I watched history unfold with the rest of America today as our sharply divided Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 of our United States. To some, this came as the largest victory since interracial marriage was approved in a similar way 50 years ago. To others, this is a deeply discouraging ruling with unforeseen moral and spiritual implications. My initial reactions were quickly set aside as my thoughts drifted to the future questions, challenges and misunderstandings this decision will represent. Here are my thoughts for those who follow Jesus (I hesitate to say the ‘church’ or ‘christians’ as those terms have been weakened through politicking and by diluted doctrines):
1- The law of a nation simply reflects what has already taken place in the heart of a nation.
This ruling comes on the heels of 36 states and a majority opinion that accepts gay marriage. If you oppose this decision, it’s easy to blame the court, the system, or even the majority. At the end of the day, I believe it is an adequate description of the heart of our nation.
That said, a follower of Jesus is not dictated by the heart of their nation but by the heart of their God.
2- The separation of church (principles) and state (legislation) will become more evident.
The authority of Christ’s kingdom is never subdued by earthly kings or kingdoms. Jesus lived his life entirely under and within Roman and Pharisaical rules and kingdoms. He was not dictated by the morality or spirituality of his surroundings. While believers in Christ may live under earthly kingdoms and are commanded to pray for those in authority and to abide by the laws of the land, we are not dictated by the moral or spiritual nature of our surroundings. We are dictated by the kingdom living within us. As of now, the government is mandated to provide marriage licenses in all 50 states to heterosexual or homosexual couples but the church is not mandated to perform those ceremonies. Currently, our church will not marry couples who are engaging in unrepentant premarital sex, are living together, of the same gender, or who have been divorced for an unbiblical reason because these approaches violate the blessing and sanctity of what God created marriage to be.
Opposition to this ruling will come and it will come in the name of Christ. The battle will intensify between the “church” and the “state” but I would petition the church to evaluate how it will fight. Neither Jesus nor Paul battled the morality or spirituality of the nation; they each battled for the morality and spiritual transformation of the individual. Individual transformation brings national reformation. The body of Christ has wasted millions of dollars and valuable credibility by seeking reformation through legislation and I cannot find a Scripture or an example in Scripture to justify it. The message is repentance from sin, not behavioral reformation.
But there will still be a separation. While the method to approaching these issues will (and maybe should) change, the mission and principles of God’s Word will stand. My ministry, our church, and the Body of Christ will continue to faithfully believe in the power of God for transformation and as the remedy for brokenness over society’s prescription for healing, also known as tolerance. The soul does not need tolerance, it requires loving transformation.
3- Gay marriage is not the issue…and neither is homosexuality.
In the Bible, the book of James tells us exactly what the issue is. “But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, give birth to death” (v. 1:14-15). We look at people like we look at fruit trees. Let’s say you plant an orange tree in your yard. When the tree comes to maturity, you go to pick fruit from it and find that it is growing apples. Do you condemn the tree and get angry at it or do you have a realization that the wrong seed was planted at its very core? The issue is not the fruit growing in peoples’ lives. The issue is the seed that has taken root at the core of a human being.
“Josh, are you saying that someone who is gay is inherently bad?” What I’m saying is that we are all inherently broken.
Whether the fruit of your issue is lying, gossip, murder, coveting, alcoholism, gluttony…or homosexuality, we are all inherently broken.
Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death…but the gift of God is eternal life.”
So am I for or against gay marriage?
God has allowed a way, through Jesus, for the broken to be made whole…and I’m against allowing people to stay broken.