AFA vice president of outreach
May 2018 – The Creator of all things, in His love for us, created three unique foundational institutions – government, family, and church. With my marriage to Chelsea and the birth of our children, Bennett and Landry Claire, I’ve been thinking more about family. And Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are coming up – new roles for us. In Genesis 2:26-28, we see God’s design for marriage and family.
How does a biblical view of family intersect with our secular culture?
Contrary to the original intent for the family, our generation, unfortunately, sees 41% of U.S. marriages end in divorce. As if that number is not sad enough, over 40% of children in America are born to unwed parents in rebellion against God’s beautiful and perfect plan for marriage and family.
The most heartbreaking of all divorce statistics is that the divorce rate among self-described Christians is 22%, even though God intended it to be an example of Christ’s enduring, unending relationship to His people.
This is what Millennials have seen as the norm. Many have experienced their parents getting a divorce. A quick caveat to those who have experienced divorce: I cannot claim to be an expert on marriage, nor should I claim that some divorces are not justifiable. Even so, God hates divorce. It goes against His design, but it is not an unpardonable sin. According to 1 John 1:9, He offers forgiveness and reconciliation to all who seek it.
I suggest three principles that can help us experience God’s design for the family.
1. God created the family so that one family member can complement another.
Genesis 1:18 says, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’”
God has designed us to desire relationships. Family is the primary way we fulfill that relational need. In the flowchart of a family from grandparents to parents to children, each complements the others in their particular roles. They are all equal in value but play different roles.
2. The family is a picture of God’s relationship to us and love for us.
In Ephesians 5:22-28, Paul writes how the family should illustrate God’s relationship with us:
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. …
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
When a family is actively carrying out God’s design with loving, sacrificial submission, it is a reflection of God’s relationship with us.
3. God commands us to grow our family.
Growing your family is a blessing, as He said in Genesis 1: 28,“And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”
God’s plan for the family from the creation of mankind was one man, one woman, created in His image, together for a lifetime (Genesis 1:27). God commands those who are married to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). So sex between a husband and wife is God’s great gift to married couples.
God also recognizes that not everyone will get married (1 Corinthians 7). Furthermore, many couples cannot have their own biological children. It is reality, and it often very painful. But God can offer them other options to express the gospel through adoption, fostering, and spiritual parenting or mentoring.
Your past may be scarred by poor representation of God’s design for the family. However, there is grace and mercy from God the Father, even if you’ve been on a plan different from His. There is still great opportunity to experience grace through the gospel because as long as there is breath in you, it is not too late to turn from the imperfect model of the world and choose God’s perfect design.