How should Christians view and respond to the SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage?

by Pastor Steve Van Kley
Canyon Del Oro Baptist
.

Like you, I woke up on Friday morning to the news of the Supreme Court’s decision on same sex marriage. My emotions were mixed. Unfortunately, the decision didn’t surprise me. I have believed within 5-10 years same-sex marriage would be the law of the land – I am surprised at how quickly the nation has arrived at this point. However, I was very sad. Not angry…sad. Sin is never the way for people to find happiness, fulfillment, joy or legitimacy in life. Redefining marriage will only cause harm – it will not solve problems, it will create problems.

My purpose in writing this article is not to delve into the political aspects of this issue / decision. My purpose is as your pastor, to help you look at this through the lens of Scripture. I want your thoughts and emotions to be the same as God’s thoughts and emotions. However, before we look at what the Bible says, let’s make sure we understand the Supreme Court decision.

What issues was the court asked to decide?

The two issues the court answered in this case are:

1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?

2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

These are known as the “marriage” and “recognition” questions, respectively. The Court answered both in the affirmative. (Source: http://erlc.com/ )

Reaction to the Court’s Decision

After the SCOTUS decision became public on June 26, a broad coalition of evangelical leaders who oppose the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage released a joint statement.

The statement, titled, “Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage”, begins with a rebuke of the Court’s decision:

“As evangelical Christians, we dissent from the court’s ruling that redefines marriage. The state did not create the family, and should not try to recreate the family in its own image,” the leaders wrote. “We will not capitulate on marriage because biblical authority requires that we cannot. The Supreme Court’s actions pose incalculable risks to an already volatile social fabric by alienating those whose beliefs about marriage are motivated by deep biblical convictions and concern for the common good.”

(Source: http://erlc.com/ – To read more on this statement, go to: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/june-web-only/here-we-stand-evangelical-declaration-on-marriage.html )

Here are some passages from the Bible that speak to the issue of homosexual behavior:

  • Lev. 18:22 “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”
  • Lev. 20:13 “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
  • 1 Cor. 6:9-10 “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
  • Rom. 1:26-28 “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind; to do what ought not to be done.”

Obviously, the Bible does not speak well of homosexual behavior. It is clearly condemned in both the Old Testament and New Testament because it is sinful.

Here are some passages from the Bible that speak to the issue of marriage:

  • Genesis 1:27-28 “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number…”
  • Matthew 19:4-6 “Haven’t you read,” He (Jesus) 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’ ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
  • Ephesians 5:31-32 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church.”

These verses (and others not listed) show how important marriage is to God. They show that marriage was instituted by God in the Garden of Eden, and Jesus affirmed marriage is to be a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman. Marriage is also much more than a relationship for the purpose of sex. The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 5 that marriage is actually a picture of Christ and the Church. This means that marriage has a theological importance for humanity. In marriage, the love, commitment, unity and oneness between a husband and wife give us a picture of the love, commitment, unity and oneness Christ has to His Bride – the Church.

What should be the Christian’s response to this issue?

Begin with humility about your own sin. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:11 “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” You and I are saved not by our good works, but we credit the love and grace of God.

Just because someone is a homosexual does not mean that we cannot love them or pray for them. Homosexuality is a sin, and like any other sin it needs to be dealt with in the only way possible – it needs to be laid at the cross and forsaken. Homosexuality is not a special practice that is exempt from God’s righteous judgment simply because someone claims they were born that way, or they want to be free to love, or say that it is normal. The Bible says homosexuality is a sin and the solution to the problem of sin is found only in Jesus (John 11:25-26; 14:6). Jesus died to save sinners. We are all sinners and each of us needs salvation (Eph. 2:8-9) that is found in receiving Christ (John 1:12-13).

We Christians should pray for the salvation of the homosexual the same as we would for any other person trapped in any other sin. This is not an issue of arrogance or judgmentalism. We don’t want anyone to be lost due to their sin and that includes gays, lesbians, and trans-genders.

The homosexual is still made in the image of God and God loves them so much that He gave His life for them — even though he (or she) is living in rebellion to His Word. Therefore, we Christians should show homosexuals the same dignity as anyone else with whom we come in contact. Don’t injure them. Don’t hate them. Don’t look down on them. Don’t judge them. Love them – they are your ‘neighbor’. Share with them how you found the freedom and forgiveness in Jesus. Let them know God loves us and died for us so that we might be delivered from the consequences of our sin. June 26, 2015

In other words, treat them as Jesus treated the people He interacted with. The arrogant religious authorities accused Jesus of being a “friend of sinners” (Luke 7:34). We are called to be just like Jesus – to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, and to share both the truth and grace of Jesus.

What Christians should not do:

  • Do not get angry at homosexual advocates
  • Do not post angry and hateful things on social media
  • Do not promote anything that encourages hateful or negative attitudes or actions toward homosexuals

What Christians should do:

  • Pray…for your own attitudes and actions – and for those dealing with same-sex issues. Pray for our nation to seek after the Lord and repent from their sins!
  • Love…your neighbor as yourself – even if they are gay.
  • Invest in your marriage…God intends your marriage to reflect the love, unity and oneness of Christ to His Bride the Church. If marriage is important to us, then make sure you invest everything you can to make it great!
  • Share the Gospel…the love, grace and truth of Christ – with everyone you can!

Remember…God will judge all humanity – it’s our job 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)

Do your mission well!

Pastor Steve

Some resources to help:

For a short but good discussion on this issue, check out this podcast to hear Russell Moore (President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission):

http://erlc.com/questions/breaking-how-should-we-think-about-the-supreme-court-decision

Book: What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? By: Kevin DeYoung http://www.amazon.com/Bible-Really-Teach-about-Homosexuality/dp/1433549379/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435347257&sr=1-1&keywords=kevin+deyoung+books

Albert Mohler responds to Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision http://news.sbts.edu/2015/06/26/mohler-responds-supreme-courts-same-sex-marriage-decision/

So-Called Same-Sex Marriage – Lamenting the New Calamity – John Piper

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/so-called-same-sex-marriage

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