Sadly, on June 26, 2015 the Supreme Court of the Unites States of America voted in a 5/4 decision to make same sex unions legal in all 50 states. This is a new day in the history of the world – for a major world power to make this kind of change to the definition of marriage. As Christians know, the Supreme Court cannot redefine marriage, for they were not the ones to define it at its origin. The definition of marriage has been around for thousands of years and it will continue to be the union of one man and one woman. As hard as it is for us to think that they would overrule that long-standing definition – ultimately, for Christians, time is not what gives us our basis for our beliefs nor rulings of any court of any human power. The one and only ultimate foundation for Christian beliefs must come from God’s word. Without this basis as a foundation for our beliefs, we would make choices without any direction other than conscience, which can be wrong. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. We have all made really bad decisions before, but if we would have been wise to follow what God’s word says, we would not have made those wrong decisions. Our philosophy and what we believe to be true about LGBT individuals will have major implications to the way we live our lives from this day forward. As Dr. Albert Mohler stated in Which Way Evangelicals? There is Nowhere to Hide,
This is a moment of decision, and every evangelical believer, congregation, denomination, and institution will have to answer. There will be no place to hide. The forces driving this revolution in morality will not allow evasion or equivocation. Every pastor, every church, and every Christian organization will soon be forced to declare an allegiance to the Scriptures and to the Bible’s teachings on marriage and sexual morality, or to affirm loyalty to the sexual revolution. That revolution did not start with same-sex marriage, and it will not end there. But marriage is the most urgent issue of the day, and the moment of decision has arrived.
In this season of testing, Christians committed to the gospel of Christ are called upon to muster the greatest display of compassion and conviction of our lives. But true compassion will never lead to an abandonment of biblical authority or a redefinition of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Yes it is. It is a moment of decision for all Christians. It is a decision you will not only make today, but you will have to continue to make every day of your life, and you will go on to teach your children and grandchildren – one way or the other – right or wrong. The culture will be no less than a vacuum that will consume us if we do not know the truths found in God’s word and hold to them with conviction and courage. My desire is not to give you my opinion – now is not the time for opinion, yet it is to give you God’s revealed truth, which comes directly from his word. If you want opinion, this is not the article for you. I’m a Christian and all Christians believe the Bible is God’s word handed down from him to us as our ultimate authority.
From a biblical perspective, we understand that in one sense Christians will have to “accept” same sex unions because we are in the world. But on the other hand, we are not of the world, therefore we cannot and we will not “accept” same-sex unions, because we know that it is a rejection of God’s moral law.
Judge not, right?
But wait just a minute. “You can’t judge me!” will be quoted as long as this conversation continues, in an attempt to gag anyone with any sign of moral judgment. “Judge not, that you be not judged.” is probably one of the most well-known verses from the Bible – by both regenerate believers in Jesus Christ and those who are not. It seems as if Jesus is telling his disciples not to judge anyone – under any circumstance. This is in no way what Jesus is saying. Jesus wants his disciples to see their own sinfulness in such a way that they would be slow to speak and quick to listen. Here are Jesus’ words in complete thought found in Matthew 7:1-5.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.“
Please be careful to see that Jesus is getting at the hearts of his disciples. He wants them to be sure they are judging out of the right intent and without condemning desire toward others. Jesus explicitly says, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” He is telling them they are to judge, but to be very careful, because they will also be judged with the same measure.
Jesus also explains in Matthew 18:15-20 what a Christian is to do if another Christian sins against them. In this case, Jesus is assuming that the Christian would make a judgment as to if his brother had sinned against him. That judgment isn’t found in what he thinks is right, yet it can only be found in the Bible. Then we find in verse 17, Jesus says, “If he refuses to listen even to the church let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” This means, if someone has sinned and he will not repent of that sin, the church is commanded to excommunicate him from the church. Yes, Jesus tells Christians to treat unrepentant members as though they are nonbelievers. In their unrepentant state, they are living as though they do not know Jesus.
Paul isn’t left out. Paul’s letter to the Church at Corinth is also explicit on this matter. In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul addresses an issue of incest. He begins in verse 1 by saying, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.” I would say that Paul is doing a lot of judging here. He goes on to show the seriousness of sexual immorality by stating, “And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.” Paul says to kick this guy out of the church, due to his unrepentant sexual immorality. Yes, this is another biblical example of church discipline toward an unrepentant member.
