“Jesus answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4-5)
Thus, for the Christian, marriage is defined.
Note that our Lord defines marriage in response to a question about divorce. Admittedly, as broken and sinful human beings, many have failed to honor our Lord’s instruction regarding the permanency of the marriage covenant. Nevertheless, Jesus’ definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman is hardly open for debate.
On June 26, 2013, we witnessed a further progression from our Lord’s definition of marriage as the United States Supreme Court did its part to push open the door of gay marriage. As a civil matter, is that progress to be celebrated, lamented or simply ignored by Christ followers?
Advocates of gay marriage appeal to the American ideals of equal rights and equal protection. Emotional arguments call on us to respect the fact that two people who love each other, regardless of gender, deserve to be together. Sounds reasonable enough. Where is the scandal?
To me, the scandal of gay marriage and of homosexuality in general seem evident enough from the natural order. The special revelation of God’s word confirms what we observe in the natural order. For example, in addition to Jesus’ definition of marriage in Matthew 19, strong language in Old Testament passages, like Leviticus 18:22, is echoed in the New Testament by Paul when he states that homosexuals are committing “indecent acts’” and will receive “the due penalty for their perversion” (Romans 1:27).
As our culture continues to embrace and even celebrate homosexuality, we must communicate clearly the teaching of Scripture. Sexual temptation is no respecter of persons. It will come, in its various forms, to those inside the Lord’s church as readily as to those outside of the church. We must not allow Christ followers to be vulnerable to the sin of homosexuality as an “unknown sin.”
Does Scripture’s strong and straightforward language mean that the sin of homosexuality is any worse than heterosexual sins? No. And, when it comes to sexual sin, as we apply the high standards of God’s perfect and righteous judgment, most all of us are found guilty.
But, thanks be to God, the gospel of Jesus Christ is a balm of healing and salvation to ALL who have sinned and fallen short. Might we, with a renewed sense of urgency, obey his admonition to “go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23).