“The saga of a nation is the saga of it’s families written large.”
- Dr. Tony Evans
I’ve been in the conversation with others this week regarding the president’s recent endorsement of gay marriage. As a Christian and American, I am saddened that our president doesn’t hold to a biblical perspective of marriage. Many have responded to the president’s announcement but I thought it necessary for me to offer my opinion as well, which is really not my opinion at all. As in all things, I bow to Scripture:
Let me say from the start, this issue is not difficult for the Christian. Jesus settled this issue, once and for all, in Matthew 19:4-5. He is very clear about God’s intention for marriage. And let me remind us all, Jesus was the most loving, grace-filled Person who has ever lived. Listen to His words:
“Haven’t you read,” He replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? Matthew 19:4-5
As a Christian, I’m going with Jesus on this issue. As if anything more needs to be added, here are some key points as we seek a biblical view on marriage:
1. We have been created to bring glory to God.
All of creation exists to glorify God and the chief goal of man is to bring glory to God. God’s glory is an expression of His character, namely His holiness. But His glory is the expresssion of any and all of His qualities. And all of His qualities are perfect and immeasurable. Marriage is an expression of God’s character and the love between and man and a woman is a picture of Christ’s love for us (Ephesians 5:21-33).
2. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 3:23 clearly states what we all know experientially. Every person on the planet has a south-bound gravitational pull toward sin and we cannot overcome it. It is true that all sin separates us from God, and in that sense, all sin is “equal”. But the consequence of our sin varies. We approach all issues (like homosexuality), with humility and compassion, knowing that none of us are righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10). I’ve discovered that the homosexual community would be more willing to hear our message of God’s saving grace if they were met with compassion and not judgment.
3. As an expression of God’s character (and for His great glory), marriage is to be between one man and one woman.
It’s clear early on in the narrative of humanity that marriage is to be an expression of God’s commitment to us through covenantal love. As noted earlier, Genesis 2:24 says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” And the “reason” is presented in the verse before that, explaining the woman was made for the man, (and the man for the woman). The woman is the only one suitable for the man. A man is not suitable for another man. As I heard as a teenager, “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” I giggled then, now the statement seems necessary. Clearly, same-sex relations are unnatural. It is a miracle indeed that the union of man and woman (with all of our wonderfully distinct and dramatic differences) can display the grace and glory of God through covenantal love. But, by God’s grace, this is marriage.
4. Homosexuality is a sin because it falls short of God’s glory.
God’s Word is clear that homosexual behavior is sin:
• In Genesis 1 and 2 we see that God created man and woman for each other and that His design is for marriage to be between and man and a woman.
• Genesis 19 is a lengthy passage on the destruction of Sodom, having incurred God’s wrath because of homosexual activity. God’s Word defines the men of Sodom as “sinning greatly” because of their men were having sex with men (Genesis 13:13; 19:5). God calls Sodom’s sin “sexual perversion” (Jude 1:7).
• Leviticus 20:13 says that a man is not to have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; if he does he’s done a “detestable”(abhorrent, vile, despicable) thing.
• God lists “homosexual offenders” among “the wicked” who will “not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9). It must be noted that on the same list are slanderers, adulterers, drunkards, and idolaters as well, and he notes that many of those believers in Corinth once lived in those lifestyles- implying that among them were those who no longer live as practicing homosexuals – having encountered the saving grace of Christ.
• God’s Word identifies husband-wife relations as “natural relations” and homosexual relations as “unnatural ones” (Romans 1:26-27) and “perversion” (vs. 27).
• God’s Word also rebukes those who “approve of those who practice” homosexuality (Romans 1:32).
5. Christians need a more thoughtful response to homosexuality.
Largely Christians remain ignorant regarding homosexuality. I’ve had countless conversations with homosexual friends and homosexuals seeking counsel. I was asked by a friend to go with him to receive the results of his HIV-AIDS test. I have a heart for the homosexual; I love homosexuals. I long for them to know a better way and I believe a sexual fast (a.k.a. “abstinence”) is the way for every single person to go deeper in relationship with Christ. He is more than enough for us. It’s been helpful for me to make a distinction between homosexuality and homosexual behavior. If an alcoholic tells you he/she has just received their seven-year coin of sobriety, you may wonder if he/she is truly an alcoholic. Of course they would tell you they most definitely are. I may struggle with lust but for me to act on my lust brings devastating and unwanted consequences. We are all born with a bent toward sin- all of us. You have a bent toward particular sin; I have bent toward other sin. The adulterous heterosexual is in deep sin, just as the sexually active single or homosexual is. It’s interesting to note that, according to an article in the Huffington Post, Gary Gates, demographer-in-residence at the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA, estimates that 1.7% of U.S. adults self-identify as gay or lesbian. This is not to say the issue of gay marriage doesn’t matter (because it matters much- precisely why I’m writing about this), but there are much larger portions of our population involved in pornography, adultery, pre-marital sex, and all kinds of sexual sin. What we need is a clearer picture of God’s purpose for us all and His ultimate purpose for marriage.
6. Christ brought glory to God through His sinless life, His substitutionary death on the cross, and His resurrection.
Through Christ alone can we find forgiveness for our sin and the power to live our lives to God’s glory. Christ’s perfect life is as central to our salvation as His death and resurrection because He has done we cannot do. He fulfilled the Law and set us free from its condemnation. We can now live forgiven to His glorious grace. This is the Gospel and this is our only hope.