Support for same-sex marriage contrary to God’s will
When it comes to same-sex marriage and homosexuality, some Christians tend toward two extremes, both of which are wrong and unchristian.
The first extreme error is to act or speak hatefully toward homosexuals, singling out and condemning homosexual activity as the ultimate sin. This is certainly not a Christ-like approach. Christians who fall under this error may cite Romans 1:26-27 as a passage which condemns homosexual practice, but forget that a few verses later, Paul reproaches those who are filled with “maliciousness” (1:29) and judge others hypocritically and self-righteously (2:1-3). As the church, I believe we should be striving to be more gracious and empathetic toward homosexuals; too many Christians have spiteful attitudes toward homosexuality, which is at odds with the grace, mercy and love that should characterize us. God loves all sinners, including homosexuals, so much so that he sent his only begotten son to die for our sins! Because of the Father’s rich mercy and love, “even when we were dead in our transgressions, [he] made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Eph. 2:5, NASB), and “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). What a glorious truth! And God does offer amazing grace and unfathomable love to anyone who will trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and repent of their sin.
But somewhere along the way, many Christians have adopted a skewed view of love and grace. Yes, we are all sinners saved by God’s grace through faith, but that does not legitimize or excuse our sin in any way (Rom. 6:1-2; Jude 1:4). Loving others does not necessarily mean agreeing with everything they believe and affirming everything they do. Rick Warren put it this way: “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe and do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
The second extreme error is to approve of same-sex marriage or homosexual behavior as acceptable, despite the indisputable and overwhelming testimony of Scripture which attests to the sinfulness of homosexual practice (Gen. 19:1-11; Judg. 19:22-23; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10; 2 Pet 2:6-7; Jude 1:7). Only those who “distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Pet. 3:16) the Word of God could be deluded to the contrary.
While affirmation might appear loving, conciliatory, and tolerant, it is actually unbiblical and hateful. Although it may seem like this is a loving approach toward practicing homosexuals, it is actually just as hateful as the first extreme. It is hateful because we are called to “[speak] the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), and on the contrary, those who condone homosexual practice are preaching a message of deceit and damnation, incompatible with the word of God.
Supporting same-sex marriage, even on only a secular level, is wrong because it is advocating what is contrary to God’s will. Joe Carter, an editor for The Gospel Coalition, said it like this: “In endorsing laws based solely on the secular liberal-libertarian conception of freedom (at least those that produce no obvious self-harm), they are doing the very opposite of what Jesus called them to do: They are hating their neighbors, including their gay and lesbian neighbors. You do not love your neighbor by encouraging them to engage in actions that invoke God’s wrath (Psa. 5:4-5; Rom. 1:18). As Christians we may be required to tolerate ungodly behavior, but the moment we begin to endorse the same then we too have become suppressors of the truth. You cannot love your neighbor and want to see them excluded from the kingdom of Christ (Eph. 5:5).”
For example, if you have a close friend who is addicted to drugs, would it not be a loving and compassionate response for you to urge your friend to quit what he is doing? Would it not be rightly seen by others as a hateful and loathsome reaction if you were to let your friend be, indifferent to his plight, and say “you can live however you wish”? Similarly, how unloving would it be for us Christians to condone homosexual practice by supporting same-sex marriage! How contrary to the way Jesus would respond! How unloving is it to not want what is best for the eternal welfare of our neighbors! As Christians, just as it would be unloving to be apathetic or supportive of a drug-addicted friend living in sin, so it is unloving and unchristian if we are indifferent or supportive of same-sex marriage. Homosexual practice, in any form, is destructive, degrading and unnatural (Rom. 1:26), and contrary to God’s will. And God’s word states that no unrepentant homosexual (or any other impenitent sinner) will enter the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9). But through Christ we can be justified, washed and sanctified by the Holy Spirit from our sins (6:11), and redeemed “from every lawless deed” (Titus 2:14b).
Rather than affirm immoral people in their sinful lifestyles, I believe we should respond to practicing homosexuals like Jesus did to the adulterous woman, with compassion, a hand of grace, and an exhortation to “go, and sin no more” (John 8:11). Being compassionate and loving does not mean affirming and supporting people in their sin; rather, compassion and love is to want what is best for our neighbors, and God’s will is what’s best for us. And his will is that we abstain from all sexual immorality (1 Thess. 4:3).
If we support same-sex marriage as Christians, then we are supporting something which is evil and expressly forbidden by God. Our Lord has already defined marriage (Gen. 2:24, Matt. 19:4-5; Eph. 5:22-33). The prophet Isaiah has a strong message for people who make righteousness look strange and sin look normal and acceptable: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isa. 5:20). Paul warns us about people who, despite knowing God’s clear commands in the Bible, support and approve of those who practice lawlessness: “Although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Rom. 1:32).
As Christians, let’s not support same-sex marriage (or any other sinful lifestyle) because true love “does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6). Rather, may we call out sin for what it is, and not pretend that those who practice wickedness are blameless. As the prophet Malachi declared to a stiff-necked Israel: “You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, ‘How have we wearied him?’ In that you say, ‘Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them’ (Mal. 2:17a).
The world will continue to tell Christians that it’s hateful and discriminatory to not support same-sex marriage because “they [homosexuals] were born that way.” In part, that is true: we were all born that way, with sinful natures! We were all born with original sin (Rom. 5:12), a propensity toward evil (Gen. 6:5), and hearts that are deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). And yet, we are all responsible for our actions, and will one day give an account to God for what we have done (Rom. 14:12). We all have sinful inclinations — whether it is toward envy, anger, hatred, impatience, or heterosexual or homosexual lust. But having a tendency toward certain sinful desires is in no way an excuse to engage in those sins. Rather, we know that “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24). And no matter what our sinful struggle, we have a sinless savior who was tempted in all things and can sympathize with our weaknesses (Heb. 4:15), and he is able to help us when we are tempted (2:18)! Our sweet Lord Jesus Christ is worth forsaking everything for — human relationships, worldly comfort and wealth, and every sinful desire and practice.
So, I believe that as Christians, we should respond like Jesus would — biblically and lovingly — to unbelievers who are practicing homosexuality, and to those in the church struggling with same-sex attraction. We know that those who do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, will bear the eternal fierceness of God’s wrath and indignation (Rom. 2:8). May we not promote, endorse or give hearty approval to sin, but rather, speak the truth in love and gentleness. May we not compromise like the church in Pergamum, which tolerated sexual immorality; Christ warned them to repent or else he would fight against them with the sword of his mouth (Rev. 2:16). May we hold fast to sound doctrine and not negotiate with the society or culture; we might suffer persecution, scorn, and contempt from the culture — but Christ himself forewarned us: “And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 10:22, NKJV).