Thursday, July 2, 2015

Gay Marriage: How should I respond?

I know; I’m a little late to the game. Every organization under the sun has already responded to the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding gay marriage. I think some of them must have prepared their response ahead of time since they had their posts and comments up so quickly.

I like to process and analyze information. I’ve found my responses are better if I take time to prayerfully think things through.

So here goes…

Two Different Issues

We have blurred the lines in the current debate but it actually addresses two separate issues. The first one is a gay relationship and the resulting behavior between two individuals; the second issue is what many are calling gay marriage. Two issues require two different responses.

Gay Relationships

These types of relationships are sin. To deny that is a gross distortion of God’s Word. However, before you start yelling that in someone’s face, remember that all sexual relationships outside of a husband and wife are sin. Our society – even our church society – seems to forget that.

They are also no more sinful than lying to your boss, having a prideful and arrogant spirit, failing to trust God can take care of you, or being stingy with your time and resources. We can’t demonize gay relationships when we are so willing to overlook what we like to classify as “lesser” sins. They’re all the same because they all separate as from a personal relationship with God. And we’re all guilty of them. I encourage you to read Romans 3:19-26.

Some people like to say gay relationships aren’t sin because they’re listed in the Old Testament Law and that doesn’t apply today. Yes, we praise God for the life and death of Jesus who provided us with a New Covenant that no longer requires the sacrifice of animals in an ongoing inadequate attempt at being made right with God. However, the Law still defines sin for us (Romans 3:20). All those things listed in its pages are still sin. We now rely on Jesus’ sacrifice as the final and eternal atonement for our sin rather than the blood of animals that could never accomplish the job. I encourage you to read Hebrews 9:1-10:18.

Some people like to say gay relationships aren’t sin because Jesus never addressed them directly. Jesus is the Word made flesh, however. You can’t separate the “words in red” from the whole of Scripture. You can’t decide the words He spoke while on earth are truer than all the rest of the words from Genesis through Revelation. I encourage you to read John 1:1-18.

Gay Marriage

Gay marriage can’t exist. A civil union can but not a marriage. The state can recognize a civil union; both God and the state recognize a marriage. God will never recognize a marriage between two gay individuals. It has nothing to do with whether you think He should or what it means if He does or doesn’t. I base the rejection entirely on the fact that God said a marriage is between one man and one woman. Any variance outside of that is sin which takes us back to my earlier points. I encourage you to read Genesis 2:20-25.

I didn’t make the rules so I can’t change them. In fact, none of us did so none of us can change them. God made the rules and we don’t get to change them just because we don’t like them. We can choose not to follow them (again, sin) but we can’t change them.

So how do I respond to this change in our nation?

It was a sad day for me when the Supreme Court announced this decision. Others rejoiced. My sorrow and their joy have nothing to do with who’s right or what’s right. But we’ve already discussed that.

My initial response – like many who hold to the truth and authority of God’s Word – was the concern of a coming judgment on our nation. After all, our courts have decreed that God is wrong and they know what’s best. God doesn’t take too kindly to that kind of self-exaltation. I encourage you to read Isaiah 14:9-15 to see how that attitude worked out for Satan.

On the other hand, I realized, our courts decided it was ok to abort unborn children over forty years ago. It’s a similar situation where the Supreme Court decided they knew better than God as to the creation of human life. So far, our nation hasn’t seen a fire and brimstone response to that decision. We’re missing approximately 53 million of our citizens who would be my age and younger which is a reason to mourn. I know our nation would mourn them if they had died in a natural disaster or war. Yet, because we slaughtered them in the womb, we don’t mourn their absence. But I’m getting off the point which is that God hasn’t struck down our nation because of that Supreme Court decision.

Then I remembered a Bible verse. “And just as it is appointed for people to die once – and after this, judgment – so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him” (Hebrews 9:27-28).

Here’s the connection – God’s Word promises a judgment of death for those who sin. However, that judgment doesn’t come in the moment of our initial sin. For example, God doesn’t strike us dead the first time we lie to our parents as a child. Our sin guarantees the coming judgment but God withholds the judgment until a certain time when we die once because of sin. Ideally, in that intervening time, the offender will recognize their sin, seek God’s forgiveness and readily available grace, and accept Jesus as the source of salvation from the judgment for their sin. If the offender never seeks that forgiveness, then the judgment of death is certain.

I think this applies to our nation – and any nation – that exalts itself above God’s Word and authority. We sinned as a nation in 1973 when we decided it was ok to kill our unborn but judgment wasn’t swift and immediate. We sinned again as a nation last week when we decided homosexuality is ok and is included within the definition of marriage. We’ve probably sinned other times in our history but I’m focusing on these two here. God’s judgment of our nation may not be swift and immediate but it is certain unless, as a nation, we humble ourselves before God and seek His forgiveness. His grace is ready and waiting for our nation as much as it is for the individual. If we choose not to seek it, however, judgment awaits. I encourage you to read Psalm 9.

How should I live as Christian in this nation?

The Supreme Court’s decision didn’t change the answer to this question. We live the same way now as we should have been in the past.

We love our neighbors which has nothing to do with whether or not you agree with their sin of choice. After all, we all sin (Matthew 22:39).

We extend grace to those who sin because God has done the same thing for us (2 Corinthians 1:12).

We should show love and good works, come together in worship, and encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25).

We should act justly, love faithfulness, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).

We should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44).

We should rejoice in persecution as we suffer as did Jesus, our Savior (John 15:20).

I could go on but the list would be extensive. None of it would include a call to hatred or condemnation on our part, however. I encourage you to read the New Testament.

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