I don't agree with the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. allowing same-sex marriage to be legal across the United States, based on my belief as a Bible-believing follower of Jesus Christ.
We are called to be salt and light in the world, professing the truth of our savior Jesus Christ and give reason for the hope we have in Jesus. The motivation is to set the record straight about what the Bible says, bound to the appropriate contexts. I am going on record. I am taking a stand for what I believe in. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)
Christians and non-Christians alike.
God's Model for Marriage
God's model for marriage is the union between one man and one woman. This is modeled in Genesis (Genesis 2:22-24 NLT) and later reaffirmed by Jesus (Matthew 19:4-6 NLT.)
This is what we read:
Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.
"At last!" the man exclaimed.
"This one is bone from my bone,
and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called 'woman,'
because she was taken from 'man.'"
This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
- Genesis 2:22-24 NLT
God is also against divorce (Matthew 19:6 NLT; 1 Corinthians 7:39 NLT; Romans 7:2-3 NLT; Malachi 2:16.) This is evident in Matthew 19:6 "Therefore what God has brought together, let no man separate" and Malachi 2:16 "God hates divorce ..." I point this out because this is part of the model for marriage, that it is a life-long commitment and is not to be taken lightly.
Sex outside of marriage is also wrong. 1 Corinthians 7:2 NLT shows this because Paul says the cure for sexual immorality is for people to get married.
This model does not provide room for same-sex marriage. Therefore same-sex relationships fall under sex outside of marriage, which is sexual immorality.
It is also not appropriate to say that same-sex individuals who have married can't be divorced -- these are not marriages in God's sight, again they fall under sex outside of marriage, which is sexual immorality, so legal divorce in these cases of same-sex marriage is appropriate and necessary.
Directly Addressing Homosexuality
Additionally, here are scriptures that directly address homosexuality:
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.
- Romans 1:26-28 NLT
I will only note that there is no other possible interpretation for Romans 1:26-28: it is clear and direct. Some argue that "natural relations" means a marriage and that same-sex marriage, if a nation allows same-sex marriage, would be considered a "natural relation". Paul does not speak of marriage in this passage however, so this argument is considered invalid. What it does say is that men are inflamed with lust for other men and it is shameful, indecent, and perverse. It also says that they receive the due penalty in themselves.
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. 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.
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NLT
Obergefell v. Hodges
Obergefell v. Hodges is a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held in a 5-4 decision that the fundamental right to marry is extended to same-sex couples.
LGBT individuals seeking to justify themselves with scripture have quoted Romans 13:1-2 in order to silence Jesus followers, which states:
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.
- Romans 13:1-2 NLT
However, if we keep reading Romans 13:3-4, we will find an important aspect of the context:
For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God's servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God's servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.
- Romans 13:3-4 NLT
The important thing to note here is that the author, Paul, clearly states twice that the authorities are God's servants. Today in America, the same can not be said for our country's leadership.
Additionally, we find another important aspect of submission to authority in Acts:
"We (the Pharisees) gave you strict orders never again to teach in this man's (Jesus') name!" he said. "Instead, you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about him (Jesus), and you want to make us responsible for his death!" But Peter and the apostles replied, "We must obey God rather than any human authority."
- Acts 5:28-29 NLT
This shows the important reality that we must submit to authority, but there are limits. Another logical for-instance would be that I submit to my the authority of my leaders at work, but if they ask me to do something that is against the law of the land, I would be expected and justified to not break the law of the land; thus obeying in this case the law rather than the leader's authority.
In summary, submission to the government is proper and necessary and in all cases we should receive punishment for violating the law - however, when God's Word and the law of a government are in conflict, God's Word supercedes the law of government.
Harm in Legalizing Same Sex Marriage
The problem this brings up is that we're institutionalizing and normalizing sin, which by nature is not one-time sin, but carries on continually. This is an abomination to God. It has unknown consequences on current and future generations.
But is law the answer?
The challenging assertion I must make here is: no. While I feel using law to institutionalize sin is clearly wrong and deeply troubling, having law in place preventing this same sin doesn't solve the problem. This is something already taking place in the heart.
