Yesterday, I began a dialogue about so-called "same-sex marriage" by examining the facts of two cases currently being debated in the Supreme Court. You likely didn’t need to be reminded this is an important issue, but let’s take a hard look at what’s really at stake.
The two cases the Supreme Court is debating have the combined power to radically alter the legal definition of marriage. We may want marriage to stay defined as the union between one man and one woman for lots of reasons . . . tradition, comfort, affirmation of our lifestyle. But it’s important for us to know much more is on the line. Ephesians 5:28–32 says,
“In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (emphasis mine).
From a biblical standpoint, at the heart of our understanding of marriage is that it was designed to be a picture of Christ’s relationship with His bride, the church. Ultimately, it’s not about loving who we want to love or living how we want to live as much as it’s about putting the great mystery of Christ’s passionate love for His bride on display.
Right now the courts believe it’s their job to adjudicate the legal definition of marriage. Regardless of where the courts land on this, it’s the church’s job to protect the picture. We make great gains in this area when we guard our own marriages diligently and refuse to let the idea seep into our thinking that marriage is essentially a contract that can be re-written or broken, or that it is about our personal happiness. Which leads me to three action steps:
Action step #1: View marriage as a picture of Christ and the church.
We need to make sure our stance is rooted in protecting the essence and definition of marriage presented in the Word, because that definition has something to teach us all about God’s love.
Action step #2: Love homosexuals well.
I could just as easily say love "all sinners" well--whatever the nature of their dominant sin patterns. The principle applies across the board, but we seem to have a hard time as the church truly loving homosexuals, and we’ve done some collateral damage as a result.
The story found in John 8:1–11 is great homework for this point. In this passage, Jesus encounters a woman embroiled in sexual sin. Clearly, her lifestyle didn’t match up with God’s standards for holiness. Jesus didn’t ignore that, but He first stood in front of her as an advocate while the crowd clamored for punishment. He did say, “Go and sin no more,” but not until after she had been introduced to the Savior in love.
We won’t win the homosexual argument in court cases or scathing blog posts. The Gospel is the only hope we have for hearts to be made new. Those who embrace a homosexual agenda or lifestyle may not be persauded by our agenda or point of view. But there is still a God in heaven who can transform lives with His irresistible grace.
A true story makes this point well. It’s about a lesbian English professor who encountered a pastor and his wife who simply loved her well. They didn’t try to get her to change her lifestyle. They didn’t rail at her with those verses against homosexuality I listed yesterday. They did love her, extend hospitality to her in their home, pray for her, live out God’s Truth, and patiently engage her heart and mind over an extended period of time, as the Spirit was drawing her to Jesus.
The answer to this issue, and all issues where the culture moves against God’s Truth, is revival. We need hearts changed by the Gospel, not more people who agree with us on laws and court cases. Speaking of revival . . .
Action step #3: Pray about what’s happening in our culture. Ask God to intervene.
Here’s a verse quoted so often that we tend to gloss over its power:
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14)
Our divided land certainly needs healing, but the deepest changes we need will not come through legislation or public policy. Prayer is not our only work. But we have no more vital work as Christians than to pray. And no other work is likely to have its desired results until we first cry out to Him in prayer. Let’s start praying for God to move. And let's keep praying until He does.
The culture is shifting away from a biblical worldview at pell-mell speed. Research persistently indicates that people are leaving the church in droves. Of those of us who remain in the church, fewer and fewer look to the Bible as the source of Truth. What’s happening in the courts and in the arena of public opinion is a byproduct of a bigger problem: people desperately need God and His Truth in their lives.
So let’s do the hard work required to get on our knees and stay on our knees in prayer, asking God to heal our land and to use us as truthful, gracious ambassadors for His Gospel. He has promised He will hear us and respond. With that in mind, let me issue a call to action you can do right where you sit. Ready. Set. Pray.