July 23, 2017

Going Back to the Beginning

Matthew 19:1-9

“Haven’t you read,” [Jesus] replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ . . . ‘and the two will become one flesh’?”

—  Matthew 19:4-5

We live in a time of great controversy. With the U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring it unconstitutional to outlaw same-sex marriages, it has become evident again that morality cannot be legislated, as Billy Graham once said.

Even the Law of Moses made some concessions to the hardness of people’s hearts. The Pharisees tried to lure Jesus into the swamp of discussing divorce and when it might be permissible, according to Moses. Jesus refused to get drawn into their fruitless legal argument. Instead, he called them back to the beginning, before the law was given, before sin entered the world. God created us male and female, and he gave men and women to each other in marriage. Only within this framework of our created nature can human relationships flourish.

But a created nature is denied when people cease to believe in the Creator. It’s like a carpenter stubbornly refusing to use a saw to cut a board—and, instead, bashing away at it with a hammer.

Paul says, “What the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son” (Romans 8:3). Only new birth in Christ is strong enough to restore our nature, whatever sin we struggle with.

Lord, as Augustine put it, “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.” Guide us all as we seek to know ourselves and how to relate to each other in love. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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