by Dr. John Yates
Satan is a specialist in corrupting the language of intimacy.
I remember when “free sex” was substituted for “promiscuity”,1)From Wikipedia Promiscuity read here and we all know what “gay”2)From Wikipedia Gay read here means. The title of this article is deliberately ambiguous. It could mean same-sex marriage and our fear of Satan’s work or equality in heterosexual marriage and what Satan fears. God wants to illuminate the Church about the latter. The relentless demonic drive for same-sex marriage is a sign that what the devil fears most in human society are marriages where husbands and wives (male-female) meet on an equal plane through Christ. We are in a time of tremendous opportunity.
I have recently exhorted a number of Christian couples about the need for their marriages to be functionally equal. As a prominent public minister I had for many years considered myself the intellectual and spiritual superior to Donna. Then after a time of stress when I confessed my great need of her support I actually started to sense our equality in my heart. Conflict in marriage always involves the experience of power imbalance between genders, the way forward however is not a reconstruction of masculine/feminine roles but an experience of the reconciling power of the cross. This power will in time heal the whole universe (Col 1:19-20).
The need for genuine equality is marriage reaches for beyond social wholeness; it is an end-times imperative. Incredibly, the state of our marriages influences God’s timetable for the coming of the Day of Judgement. Peter speaks of “hurrying along the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved” (2 Pet 3:12). Our ability to influence the coming of Judgement flows from the intimate connection between human marriage and the wedding of Jesus to the Church.
The Fear of the Lord
Paul begins teaching on the relationship between Christian marriage and Christ’s wedding with the exhortation, “be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Eph 5:21). I am usually too healthily afraid of Jesus to treat my wife as in any sense my inferior. Such fear is a sign of wisdom (Prov 9:10).
Fractures in the marriages of believers always indicate a failure in godly reverence by one or both parties. Whether we like it or not the “one flesh” of marriage “refers to Christ and the Church” (Eph 5:32). That Christian marriage is a sign of Jesus eternal marital bond to the Church is rarely obvious, often because we are absorbed in the present and have lost sight of the End.
True marriage equality has great spiritual power and authority because it shares in the reality of the transformation of all things. Revelation describes “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:7, 9) as precipitating a chain of events leading to the casting of the devil into the lake of fire (Rev 20:10). In the End nothing in creation will be able to spoil the mutual enjoyment of Christ and his Bride. This means that when Christian husbands and wives live in true mutuality and equality refusing to allow any worldly differences to mar their marital enjoyment Satan senses that his time of judgement is coming.
The Fear of Satan
In the presence of Jesus the demons cried out, ““What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”” (Matt 8:29). They sensed that the Holy One had come to purchase his Bride and were terrified (cf. James 2:19). Satan is incited to uncontrollable insecure aggression when Christian couples reflect the peaceful triumph of the cross, for it is a sure sign of his impending destruction. As John warns the saints, ““woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”” (Rev 12:12). Satan hates the sign that the fracture he introduced in Eden between men and women in God’s image has been healed forever by the blood of the cross (Col 1:19). Few of us seem to be aware of such deep things.
Many Christians seem fearful of the prospect of same-sex marriage. Not only fearful of its consequences for future generations, but fear that the security and privileged position that Christianity has long enjoyed in Western civilization is drawing to a close.
This terminus may well be the judgement of God, unless we embrace a much deeper cross centred spirituality. Jesus exhorted the faithful in Smyrna that their victory over Satan must come through pain. “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Rev 2:10).
How different is this scenario from the anaemic state of the Aussie Church. A popular song proclaims triumphantly, “This is how we overcome” ,but it is totally devoid of any mention of the suffering the Bible teaches is the only way to defeat the powers of darkness: “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” (Rev 12:11). A mature Church never courts persecution; it simply accepts it must happen for the progress of the kingdom of God. In our struggle against sin perhaps very few Australian Christians will be privileged to resist to the point of shedding blood for the sake of God’s kingdom (Heb 12:4).
There are however many other less heroic forms of martyrdom, and marriage equality is one of them. True equality in a marriage comes only from deep humility, great patience, persistent prayer and extraordinary forgiving love. All of which is a share in the life of Christ (Eph 5:1-2).
The unremitting pressure for “marriage equality” in Australia can provoke the Church to defensiveness and legalism or it can be used by the Holy Spirit to call the people of God into realms of matrimonial beauty previously unknown.
The prevailing spiritual climate of Australia is at stake here. The appropriate response to these things is to ask the Lord about the state of our own wedlock3)If unmarried we are called to pray for others. and to pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Ps 139:23-24)
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