In light of the nation-wide debate on whether or not Singapore should repeal Section 377A (the only law that criminalizes gay-sex), I think it is of great importance to lay down the Christian’s stance on marriage and sex in a simple and understandable manner that people may be able to identify true love from personal desires.
Two persons can love each other without marrying each other.
When considering love without marriage, the best example in the Bible is that of Jonathan and David. This is the Biblical narration of their love for one another:
After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.
– 1 Samuel 18:1-3, NIV.
In the Biblical narration, their love was much greater than that of their spouses.
I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.
– 2 Samuel 1:26, NIV.
With that, I conclude that yes. Two men or two ladies can love each other more than their spouses without marrying each other. Likewise, in context, men and women can love each other without marrying.
When two persons love each other, it does not mean that love should be expressed through intimate acts of the sexual kind.
When two persons love each other, they can form some close communion with each other that their soul intertwines. They are able to form covenants with each other. This covenant is a covenant of friendship and it should not be mistaken as a marriage vow. There was mutual respect among them; it is a relationship and a covenant that God is pleased with.
The desire to be intertwined with someone in the spirit does not equate to forming a family with that person.
Though the souls of both Jonathan and David were intertwined as one, it is important to note that this knitting of souls was brought together by mutual adoration and in their fear of the Lord. Both of them knew the Lord and their place in the world. When David knew that Jonathan’s dad (Saul) wanted to kill him, Jonathan found him to find strength in God (1 Samuel 23:16, NIV). On that note, they mutually built each other up in the Lord and made a covenant (again!) before the Lord (1 Samuel 23:18, NIV).
When you love someone, you seek the good of the other. You encourage them and be there for them when they are in need. You lead each other to the Lord and come to the Lord together. But this does not mean you should form a “family” with them! It basically meant we should love them as long as we live.
The Grand Design: Family – A union of Heart, Soul, and Mind.
After establishing love between two persons, I think it is important to establish what Christian family should be. In Christianity, we should look to the Holy Trinity in order to understand what a Christian family should be.
From the Holy Trinity, we can establish the following about family:
The Family is One.
The Family is always in communion with one another.
The Family is made up of different persons.
The Family does not act alone.
The Family has a united goal despite each person serving different purposes.
The Family is Functional.
The Family is United in Heart, Soul, and Mind.
And in a conventional earthly family, we should also aim to have such attributes. The family is One in mind – that is led by the husband. The family is made up of different persons: the husband, the wife, and children (if any). Everyone in the family serves different roles in order to complement one another. The family is united in one heart – a goal of serving the Lord (Joshua 24:15, NIV). And finally, the family is functional and should be able to reproduce. On every level, from the functional to the spiritual, the family unit has a specific role to play and it should not be overruled by self-satisfying desires.
The Christian Family: We Belong to Each Other.
The Union that the Triune God promised all believers is something that is truly beyond all human comprehension. Even when scholars attempt to lay it out in words, it will never quite capture the true glories of what is to come (or in some school of thought, has already come).
Union with Christ promises communion and fellowship between believers in a way that transcends understanding. The Holy Spirit now indwells all believers, knitting everyone (1 Corinthians 12:13-14) who profess the Lordship of Christ (Romans 10:9) into One with Him. They love each other as themselves (John 13:35), living lives in complete unity as one body (1 Corinthians 12:27).
Within this body, everyone needs everybody. No one can say that they do not need each other (1 Corinthians 12:21-25). And within this body, everyone should work together to press on towards the goal in order to win the prize for which God had called us to do, that is to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV).
God had called us to be in a family – His family.
The conventional earthly family is but a mirror of that that our Lord Jesus Christ has prepared.
The conventional earthly family is not the goal we should be aiming for.