So SCOTUS ruled last week that gay marriage will now be accepted by the government. And I’ve stayed off social media about it for several reasons. But I did want to write something about it from the perspective of a youth pastor (which I am), because I believe it’s incredibly important for students to have a biblical and loving stance toward this issue. With that said, here are a few things I want my students to know about gay marriage:
First of all, I believe the Bible is incredibly clear on issues of sexuality and marriage. What the scriptures say is that God was the one who invented marriage, and he designed it to (1) be between a man and a woman (Mark 10:7-8, Eph 5:31, Gen 2:24), and to (2) be a life-long relationship of sacrificial love that images the gospel of Jesus (Eph 5:25-31). Biblically, marriage is not just about love. It includes gender. It includes the gospel. Man and woman together, imaging Christ and his bride. The Bible is clear on this point. What this means is that anything outside of those boundaries is inherently not biblical. This includes gay marriage, but it also includes sex outside of marriage, live-in relationships, pornography, prostitution, etc.
Second, the ruling from our government in no way changes this definition of marriage. While the government may have redefined marriage in their eyes, it’s not changed in God’s. God has spoken, and no man can change that ruling. For this reason, we shouldn’t react as if it has changed the biblical definition. That’s impossible.
Third, our attitude toward this bill should be nuanced. Why? Well, first, the bill is not a threat to the biblical definition of marriage. And so we shouldn’t fear, or panic, or worry. In many ways, the game has not changed. Christians are on the same mission and plan: go make disciples of all nations. But at the same time, this doesn’t mean we should be indifferent. We live in a relativistic society: “Whatever works for you” is the mindset in America. And it would be easy to say to this bill: “whatever works for them. Just don’t take away my religion”. The massive problem with this, is we worship a Man who not only rose from the dead, but now reigns over the universe at God the Father’s right hand. And he calls all men to worship him or perish. Psalm 2:10-12 says this
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Philippians 2:8-10 says this:
Being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus calls kings and rulers and men from all nations, “kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish”. “Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord”. This applies to everyone. And as America whole-sale enables people their sin, we should grieve. Relativism or indifference is not an option (much less celebration!). Jesus is the risen King, and he calls everyone to allegiance to him.
Lastly, and most importantly, we must remember that homosexual practice is not a special sin. It certainly is a sort of the taboo topic right now, especially with all the media buzz. And we are forced to address it for that reason. But let’s not forget the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Notice the sins that Paul lists along with homosexuality. And, notice that all of them are equally condemnable. The “greedy” are no better than “idolaters”. “Revilers” are no better than “men who practice homosexuality”. The point here is that all sin is grievous in God’s eyes. Homosexuality is not any worse than the rest. Every type of sinner is on equal ground. The trouble is that it is often our temptation to “tame” sin. Greed is bad, but it’s not as bad as that sin over there. Stealing is pretty bad, but at least I’m not that guy over there. The Bible simply doesn’t allow us to rank our sins. All sin condemns. And Christ redeems every type of sinner. This is the humbling power of the gospel. And so, as we are forced to look at this issue of homosexuality and marriage, we simply cannot forget that God loves every type of sinner. And we are called to love them as well.