What we must understand is that the Bible does not condemn judging, but it does condemn judgmentalism. Christians are called to judge the lives and fruit of other Christians, but in no case are we to have judgmental behaviors or attitudes. The Christian should not be as the scribes and Pharisees in John 8:1-11. They brought to Jesus a woman, who had be caught in the very act of adultery. They wanted to catch Jesus in a moral predicament. Verse 6 shows their judgmental heart at is deepest when it says, “This they [the scribes and Pharisees] said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him.” The highly influential religious leaders didn’t care one bit about this woman who had been caught in adultery. They didn’t care that she needed forgiveness for her sins. Nor did they care about the emotional hurt and pain that comes along with her sinful actions. They desired to reject Jesus and that shows the wickedness of their hearts. This kind of judgmentalism is sinful, but judging what is right from wrong is affirmed as good and even commanded by Scripture. Jesus judged not only the woman and told her in verse 11 to go and sin no more, but he also turned the tables and judged the scribes and Pharisees.
Christians in this age must have the right heart and attitude when they see hurting people in the world, who are living outside of God’s desired plan for the human race. Part of the reason we are having this problem is that churches have not correctly judged those inside the church as we have been commanded by Scripture. When we don’t judge our own (Christians) we become hypocrites to the world – and in some cases that is exactly what has happened. I have heard multiple conversations from church leaders saying that they are reconsidering church discipline as a part of their church’s policies. Sadly, the rise of the LGBT cultural gains is what has spurred church leaders to these conversations. It should not take the culture to make the church act in accordance with God’s word. Church discipline has been left behind, partly due to a culture that affirmed much of the same values of the church. This has obviously wained over time and they are becoming increasingly polar opposites. I am saddened by the movement and direction of the culture, but I am encouraged to see churches propelled back to biblical positions and actions. This will in effect lead churches to save many marriages from failing. It will help keep Christians from living in continual sin, by having accountability to one another. The direction and the speed at which it is changing will create a major distinction between the culture and the true Church. This distinction will be good and will ultimately help churches be healthier, with Christians growing spiritually, and by the grace of God will ultimately lead to more conversions to eternal life through trusting in Jesus as the Christ.
Based on the Bible, God will be the final Judge. The people of this world should desire that Christians judge them. We know that mere sinful humans would be much more gracious toward sin than the holy and righteous Judge called God. The true rejection is not the disagreement with legalization of same-sex unions as marriage. Ultimately, they do not want to hear that God will judge us all. All I can say is, he will. You can either take my word for it, or his. Paul tells us that we are not to seek revenge on those who do us wrong, “but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord (Romans 12:19).” We know that God will one day judge and make all wrongs, right. It is not our job to bring down judgment from above, but we are to warn of the judgment to come. Shouldn’t we warn those who we believe are in great danger? I am glad, very glad, for those who warned me – for it led me to repentance and faith in Jesus as my only hope.
Christians we are to judge those inside the church (Christians) and to make moral judgments on those who do not profess to be Christians, but we are never to have a judgmental attitude toward anyone. Our desire should only, and always, be to see the transformation of individuals living in sin, repent and trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.
God’s Word is Clear on Homosexuality
There has been much discussion about homosexuality. Questions have arisen like “Can a Christian be a homosexual?” or “Can a Christian affirm homosexuality as ok?”
The question we need to ask is “What exactly is homosexuality?” Homosexuality is the sinfulness of giving into same-sex attraction as a lifestyle. This may bother some of my Christian brothers and sisters, but same-sex attraction is not a sin. It is no more a sin than the desire I or any other man has to look at a woman other than my wife. The desire is not sinful. It is a product of my naturally sinful heart, but the desire and temptation alone is not sinful. Let me remind you what the writer of the book of Hebrews said, “[Jesus,] in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” The temptation of same-sex attraction is not sinful. On the other hand, giving into the desire and temptation of same-sex attraction is sin. All Christians struggle and fight against lust and temptations, but a Christian is not permitted to give into those desires, no matter if it is same-sex attraction, thievery, or gossip. When that happens, I have bowed my knee to the god of this world and my own idol, instead of doing what I know my God has called me to do – “Flee from sexual immorality” and all other sins (1 Cor. 6:18). Anything I love more than my God is an idol and doing anything he has told me not to do, has become an idol. Homosexuality is a particular branch of what the Bible calls sexual immorality. All sexual immorality is wrong, and homosexuality is included in that list.
God has called Christians to turn from our own desires and to look to him instead. What we have seen in our culture is an acceptance and affirmation of something that God labeled as sin. But this country has long been doing this. From Hardee’s commercials, to movies like Magic Mike XXL, to the affirmation of greed in all kinds of avenues. In one sense the same-sex “marriage” issue is not different, but it is different in that it is a sin that is being celebrated. Adultery is still not considered something to celebrate, nor molestation, nor domestic violence. These are not, but the culture has now, largely, accepted and in some since affirmed homosexuality as normal to the culture.
