Relationships and the Church

I believe most people have a need to find another person to share their life with in a deeply intimate way. God gave us this craving for many reasons, but the most intriguing reason is that it symbolizes God’s relationship with the church. (Eph. 5:22-27)

We should also remember there are ways in which this relationship can be corrupted. Fornication, strictly defined as sexual relationships without marriage are outside of God’s will. Adultery, sexual relationships of a married person with someone other than their spouse is also inappropriate. Homosexuality, sexual relationships with a person of the same gender also are also wrong. (1 Cor. 6:9) These general statements, once considered obvious, are far from obvious to today’s culture.

For today’s theology Thursday post, let me elaborate a little bit on the picture of marriage being like the relationship between Christ and the church.

Marriage starts with a commitment made before God and man between the man and woman getting married. Salvation is the point of commitment where a person enters the church, that is, becomes a part of the bride of Christ. This commitment is meant to be a lifelong promise not a temporary arrangement.

The relationship is exclusive, a person who seeks to hold this relationship with God cannot spend their life dabbling in other religions, any more than a married person should spend their life seeking other sexual partners.

These relationships are given definition in Scripture. Marriage is defined as a lifetime relationship between a man and a woman. Changing this definition to include homosexuality, multiple partners, or anything else which seems right to men, is to abandon God’s right to define the shape of human life and behavior. This is akin to those who seek to find God, but reject His plan of salvation in order to come up with their own.


Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp Shinned Hawk

This is a female immature sharp-shinned hawk. Maybe. The reason I say maybe is that sharp-shinned hawks and Cooper’s hawk are very, very similar. There are a multitude of small differences, but they are so small that it takes a very experienced birder to be sure. Apparently, more experienced than me. I am assuming is a sharpie based on some of these clues. In either case it is obvious it is immature by the brown on the head and back. But the reason I think it would be a female is because it seems larger than one expects a sharpie to be.

Female hawks, including sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks, are about 1/3 bigger than male birds. If you look at this picture you will notice that it is feeding on a bird. Birds are the normal diet of these two species. This means a male hawk has a very perilous task in trying to find a mate. If the female rejects the male in too strong of a manner, she might eat him.

For this reason it would be wisdom for the male birds to be very careful when they go courting. In fact, it is not uncommon for male birds to bring an offering to the female of some freshly killed bird. I suppose they have a vested interest in being sure she is not hungry. With the dangers involved in dating, it is just wisdom to take extra precautions.

Relationships are a major source of problems for people too. Although I seriously doubt any of us are in danger of being eaten, we will always be highly influenced by the people closest to us. This fact makes all relationships dangerous in many ways. We could lose our potential for future success. We could align ourselves with a partner stunts our growth. We could lose our family, self-respect or financial stability by engaging in unwise relationships. Even in relationships which seem to be handled the right way can greatly weaken your spiritual walk.

It is probably not surprising then that Scripture says a lot about relationships. From the book of Proverbs describing inappropriate relationships a deadly trap to 1 Corinthians 7 delving into married sexuality, the Bible does a lot to tell us how to be wise in our relationships. Below is one of the most iconic verses applied to marriage, but a closer look will reveal it is about more than marriage and dating, but also business partnerships, our closest friendships and anywhere else that our association becomes a yoke of sorts.

Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14 (HCSB)