I was deeply saddened Friday, June 26, when I heard the Supreme Court had rejected the traditional and biblical view of marriage between a man and a woman and legalized same-sex marriage across the country. At the same time, I cannot say I was totally surprised. Over the last decade or two, there has been a concerted effort by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) advocates promoting and normalizing this immoral and sinful behavior. As a result many church denominations have been pressured to and are also endorsing this lifestyle.
The potential implications of this landmark decision to Bible-believing Christians are significant. At the same time, the timeless principles of biblical truth remain the same today as they did prior to this ruling.
- Marriage was instituted and ordained by God. It was not an invention of man. No human government or supreme court can ever change this reality.
- God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman for life. Nothing will ever change this original design and intent.
- The very design of marriage is intended to beautifully reflect and demonstrate the relationship between Jesus Christ and the church.
- Any sexual activity or relationship outside God’s design of marriage is immoral and sinful. Every sinful relationship is equally offensive to God.
In many ways, the broader church community shares in the blame of the breakdown of marriage and family values in the United States of America. Much of the so-called “church” has defiled the sanctity of marriage by permitting and encouraging divorce and remarriage. Much of the church has compromised the truth of God’s Word. Divorce and remarriage drastically mars the beautiful imagery of marriage in portraying Christ and the church to the unbelieving world and culture around us. If the “church” is unwilling to stand up for the truth of God’s Word and the sanctity of marriage, why should we expect the surrounding culture to continue to embrace those things that have been rejected by the church?
One of the things that is a unique with this issue the way this sinful and immoral lifestyle is celebrated and glamorized. Same-sex marriage was not only legalized, but there is widespread pride and celebration that accompanies it. This is unique in that many sins are still rejected and looked down upon by society as a whole. Murder is and remains a criminal offense subject to lifelong imprisonment or the death penalty. Stealing & robbery are not acceptable or tolerated in our society. Even slander is looked down upon and subject to civil (if not criminal) prosecution. Adultery–extra-marital affairs–is broadly viewed with disapproval and often results in a loss of public trust. At the same time, there is widespread celebration and pride in same-sex relationships.
We are led to believe there are only two ways to respond to this ruling: celebration or hate. This myth is perpetuated by characterizations of the political left and the political right. The assumption is that if you are not celebrating this decision, you must be a hater. On the other hand, if you don’t display a certain level of disdain, you must be celebrating. For the born-again believer, neither of these responses are appropriate. Christians should not celebrate nor should they hate! Instead, a Christ-like response of respectfully “speaking the truth in love” is required. Our responsibility is to faithfully live for King Jesus and His kingdom which is not of this world. We should in no way diminish the truth of the gospel, but neither should we intentionally antagonize those who do not share our belief system.
We dare not compromise the truth: homosexuality is sin. At the same time, we must demonstrate genuine agape love to all people, because each and every one is created in the image of God. We also must be clear that the redeeming gospel of Jesus Christ is available for everyone. Through true repentance and submission to the lordship of Jesus Christ, there can be victory over every sin.
God is the final judge of all sin. Each one of us will stand before God one day and give account for every sin that has not been covered by the blood of Jesus. He will judge everyone fairly. He will judge all sin–not just certain sins. Homosexuality is sin. Divorce and remarriage are sin. Any form of sexual immorality is sin. God will hold each of us accountable for any unrepented sin; it doesn’t matter whether it is covetousness, stealing, lying, cheating, murder, idolatry, unforgiveness, slander, malice, anger, etc. All sins are equally offensive to God!
The ripple effect of the legalization of same-sex marriages will have on churches, Christians, and pastors is unknown. It is safe to assume that life for believers who speak out in truth on this issue will not become any easier, and the potential for increased levels of persecution is not out of the question.
In the meantime, there are a number of things we can and need to be doing. First of all, we need to pray! We need to come to God in repentance for our own unconfessed and secret sins. We need to pray for revival in the church – the body of Christ. And we need to pray for this nation and its leaders. Secondly, we need to reaffirm what we believe and why. Increasingly, we will find our beliefs challenged and ridiculed. If we don’t know what and why we believe, we can’t expect to stand against opposition. Thirdly, we need to be prepared to stand for truth–even if it is against popular opinion or even the law of the land. Truth is increasingly opposed and attacked. Finally, we need to be prepared and willing to suffer for truth. We must not compromise the truth of God’s Word because of popular opinion, but we cannot assume unbelievers to tolerate our stand for truth.
My challenge is to take this opportunity to deepen our commitment to God and the truth of His Word. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we have the opportunity to show Christ-like love, speak truth in love, and demonstrate the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who attack and oppose us.
David Nisly, Lead Pastor
June 28, 2015