Where should we, as Christians, stand on gay marriage?
A Christian can come at the issue of gay marriage from several different directions.
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To a person—Christian or not—who is an integral, loving part of the world, gay marriage almost makes sense. "God is the god of love," people say. "If two people love each other, they should be allowed to show it." It's especially difficult when circumstantial evidence brought about by personal observation seems to contradict the Bible. In other words, we want our friends to be happy.
This is the dilemma for some Christians regarding gay marriage: do we agree with what God says or follow the wisdom of the world? First Corinthians 1:18-20 says:
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.' Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
The passage relates to the issue of gay marriage on two levels. The wisdom and logic of the world may very well indicate that gay marriage is a basic right. But no one who is learned in the Bible can honestly say that the Bible supports homosexual relationships. That "wisdom of the world" may lever its way in and lead some to agree to a twisted interpretation, but the Bible cannot be read by sentiment, fear, selfishness, or foolishness.
The passage also shows how gay marriage relates to the cross. The wisdom of the world will say that the cross is not enough for a person with same-sex attractions. It will say a physical relationship or the right to marry should also be an option for a fulfilled life. As the serpent told Eve—God is holding out by not allowing you to experience what you should.
This misrepresents the person of Jesus and His power to save. Save not only eternally, but provide freedom and grace in this life. Jesus was clear about Christians who deceive the naïve about sin: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea" (Mark 9:42). Condoning sin and supporting a lifestyle of sin pushes the lost away from the saving grace of Jesus.
Many Christians, particularly those who are theologically and/or politically conservative, are not encumbered with sympathetic feelings regarding homosexual behavior. The issue is not so much the feelings of their friends, but living with the shifts in societal norms. Gay marriage has been accepted by many states, and that acceptance is likely to spread. The agenda to normalize homosexuality by legally recognizing same-sex marriage is well on its way. How should Christians respond?
Recognize that the government doesn't save. We are not in a theocracy where Christians are responsible for the moral behavior of others. On the other hand, as a constitutional republic, we have the beautiful right to have a say in how much God will bless the country as a whole; the more the country follows His guidelines for healthy living, the more we will reap the rewards that naturally result.
Is it appropriate to control the moral behavior of others through government? Only insofar as the government reasonably allows, and only within the context of Scripture. Better to say, it is not scriptural to rely on the government to enforce biblical behavior. Jesus told us how to influence others: love them and preach the gospel.
God already told us in His Word that as the end times draw near, society will turn against Him. Homosexuality is a result of the rejection of God (Romans 1:21-25). Gay marriage is the institutionalization of the rejection of God. None of this should be a surprise for those who know the Scriptures. It is good and right to encourage the governing authorities to discourage sin. It is not good to become alarmist. Perhaps gay marriage does herald the end of the world, but that's what we've been looking forward to, anyway (Revelation 22:20).
There is another option. Pray for those caught in homosexuality. Be kind (1 Corinthians 13:4). Show Jesus' love (Ephesians 4:15). Bring them to a saving faith in Christ. Let Jesus guide you as to how to confront (Galatians 6:1). Don't be hateful; don't be a bully. Live in that place where Jesus loves and kneels down and provides healing and then says, "Go and sin no more." It is loving to be kind and patient, but it is also loving to encourage someone toward holiness.
The Bible teaches how Christians should respond to gay marriage. Don't condone it; no matter how much we may love our friends and want to see them happy, real love is bringing them to a saving relationship with Jesus, not encouraging a sinful lifestyle. Do vote against it; those who live in a republic should use their rights to encourage the government to promote healthy behavior. Recognize what's really going on; our fight is not against flesh and blood, and if we expect the world to see things from a biblical point of view (John 15:18-19), we're just going to get a concussion from banging our heads against the wall. Battle for hearts, not causes; love is characterized by both truth and kindness, and it will take both to lead others to the relationship that saves.
Is homosexuality a sin?
What does the Bible teach about marriage?
Biblically, what constitutes a marriage?
Why did God allow polygamy in the Bible?
Does the Bible say anything about interracial marriage?
Truth about Marriage