Old Covenant Controversies: Marriage and Sexuality

“When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan. Great crowds followed him, and he cured them there. Some Pharisees approached him, and tested him, saying, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?’

He said in reply, ‘Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.’” (Matthew 19:1-6)

It’s ironic how common it is for people who do not follow the teachings of the Church to use the words of the Bible against Catholics and Christians. And that method of argumentation has been going on for centuries. Directly following the above passage from Matthew 19, the Pharisees approach Jesus and question the teachings of marital unity based on the words of Moses. But as Jesus says, it was only out of the hardness of the Israelite’s hearts that divorce was permitted.

Cale Clarke continued his Old Covenant Controversies series on The Faith Explained by beginning a discussion on the third topic of the series: sexuality.

Jesus came to be a revolutionary and to set the world on fire. Things were bound to change when God became man to fulfill sacred scripture. No longer would divine law be defined according to the weakness of man, but rather according to his strength. God became the perfect man to give us an example of perfection, something to strive for.

But looking around at today’s society, you would be forgiven for believing that people have completely misunderstood the extremism of Jesus’s teachings. Secularist society has distorted and misconstrued the idea of progressivism as an excuse to pervert what they believe to be a malleable standard of morality. Divorce was condemned by God, but never before has the institution of marriage been so abused: gay marriage, gender ideology, contraception, abortion, IVT, and divorce are the weapons being used against the family and marriage.

How do we escape this? How do we return to God’s blueprint for marriage and morality? Should we even try or is the Old Testament simply out of date and obsolete?

Cale began by returning to the most basic ideas of God and the Devil. God is an all-powerful and all-good creator. The devil, while very powerful and manipulative, is not nearly as powerful as God. He is incapable of creating anything, so in order to claim souls for himself, he must resort to perverting the things that God has created: marriage, man, woman, and sex. These things are intrinsically good, but they are so easily misused, and the Devil is a master at introducing them to us in distorted forms.

Now, of all the good things that God has given us, why has the Devil chosen so specifically to focus on the institutions of marriage and the family? Why has he focused his attacks there? Pope St. John Paul II gave a very good reason for this: Marriage is essentially a prototype for all the other sacraments.

“As marriage goes, so go all the other sacraments,” said Cale. “If you can destroy marriage, you can destroy the Church.” On the most literal level, when you destroy marriage, you destroy the family. And when you destroy the family, you destroy the proclivity to procreate and to build and support a culture of life. Without people, there are no more laypeople, no more priests, and no more Catholics.

But on a much deeper level, all of the sacraments involve some sort of life-giving contact between the bridegroom and the bride. Jesus is the bridegroom, and the Church is His bride. And in each of the sacraments, He is giving us His divine life. In Ephesians 5, St. Paul talks extensively about the institution of marriage, and then at the end he says, “This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:32) The marriage of Christ and His Church is the blueprint for marriage between men and women of the world. In a holy and sanctified union, God is imparting His life to each couple as they become one. In the words of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, it takes three to get married.

Listen to this full episode of Old Covenant Controversies above or on The Faith Explained show page! And be sure to catch the rest of the episodes live on Relevant Radio at 12:30pm CT from November 14 – November 23!

John Hanretty serves as a Digital Media Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. Besides being passionate about writing, his hobbies include drawing and digital design. You can read more of his daily articles at relevantradio.com and on the Relevant Radio® app.