:2.  To fully understand the significance of marriage as part of the plan of God consideration should be given to the fact that marriage was the final “piece” of God’s creative work – its crowning glory.  Having joined the first man and woman together in marriage, God then observed that his world was not merely “good” but it was now “very good” (see Genesis 1:31 and 2:22-25).  The importance of marriage is established further in the New Testament when it is revealed to be the same relationship existing between Christ and his Church (Ephesians 5:22-33).  Marriage is a glorious thing and there are great benefits to husband and wife, and to church and society, when it is honoured and promoted.

It is clear from Scripture that marriage is the proper context for sexual relations.  All sexual relations outside marriage are to be considered as fornication and serious sin against God and his revealed will.  We oppose the practice, which is now widespread, of couples living together or sleeping together either before marriage or instead of getting married.  Not only does it lead to many troubles physical, social and emotional, but it is also spiritually damaging.  Such actions are not compatible with the Christian faith and, while true Christians do fall into such sin at times, it should be stopped and repented of immediately.

Regarding divorce, our position is “In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce: and after divorce, to marry another…” On the basis of 1 Corinthians 7:15 we also believe that a marriage may be dissolved in the case of “such wilful desertion as can no way be remedied by the Church or civil magistrate” WCoF 24:5.

Notwithstanding all of the above we do absolutely hold out a gospel of repentance and forgiveness.  Sexual sin, even homosexual sin or adultery, is not unforgivable.  When the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth he was writing to Christians in a city renowned for sexual immorality, where homosexuality was part of the culture.  He said “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites…will inherit the kingdom of God”.  There can be no doubt that these sins, along with many others, are heinous in the sight of God.  The apostle continues, however, to say “And such were some of you.  But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).  It is clear that the Corinthian church had within their own bounds those who had once been fornicators, had once been adulterers, had once been homosexuals, but had repented and turned to a life of holiness and purity.  Have you found yourself falling into sexual sin? Know that there is forgiveness for the very worst of sexual sins but you must first acknowledge the sin to be truly sinful, then cease from the sin, repent of the sin and seek the God who forgives sinners making them holy and blameless in the sight of God.

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