So last Sunday, I spoke on the Supreme Court decision that, in so many words, says that it is ok for same sex couples to marry. Actually, it wasn’t so much that decision as it was a discourse on how Christians should react to such a decision from a Biblical perspective.
You can listen to the sermon (Listen here), but below is a brief synopsis of the lesson.
We are supposed to follow the laws of the land and honor the ruling powers. This is evident from passages like Romans 13:1-2 and 1 peter 2:17. So when a decision like the Supreme Court’s comes down, we might be tempted to ask “What do we do now?”
First, we should realize that “There is a God” and “we are not Him.” This is based on the fact that God created the world and so God gets to set the standards for right and wrong. -Gen 1:1.
Additionally, we need to realize the Bible is authoritative for us. According to 2 tim 3:16-17, the Scriptures are sufficient for us to be trained and instructed into every good work. The Authority of the Bible rests in the Authority of Jesus. Mt 28:18
When many people “speak for God”, they often use their own opinion but we should be using the Bible. We should speak as God speaks, after all, if he sets the rules, we shouldn’t try to change or modify them…just repeat them. 1 Peter 4:11.
Christians will rely on the Scriptures and not add to their faith, creed books, council edicts, or traditions of men. Man’s tradition tends to get elevated to the point were it can actually break God’s law- Mark 7:6-9
The idea of being subject to God’s words is not just for the Christian. Even Jesus, prior to His death and resurrection, only taught what God told Him to teach. The Holy Spirit was sent to the Apostles and He, too, only taught what He was told to teach. (John 8:28; 12:49;16:13)
The difficulty with the Supreme Court’s decision is that while we are to honor the laws of the land, this particular law says something contrary to what God has said. How then are we to act?
Fortunately, we learn from Daniel, among others, how we are to respond. In Daniel 6, we learn of a time when Daniel was tested by a law made which said that it was unlawful to pray to anyone except the king. Daniel, even after he knew that the command had been made, went home and prayed to God as he had always done.
His conviction was like Peter’s conviction: We must serve God rather than man. Acts 4:19
So what does this show us?
We now have the Supreme Court saying that it is moral and right for same sex couples to marry. We have God’s word saying that Homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God. I cor 6:9-10
The answer to how Christians are to act is to simply proclaim the Word of God. Look at the verses mentioned:
1Co 6:9-11 Or 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, (10) nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you. 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.
There are a couple of very obvious points that need to be made. Yes, the Scripture does say that those who practice homosexuality will not inherit the Kingdom. However, before you cast the stone at them (if you were inclined to cast a stone), do not forget about the sexually immoral or the adulterers!
Many Christians will be upset of the sin of homosexuality (and it is a sin) but turn a blind eye to the heterosexual sins of unmarried persons. This is not consistent. If you grimace when a TV show shows Homosexual lifestyle you should grimace when you see unmarried couples engaging in an immoral lifestyle. Sin is Sin.
Of course, we could talk about the thieves, murderers, and we should talk about them too!
We need to show love to the individual who is a sinner, and that includes us all, whether homosexual or heterosexual.
Love then is shown when you tell a sinner what God’s word says. It clearly does condemn sexual immorality. Those that practice it will not inherit God’s kingdom.
Love is also shown when you season your words not with hate but salt. (Col 4:5-6) There is a time for fire and brimstone but it is not all the time.
Homosexuality is a sin. Adultery is a sin. Fornication is a sin. As a preacher of God’s word, I do not show love if I do not say what God’s word says. God’s desire, and therefore, my desire is that all will be saved. How will they be saved if they do not hear and how will they hear if no one tells them?
Finally, one should never assume that Homosexuals or any other sinner will not change. Verse 11 is such a contrast to the list of sins and consequence of them. It says very clearly that the Corinthian Christians once WERE involved in the very sins that will prevent one from getting into the Kingdom of God. WERE! Past tense! They ceased which ever activity or activities that they were doing and repented.
The Biblical response to the Supreme Court’s decision is to simply preach what God says: With no hate, no animosity, no defensiveness but only love. Most will not listen, some will even persecute but we will show God’s love if we call people, all people to repent and to trust in Him.