The Bible proves that law was never intended to produce right behavior. It is a story about how God gave law in Leviticus and later reiterated in Deuteronomy with approximately 650 statues which includes the 10 Commandments, and how it was impossible to keep the law. In fact, the law was given to expose man's flaws, not to achieve right behavior. (Galatians 3:19 NLT)
All men are required to keep the law in all of its statutes, and if even one command is broken, man is guilty of violating the whole law.
This is an impossible standard to keep.
For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God's laws.
How then, can any man be saved? They can't through their own effort, it is only through Jesus Christ. Our only saving grace is that true belief in Jesus Christ brings about eternal salvation and no longer is man held to the Old Testament mosaic code
- James 2:10 NLT
, but instead the saved man becomes accountable to a new law, the law of the Spirit. This means following the Holy Spirit.
This bears repeating:
(a) Unbelievers are subject to the Old Testament mosaic law which includes approximately 650 statutes and the 10 Commandments
(b) Believers are not subject to the Old Testament mosaic law, but instead are subject to the law of the Spirit
Law of the Spirit?
It begs questions, like what is the law of the Spirit? In short, it means following the leading of the Holy Spirit and obeying the Holy Spirit within us. It begs the question, does it mean believers can murder, since this was one of the 10 Commandments which the believers claim no longer has effect on them? Rest assured! We are still subjected to authority, including the law of the land, and the law of the land of the US does not permit murder. Even if it did, we are shown in scripture that love is the most important commandment:
"You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind." And, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
- Luke 10:27 NLT
A guiding scripture here is found in the book of James:
Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
- James 4:17 NLT
Furthermore in Acts 15:29, we are given apostolic guidance whom we are also subject to authority, which states:
You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.
- Acts 15:29 NLT
God's Model for Marriage: Intolerant and hate-filled?
God is love. Unfortunately, the issue of same-sex marriage appears to be polarizing and generalizing people into one of two camps. On the one side, you have the folks that embrace and encourage same-sex marriage. On the other side, it is people who hate LGBT people. This message from the Bible is neither -- it is a message of love for all people.
For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
- John 3:16-17 NLT
But it is also a message that may not be well received because it says what it says and it is unchanging in the face of popular opinion. This is the Word of God, and God does not change. It says that homosexual behavior is wrong. Obviously, among other and equally important things. I will keep this bound to the context of God's model for marriage since that's the subject, so for instance it is also wrong to have premarital sex and it is also wrong to get a divorce as aforementioned. We aren't calling out and harping on homosexuality specifically. It just so happens that our stance on homosexuality is that it is a sin. The person engaged in this lifestyle is loved, but they are living in sin.
The next argument here goes like this: "You say love the sinner, but hate the sin. But these people have an immutable orientation, they are actually born homosexuals." And this is not true. People are tempted from youth with certain desires, yes. However, they have only one identity / orientation and that is that they are made in the image of God. As it is written,
So God created human beings in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
Then God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth
and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the
animals that scurry along the ground."
- Genesis 1:27-28
We also love you enough to confront the issue. In the same way we would confront heterosexual sex before marriage.
Can you be a Christian homosexual?
Some might say "I believe in Jesus, but I'm a practicing homosexual and this is how I intend to live my life." What can we make of this in light of the Gospel? The Gospel says you are saved if you believe in Jesus. As Romans 10:9 records, "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
However, that's not all the Bible has to say on the matter. There are also many verses which I believe are litmus tests. This is the connection between true belief and its subsequent obedience. The litmus test goes like this: where there is true belief, there is subsequent obedience.
Some examples: Romans 10:9 is an example in and of itself. The only requirement for salvation is belief ("believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead") however we also find this addition work-based requirement ("if you declare with your mouth.") So how can these two both be true, that salvation is in belief alone but you must also make a declaration? The declaration is the litmus test for true belief: in a person's life that truly believes, they will (have the opportunity to and act on) make the declaration.
"Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality,10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people -- none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NLT
So how can this be true, in light of belief alone being our salvation? Again, this is a litmus test. Note it says if you are (present tense) indulging in sexual sin, worshiping idols, committing adultery, being a prostitute, practicing homosexuality, are stealing, are greedy, are a drunkard, are abusive or cheat people, then you won't be going to heaven. But the next sentence says "some of you were once like that." The emphasis is "once were" and are no longer. The litmus test is the true belief in Jesus caused a subsequent change in heart through the Holy Spirit and the person stopped doing these things as part of the sanctification process in their life.
