How significant are individual marriages to the Body of Christ? How important is a Biblical understanding of gender?
Many Christians believe that marriage and sexuality are private issues which often distract us from the more important matter of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But could it be that when we bypass doctrines of sexuality, we throw out critical evangelistic tools? And could it be that when we embrace God’s gifts of gender and marriage, we create compelling revelations of God?
In the beginning, God sculpted the cosmos as a stunning revelation of Himself. And then, God designed men, women, and marriage to tell us even more about Himself.
God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27, NLT)
We know that God is neither male nor female. Yet there is something unique about our being male or female that is unlike that of the animals, for only people are created in the image of God. Imago dei is stamped into God’s design of men, shaping them to reveal the divine attributes of masculinity in glorious ways. And imago dei is stamped into God’s design of women, shaping them to reveal the divine attributes of femininity in glorious ways.
While being male or female is a component of physical biology, masculinity and femininity are components of personal relationship. They are profound reflections of the triune God, whose very nature is rich, full relationship.
Our gender is a divine commission to reveal the greatness, the beauty, and the strength of God in compelling ways. The DNA of our assignment is written into every cell of our body; it is printed across the fibers of our being several trillion times.
“… maleness and femaleness are objectively rooted in biology, and should be valued and affirmed, not rejected or altered.”1
Although we often struggle to flesh out the glory of God in our daily lives, we can embrace this sacred calling to live fully and faithfully as imago dei. This high calling is one which extends to every part of our lives, including our sexuality. Ravi Zacharias points out that when we deny the sacredness of our sexuality, we deny the sacredness of human life itself.2 Although our bodies are physical and temporal, they have spiritual and eternal purpose. Our material bodies are knit with our nonmaterial spirits so that together they share in the dignity and worth of human life.³
Telling the Truth about God
It is the goal of evangelism to tell the truth about God. The psalmist marveled at the power of the natural universe to tell the truth about God:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
(Psalm 91:1-4, NIV)
Are the voices of God-created gender and God-designed marriage any less persuasive or wide-reaching? First, creation tells the truth about God’s existence and power, and then marriage tells the truth about God’s loving nature and faithful character. When we “preach” this good news through our relationships, we are laying the groundwork for sharing the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel of Masculinity
God initiates the relationship with His beloved, the people of God. …