For those who do not know, an evangelical is one who holds to the essentials of the Christian faith. The first of those essentials is an adherence to the Bible as God’s inerrant, infallible and authoritative truth. The Bible is a revelation from God to man. It does not address every subject, but what it does reveal is absolutely true about God, history, science, mankind, spirituality and morals.
God’s Word Defines Marriage
God’s Word reveals marriage is a divine institution and not a human social construct. Marriage is a covenant relationship between a man and a woman and is intended to be for a lifetime (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:3-6). Marriage began with the first humans—male and female—at the beginning of time-space-history (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:18-25). Concerning marriage, Moses wrote “a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Jesus Himself stated marriage began in the Garden of Eden and is between a man and a woman (Matt. 19:4-6).
And He [Jesus] answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning [of time and space and history; see Genesis 1-2] made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? [Gen. 2:24] So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matt. 19:4-6)
Two immediate observations come out of Jesus statement: 1) marriage is a divine institution that was given to mankind at the beginning of time-space-history and, 2) marriage is between one man and one woman. In Scripture, marriage is regarded as a holy institution. Marriage is illustrative of Yahweh’s relationship with Israel (Isa. 54:5), and Christ’s relationship with the church (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:22-33). To pervert the institution of marriage—by definition and practice—is an attack on the God who gave it.
Homosexuality is a Sin
The Bible tells us, “God is love” (1 John 4:16). This is true. But is also tell us, “the LORD is righteous, [and] He loves righteousness” (Ps. 11:7). God’s love cannot be separated from His righteousness. Some claim they have “love” for each other, but any claim to love that is contrary to God and His righteousness as revealed in Scripture is ultimately a false love, a selfish love, a sinful love. Sin is any violation of God’s righteous commands. The Bible plainly declares homosexuality as sinful (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Tim. 1:8-10). As such, God does not honor that which is contrary to His righteous character.
You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. (Lev. 18:22; cf. Lev. 20:13)
But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching. (1 Tim. 1:8-10; cf. 1 Cor. 6:9-10)
Homosexuality is a sin like many other sins (adultery, murder, lying, perjury, gluttony, etc.). The internal propensity toward the homosexual lifestyle is born out of a person’s sin nature. Homosexual acts can be committed by both Christians and non-Christians. As a sin, it can be forgiven, and the Christian with homosexual tendencies can learn to live righteously as God intends. This is true for all Christians who struggle with strong sinful desires, whatever that may be, whether alcoholism, drug addiction, anger, violence, promiscuity, or anything else.
God Loves Sinners but Hates Their Sin
The Bible regards sin as any thought, word or action contrary to the holy character of God. The introduction of sin—both in human nature and behavior—corrupts all persons, making us totally depraved, such that sin permeates every aspect of our humanity (Rom. 3:10-18, 23; 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:21-22). The Bible teaches everyone is a sinner (Rom. 3:9). We are sinners because of our relationship to Adam (Rom. 5:12, 19; 1 Cor. 15:21-22), we are sinners by nature, born with a rebellious heart (Rom. 7:14-25; Gal. 5:17), and we are sinners by choice every time we yield to temptation (Jam. 1:14-15). People given over to sin pervert God’s institutions as well as His plans for humanity.
God loves us and desires our salvation and fellowship with Him. He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). And what is God’s saving truth? It is the good news that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3-4). The greatest expression of God’s love occurred nearly two thousand years ago when He sent His Son into the world to die for us that we might have forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life (John 3:16-19; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:13-14).
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18)
God is patient with us. Scripture reveals the Lord “is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). This means God gives us time and opportunity to hear His gospel message and to respond to it. God is gracious toward us. “But Thou, O Lord, art a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth” (Ps. 86:15). God Himself shows grace and love toward everyone, including those who hate Him (Matt. 5:45; Rom. 5:6-10). Jesus stated, “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45). God loves us, no matter our spiritual depravity, and He has created an open door for us to come to Him through the work of His Son, Jesus Christ. We come to God with the empty hands of faith, trusting in Christ alone as our Savior.
God is righteous and will judge those who reject and suppress His truth. There is a serious and dire warning that God gives in His Word about those who suppress His truth in unrighteousness. Paul writes, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom 1:18). When a person continually rejects God’s revelation of Himself in nature and Scripture, then God eventually gives that person over to her/his sinful passions and degrading lusts (Rom. 1:24).
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper (Rom. 1:26-28)
To have a “depraved mind” means a person’s thinking is grossly perverted and that right judgment eludes her/him. The final result of those who reject God is a life forever separated from Him in the Lake of Fire. At death, all of life’s choices are fixed for eternity, and if we die without accepting God’s gracious gifts of forgiveness and eternal life (Eph. 1:7; John 10:28-30), then by our own choice we’ll spend eternity forever separated from Him (John 3:18; Rev. 20:11-15).
What is the Christian Response?
The Christian response is to speak and act with dignity. We are to be clear in speaking God’s truth to people who are made in His image (fallen as they are). We are to point them to Christ that they might turn to Him for salvation and be born again to a new spiritual life (1 Pet. 1:3, 23). We are to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), “with grace” (Col. 4:6), and “with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15). Scripture tells us:
The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
We know God is always present, working in the hearts of others (John 16:7-11), and will use us to speak truth and share Christ to those who will listen. We also realize most don’t want to hear God’s Word (John 3:19-20), and will not accept His message (Matt. 7:13-14), so we leave them to God’s judgment (Matt. 10:14-15; Rev. 20:11-15). Whatever the response of others, our role is to know God’s will and to walk with Him.
Dr. Steven R. Cook
One thought on “An Evangelical Response to Same-sex Marriage”
This article was very well written and shows the compassion and love of God throughout its contents for such a controversial subject as homosexuality; I agree with your stance and point of view regarding it all.