Same Sex Marriage on Holy Week: Why the Convergence is Good
There is quite a fascinating juxtaposition of Holy Week and an issue being weighed by the Supreme Court. A former IBM programmer is asking the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act which passed by overwhelming margins in both houses of Congress in 1996 with Bill Clinton signing the act into law (incidentally, he is now against it). Arguments began in the challenge to California’s Proposition 8 which resulted in the voters putting an end to same sex marriage in the state. All of this is happening on the federal level while Christians worldwide are observing the events surrounding Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
There have been various reactions to this. To some, the timing is an outrage, to be sure. People are lining up on both sides of the issue and social media is aflame with arguments for and against the expansion of marital rights for same sex couples. Those who embrace Christ as their Savior are divided on the question as well. So, what is a Christian to do?
I think that the timing is fantastic. You may think that I have most definitely lost it this time but bear with me as I explain. This week is all about the Gospel and we have the opportunity to communicate a very important message with this co-mingling of what is happening in Washington today and what happened in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.
Let’s go back to John 3:16.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
I included verse 17 because it is an important component to probably the most well-known verse of the Bible. Notice whom God loves. It isn’t just Christians. It’s not just Jews or just Gentiles. It’s not just those who are most like Him or the least like Him. It’s not limited by skin color, ethnicity or personality. To go even further, it’s not limited by how someone was born or what they have done since that day they appeared on this Earth. Let’s just state it plainly, God loves homosexuals and straight people and people with 80’s hair and people with no hair or less hair (thank God for that).
While the Westboro Baptist cult screams, “God hates (sorry, not using the epithet)!” we need to say, “God loves all people.” It’s sin that God hates. Note the “things” God hates, not the people:
These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19).
It is easy for people to feel better about themselves by pointing their bony fingers of judgment at someone else’s sin. Yet the Gospels urge us to deal with our own. Jesus taught over and over again, “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He also made it clear that the only way to God and Heaven was through Him: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
The Apostle Paul stated that by one man, Adam, sin came into the world and death by sin (Romans 5:12). He stated that all have sinned and fall short of God’s standard for them (Rom. 3:23). The penalty for sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life and we get that through Jesus (Rom. 6:23). The alternative according to the Bible is eternal punishment in hell (see Matthew 25:41; Luke 12:5; Revelation 20:12-15).
True, the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament, sees same sex relations as sin. But it also sees other things as sins. Check out this passage from the New Testament:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
Looking at that list, you see that there are quite a number of sins listed there that keep people out of God’s kingdom. If you look carefully enough, you should see at least one that you have committed. So, what is the solution?
Here it is:
That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-12
Jesus died for all sinners. However, not all will receive this gift of eternal life so not everyone will benefit from His death, burial and resurrection. Check out Matthew 7:13-14. It’s not that God doesn’t have the desire for all to be saved; He does (2 Peter 3:9). However, He has determined that salvation will come only through His Son. Everyone has the freedom to choose whom they will follow, Jesus in His path to Heaven (John 14:6) or Satan in his rebellion to Hell (Matthew 25:41). Have you made your choice?
Father God, I pray that during this time of bitter debate in our country, that Your bright light will shine. May each and every person see that this week is a reminder of your love for the entire world. You don’t hate sinners but sin and we are all guilty on that front. Help us to see our own sin and our own need for the Savior. I pray that You will bring someone to Yourself through this post. It’s in the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.
Not sure what to do? Perhaps you could pray a prayer of faith like this.
Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and that because of the wrong things I have done, that I deserve Your judgment. I am also aware that Jesus died for those sins and rose from the dead. He provides the only path to Heaven, through His shed blood on the cross. Forgive me for my sin. Save me, O God, through Your Son. Help me to live for You, desiring less to please myself and others and desiring more to please You. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
Let's not give in to the temptation to be a part of the problem in the debate of this week. Let us share the love of Christ and salvation in His name for all sinners, even you and me.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."