Marriage and A Call To Repentance With A Promise
In the sight of God sin is still sin regardless of what church authorities say, governments stamp, or courts approve. The recent decision of the Supreme Court (6/2015) perhaps did not surprise many people. As it took away from the states to make their own decision on the subject of homosexual/lesbian unions, it effectively put the federal stamp of approval on immorality. But leaving the politics behind, the decision of the court validates the fact that what is legal is not necessarily moral. It made legal the perversion that brought God’s judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18), and which Scripture in other places, for example Romans 1, roundly condemns.
What God established in the garden (Genesis 1, 2), and confirmed in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, was a spousal relationship of a man and a woman. We call it marriage. The Court has hijacked that term like the homosexuals have hijacked the word “gay.” Both have played loosely with otherwise commonly used words.
Now as the Court has spoken are we not to support the law as well as participate, if asked to perform rites that validate what the Court approved? What is to be the reaction of Christians who believe as we do that we are to obey government (Romans 13)? In short, we will obey government so long as we are not asked to do or participate in anything that God says is sin. As Lutheran Christians who have respect for the Word of God, there is a higher authority to whom we must answer, and that is the Lord God. With this ruling, unlike any others that come to mind, we are now going to have to put our words into action. We have spoken boldly; now we must meet the challenge, if and when necessary, in testimony to what Scripture says, “We ought to obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). Obey God, and face the consequences in society!
Christians who on the basis of conscience oppose homosexual relationships have the Word of God as their instructor and authoritative response, whereas the other side appeals not to the Word of God, but variously to fairness, rights, and other such. catch-phrases. And while Christians revolt against such uniting of homosexuals, yet they recognize it is a law that can be changed only by working in an orderly fashion within the legal system. By contrast, the other side supports its cause by intimidation, threat, boycott, and such like. They have given up the moral high ground because there is none. And it is a dark day within Christendom when churches whether as a matter of principle, or out of fear of offending someone, have participated in, if not promoted, what God calls sin.
The response of the opposition to our rejection of the homosexual life-style and the Court judgment is that we “hate” homosexuals. Any denial of that charge on our part of course falls on deaf ears; nevertheless we go on record that our objection to the situation is not born of hate for the individuals caught in this sin. But we have to make a choice. Will we choose to offend the Lord God before whom we will stand one day, or run the risk of offending other mortals who will also stand before God on the day of judgment? Will we say “yes” to the Word of God, or “yes” to what is contrary to that Word. Shall we neglect to speak the truth in an effort to save a soul caught in the snares of sin, or shall we speak the truth, and the love of God, in an effort to snatch an iron from the fire? If we have the mind of God Who does not desire the death of the sinner, but that the sinner turn from his way and live, we will speak honestly, but in love with an earnest prayer that the love of Christ will win the heart for salvation. To care about the soul is love, not hate!
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55: 7)
As Bible believers we respect God’s ordinance of marriage. He instituted marriage for the blessing of man and woman, for the purpose of protecting against immorality, and for the procreation of children. Out of respect for the Lord and his will, it is common practice that we enter into the marital relationship (one man and one woman) by pledging before God faithfulness to one another. We ask the Heavenly Father to bless the union that is entered into with the Word, and prayer. Entering into the union is an implicit and explicit testimony on the part of a couple that they will remain in the union until the Lord Himself dissolves it through death.
But now we must face some difficult questions as Christians. We who object to homosexual unions, and claim respect for marriage as God instituted it, how are we doing? Is there perhaps a bit of hypocrisy when professing Christians enter into live-in situations without marriage because “we love one another and want to spend our life together?” Sounds vaguely familiar to what homosexuals say. Some claim the divorce rate is down. We would like to think that, but could the divorce rate be down because couples no longer marry but live together without marriage? Sin is sin. Are those who decide to start “Playing house together” on a higher moral ground before the holy God than those who enter into homosexual unions? How do people who entered into marriage in the normal way, and with the blessing of the Lord, defend opting out of the marriage because they are bored, or because they have become enamored with someone other than the one to whom they pledged faithfulness “until death parts us?” What makes adultery that causes a marriage to break up a lesser sin in the sight of the holy God than taking up with someone without marriage, or a lesser sin than a homosexual relationship? How are we who stay with our spouse for the life-time treating one another within that relationship? Who can cast the first stone? Is there perhaps a beam to be pulled out of our own eye before a splinter is picked from our neighbors?
Hard questions! None among us can stand before the Lord in our own robes because our robes are stained with sin and corruption.cl That is reality. Our witness against the perversion approved by the Court is not a “holier-than-thou” indictment, but a call to join us in daily contrition and repentance that the old Adam might be drowned and a new man—one clothed in the robes of Christ righteousness—might arise and stand in faith before the throne of God. As we acknowledge the sins of our own flesh, we have the confidence in God’s grace that our sins are covered. They are removed (1 John 1: 8-9). For Jesus’ sake the Father forgets them, and what He forgets, He forgets! Thank the Lord for His patience, and His abundant grace!
Drawing on His love for us may we be strengthened to live our life to His honor and glory. May we respect Him in all things, and appreciate the relationship He has instituted in marriage and which by His design is a picture of Christ and His Church. Finally, may He guard us so that we will always speak the truth in love to the erring and lost with prayer that they will turn from their way and live.