So if you believe you will actively participate in a homosexual lifestyle and enter the kingdom of heaven, you will be sorely disappointed at the end of your life. What it means is you never truly believed.
A final example, which hits closer to home for all believers, because God is not a respecter of persons:
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, "Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well" - but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn't enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
- James 2:14-17 NLT
Once again what we see is a litmus test, where the question is posed: if you claim faith, but have no fruit in your life as proof, do you really have the faith for which you claim? If you start seeking to justify yourself at this point saying "well who is my brother or sister," you need to get your heart in check. Luke 10:25-37 has a similar account of a man asking "who is my neighbor" and Jesus lays out the definitive answer: the one who is overlooked and in need.
In conclusion, anyone including a Christian, can have temptations for the same sex. Having temptation is involuntary. Acting on the temptation is sin, however, and the action is voluntary.
Is this a message of works?
No, not at all. See the words of Luke:
When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified-one on his right and one on his left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing." And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. "He saved others," they said, "let him save himself if he is really God's Messiah, the Chosen One." The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine. They called out to him, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" A sign was fastened above him with these words: "This is the King of the Jews." One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, "So you're the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself-and us, too, while you're at it!" But the other criminal protested, "Don't you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn't done anything wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom." And Jesus replied, "I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise."
- Luke 23:33-44 NLT
This rounds out the discussion and keeps it in appropriate balance. Here is the balance: faith alone saves, which requires no work. Even faith itself is a gift from God for which no man can boast. The fruit of faith is subsequent obedience which manifests in the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, self-control, faith, kindness, goodness, and gentleness), the great commission, and good deeds. However in the case of the thief on the cross, we see a man who came to faith and did not have the ability to do any good works, any works at all. He never even got down from the cross before he passed on into the next life! Yet his faith was enough to save him.
Some may argue, "Well I will wait until my deathbed, then profess Christ, to cover my bases." Good luck with that. You may not know your last moment until it comes, and it may come like a thief in the night. God also weighs the condition of our hearts, not the words on our lips, and he seeks a repentant and humble heart. Saying you would rather wait and only accept the Lord when you need it comes from a heart that is not right.
I feel obligated to also point out that none of us are perfect and this is not about being perfect, doing perfect things. The heart of the matter has always been a matter of the heart.
If you seek me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
- Jeremiah 29:13 NLT
Consideration of same-sex marriage as equality
A major basis of the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage came from Loving v. Virginia:
"Under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, no State shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." The fundamental liberties protected by this Clause include most of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights. See Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U. S. 145, 147-149 (1968). In addition these liberties extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices that define personal identity and beliefs.
In Loving v. Virginia, 388 U. S. 1, 12 (1967), which invalidated bans on interracial unions, a unanimous Court held marriage is "one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men."
In Loving the Court invalidated a prohibition on interracial marriage under both the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause. The Court first declared the prohibition invalid because of its unequal treatment of interracial couples. It stated: "There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the Equal Protection Clause.""
What can we make of this? The assertion is that interracial marriage was validated because interracial couples should receive equal treatment in marriage. By extension, the Supreme Court is saying that gay couples should also receive equal treatment in marriage.
From a Biblical point of view, interracial marriage is acceptable,
but homosexual marriage is not.
It should be made known that by this logic, other factors can later be brought in and validated all the same. An example would be, regardless of age, couples should receive equal treatment in marriage, so lets allow minors (i.e. anyone between the ages of birth and 18 included) to marry. It's clearly not right and minors should not be allowed to marry.
These two points of view are in fundamental contrast with each other. One is based on man's reasoning; the other is the Word of God. The Word of God also tells us that God's ways are higher than man's ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9.)
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the Lord. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
-Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT
And Almighty God, not fallible man, has the final word.
So, what next? Do you find yourself caught in a hopeless predicament? This is not a message of condemnation, but of hope. There is hope and hope is found in Jesus alone. As it is written,
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
- Jeremiah 29:11
(Author: Max Edmiston
. You can find my testimony here