I just could not resist writing about this story I saw. Here is a link to a story where a 16 year old high school student is suing for the right to wear a shirt which says “Jesus is not a homophobe”. There seems to be a controversy over the issue. Maybe he will win, maybe he won’t but I have a few things to say about this:
First, the young man is a brave individual. Regardless of what many people might say publicly, I still think that the vast majority is more uncomfortable with the homosexual lifestyle than comfortable with it. So for that reason I will give him the due of his courage to stand up for what he thinks is correct. In this country we value, or we say that we value, the freedom of speech.
Second, the young man is correct. Jesus is not a homophobe. In fact, Jesus loves the homosexual just as he does the heterosexual. To Jesus both are created in the image of God, have an eternal soul and if they believe in the Son of God, God will grant to them too the right to become sons of God.
Christians are not to be homophobes. This is also just as true. The fulfilling of the Great commandments of Loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself cannot be fulfilled if you have hatred toward the homosexuals of this world.
Of course it helps to define the terms we are using here. To be homophobic according to an online dictionary search says that it is “to fear or to hate homosexuals”. If it were only that simple; however, there is more to it than that. We also need to be very aware of what this young man is saying, it isn’t just that Jesus does not hate homosexuals but that Jesus tolerates homosexual behavior. He wants to be accepted and accepted as he is. Well, Jesus does save us “Just as I am” but he doesn’t want any of us to stay there but to become more like the I AM so that that song reads better “he saved me as I was”. Can you grow in Christ and be a practicing homosexual?
To answer that question, there are somethings that I will point out where this young man is wrong.
First, there are not “lots” of religions who “accept gay people””: I would ask him to name the ones that do. I think he would have a hard time doing so unless he resorted to looking some denominations who claim to be a Christian church who do and in that case, there are at least several groups that would indeed accept a homosexual. Of course, what he means really is that there are groups that will accept someone as a Christian and allow them to practice the homosexual lifestyle. Key word: PRACTICE as in participate in it.
Second, he may not realize this but Jesus does not love sin: We have to acknowledge this premise even before we even ask the question about whether homosexuality is a sin or not. This is the virtue that we add to our faith. If we accept that Jesus does not love sin, then we will also not love sin. As we add knowledge to our lives we will see what is and what is not a sin. Our view on this must be the same as Jesus’. Sin is an abomination to him. What is sin? Sin is missing the mark, sin is lawlessness, sin is not living the way God (who does all things in love) tells us we should live. So what constitutes sin?
What about heterosexuality? Sometimes! Make sure you read that correctly. I am talking about Hetero not HOMO sexuality. Is practicing sexual behaviors as a Heterosexual not a sin when two people who are not married engage in sexual behavior? When both are single we call it fornication, when one or both are married, we call it adultery, when it is forced on another we call it rape.
While we do frown on rape, most people are quite tolerant even supportive of heterosexual activity outside of marriage. We have friends who live together, we support TV shows with live-in couples and cheer for our favorite one. We want Amy to break up with Casey because she really belongs with Mark. And unless soap operas have changed in the last 20 years, everyone gets married to everyone else regardless of age differences or prior marriages (my former step father and I just got married after he divorced my mother…sigh! I cor 5 no longer applies even to the Gentiles)
So here is the point I am getting at. Yes, we know that the Scriptures teach to love all sinners but the scriptures also teach that all who come to Christ need to stop practicing their sins. If you want acceptance in the body of Christ you cannot, must not, shall not, continue to practice sin. Look at this list of sins the Corinthians were guilty of. Only one sin mentioned is of homosexuality, many others are listed.
Or 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. And such were some of you. 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.
Should the thief say “Well, I will not accept the practicing homosexual but I should still be allowed to steal?” Then neither can the homosexual say “I will not accept the drunkard but should still be allowed to practice homosexuality” All are to abandon their sinful ways!
Maybe this young man would support the wearing of a shirt that said “Jesus doesn’t hate the homosexual but wants him (and all sinners) to repent” After all, we just want to be accepted too. But our acceptance is an acceptance into the Kingdom of God. If this young man truly wants to be accepted and comforted, he needs to come to Jesus, not on his terms but on the Lord’s terms. However, that is the way it is for all of us.