Paul speaks of homosexuality in Romans 1:24-27 when he says,
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and serve the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
The main issue with homosexuality is that they were serving idols. They were worshipping the creature instead of God the Creator. Paul judges these homosexual acts by stating that they are sin. The Bible speaks of homosexuality in a number of other places, but it never affirms nor ok’s it as anything less than sinful.
Is homosexuality worse than other sexual immorality? Jesus raises the stakes on what it means to commit adultery. He says in Matthew 5:27-28,
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Those who look at a woman with lustful intent have committed adultery of the heart! Have you committed adultery? Probably so, if we use Jesus’ standard. It seems too much for us to handle – and it is. We can’t, without a new nature. Without the help of the Holy Spirit leading, guiding, and directing us we cannot handle nor turn away from sin.
Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 are helpful. It says,
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.
In the sentence, “And such were some of you.” the word “were” is a past tense verb. This shows us that these Christians are no longer living in a continual pattern of sin. The good news is that the gospel of Jesus Christ is powerful enough to break thievery, greed, drunkenness, and even the chains of sexual immorality. Some Christians had previously been homosexuals in the city of Corinth. In the same way if we will see our own sinfulness, repent (turn from) and believe in the good news of Jesus Christ, he is faithful to forgive us of all our sins – every last one.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” The old person has left and the new one has arrived. If your life has never changed, repent now (that means turn from your sinfully wicked ways) and place your belief, trust, commitment in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. No Christian has a right to boast, because we were in the same boat as everyone else. We have no right to boast in ourselves, but we do boast in our God. You can too, if you will repent and trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Then you can boast of the power of your God!
As Christians, we must be knowledgeable of Romans 1:32 which says, “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” Christians cannot practice nor approve of homosexual behavior, nor any other sexual immorality, nor any other sin. Christians must live counter-culturally. They must look different from the culture around them. Better yet, they will look different from the culture around them.
God’s Word is Clear on Marriage
The best way to understand what God designed the world to be like is to go back before sin entered the world. As early as Genesis chapter 1 we see the design God had for the world and all his creatures. On the sixth day of the creation of the heavens and the earth, God created mankind. He lays it out beautifully in Genesis 1:27-28 when he says,
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
God created man and woman in his image. These are clearly two separate sexes, while both are made in the image of God. He created them both. Then he blessed them and that led to something very important. His blessing, in this context, is directly related to their responsibility to reproduce. God uses the term be fruitful and multiply. His glory is being shown in the two humans he created, but he wants them to multiply and fill the earth, so that his glory is seen ever so much more. They are to subdue the earth together and also to have dominion over everything else he has created on the earth. It is man’s responsibility to do what God has given them to do and that can only be done in the context of marriage between one man and one woman.
Mankind is made in the image of God. That is something that no other part of creation can claim. We are images of God himself, but in a much lesser form. We do not indwell all of his attributes fully nor infinitely as he does. With that said, it is a major thing to be made in the image of God. We are not like plants, land animals, fish of the sea, nor the fly on the wall. We are created in the image of the God of the universe and we should not take that nor our responsibility lightly.
What are the takeaways for Christians?
- Christians cannot accept same-sex “marriage” as good, right, legally ok, nor socially acceptable. But we will have to accept it as a reality of this sinful world.
- Stand strong and courageous on the truth about what God’s word says on the matter of homosexuality and all other issues. We are to judge fellow believers in Jesus Christ, and those who claim to be followers of Jesus. This is for their good, for the witness of the Church, and ultimately to protect the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
- We are to stand firm and say that any form of sexual immorality is sinful – whether that be homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, rape, bestiality, or even the lust of the eyes. All of these and many more are abhorrent to God.
- A Christian cannot give into and live a life of continual sin. A person cannot be a Christian and accept something that is clearly rejected by God’s word.
- We are to stand firm that biblical marriage is only between one man and one woman.
- As Christians, we are to never have a judgmental attitude or heart. Our desire should always be to see people come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Repent means to turn from sin and to turn to Jesus. A Christian has the Holy Spirit as a Helper, and we are commanded to continually turn from the things that are sins against God. Once a person becomes a Christian, they have the power over sin, therefore we should not continue in that sin any more. Paul affirms this by saying in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man, God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Christians have ultimate hope in Jesus Christ as their Savior who paid for their sins on the cross, but the Christian also has the power over sin and now has the power to fight sin in a way they did not have before. The good news is that, if you are a Christian, you do not have to sin anymore. You have power over sin, but you will mess up and sin. That is when we call upon the name of the Lord Jesus for his forgiveness. We don’t give into sin. No, we are called to fight against it with all we have, then when we do sin, we call upon Jesus for help. And he is there to forgive.
All need forgiveness through the blood of Jesus and that can happen. But there is only one way in which it will happen. Jesus’ own words are “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
If you would like more resources on the topic, you can find many helpful ones at http://erlc.com/erlc/scotus.