Thursday, September 13, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage: Christ's Victory and the Power of the Gospel over Sin

Today, I will finish a blog series on the issue of Same-Sex Marriage. It is an issue that is at the forefront of our culture. And I believe it will only become a larger issue. It is not going away. So, the Christian needs to understand and speak as someone who has thought through the issues. I have looked at several different aspects of this issue:
Charles Spurgeon once said, "If your sin is small then your Savior will be small also. But if your sin is great, then your Savior must be great." That is where I find myself with this issue. If our view of sin is small, then Jesus is relatively small in our life. But if our view of sin (regardless of whether it is lying, stealing, adultery, or homosexuality) is great, then Jesus must also be great.

The gospel changes people. In 1 Corinthians 6:11, after Paul lists several sins characterizing the unrighteous (including homosexuality), he offers a word of hope rooted in the power of the gospel. He reminds them that "such were some of you." You are never out of the reach of God's compassion and grace. Even the vilest of sinners can be changed and cleansed and made fit to inherit the kingdom of God. God is in the business of saving sinners.

The implication of "such were some of you" is that you are no longer that way. The sexually immoral person is no longer sexually immoral. The idolater is no longer living in idolatry. And the homosexual is no longer pursuing homosexual activities. The power of the gospel is enough to change a person's status with God as well as to change their heart toward the sin that has so dominated their life. Al Mohler offers a great question at this point in the dialogue:
"Is our purpose to make homosexuals into heterosexuals? The answer to that question must be both yes and no. We must urge all sinners to repent and abandon their sin, but convincing homosexuals to think of themselves as heterosexuals is not the same thing as salvation. We must show homosexuals their need for salvation and transformation. We can promise that this power of transformation will, by God's grace, lead to a reordering of their lives, and we must also explain that it will require a turning away from the sins of their past."
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg, Germany. The first theses he proposed was that "Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance." He hit the nail on the head. Literally. Maybe, just maybe, the thing to be learned from the Same-Sex Marriage debate is that the life of the Christian is one of repentance. The wife who does not submit to her husband is called to continually repent. The child that does not honor his father is called to repent. And the man or woman who engages in same-sex activities is called to repent.

The goal of the gospel in their life is not that they become heterosexual. The gospel may change some people so radically that they do become heterosexual. But just like the alcoholic who will live his entire life struggling with the smell of wine, the person who has repented of their homosexual lifestyle might always struggle with this issue. For them, celibacy might become the only acceptable outcome.

The Conclusion
We must graciously tell the truth about same-sex marriage and refuse to accept its possibility because we love and seek the glory of God for all people. We must speak the truth clearly. The Christian must know what they believe about this issue. The Christian must know what the Bible says and must be able to say more than "it is just gross."

But we must also speak this truth tearfully. I fear to many people respond  out of anger instead of a broken heart on this issue. I would encourage you to think about the people dealing with this as people who are walking away from Christ, not people who simply tick you off.

And we had better speak this truth boldly. We should not be scared to speak on this issue, or any moral issue, that is so clear in Scripture. We must be scared about what government might do to our churches. We must not capitulate to those who threaten us. We must be graciously bold. It will not get any better. If that is what you are waiting for, I fear you are waiting in vain.

My Notes
If you are interested, you can find a copy of my notes on this subject HERE. Feel free to use them in whatever way you need. And if you have further questions, I would welcome your response below.

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