Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of New Georgia Baptist Church.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Gay marriage" and the Gospel


When driving to and from work and when washing dishes at home (our apartment allows no dishwasher), I often listen to news radio or theological commentary on podcasts. At the end of last week an beginning of this week much of the talk I've heard has been devoted to the issue of "gay marriage," due to last week's ruling on this subject by the California Supreme Court. Frankly, I was not very interested in this subject at first. Though the Bible certainly addresses the issue of homosexuality, I am not currently ministering to anyone involved in a homosexual lifestyle, and so I tended to view this as merely a political issue. In thinking about this further, however, I realized that the issue of "gay marriage" may very well provide an opportunity for speaking the Good News of Jesus Christ to my friends, family and fellow UPSers who do not know him, whether or not they identify as "homosexual."

Though Jesus did not directly address the issue of homosexuality during His earthly ministry (i.e., we cannot point to a particular Bible passage and say, "Here's Jesus' parable on the homosexual lifestyle), Jesus certainly did address marriage, particularly in concern with violations of the marriage covenant. An example of this is recorded in Matthew 19:3-6,

3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" 4 "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' 5 and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." [NIV]

In this passage, Jesus points to the opening chapters of the Bible, in which the foundation is laid for our understanding of who God is and who we are. From the very first verse of the Bible, God is presented as the Sovereign Creator of all things. We, therefore, are His creatures and are to be subject to God's will. God's will for marriage is clear in the text of Genesis and as expounded by Jesus: "In the beginning [God] made them male and female... a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."

There is a tendency among many non-Christians (and even some who claim to be Christian) to view issues such as "gay marriage" as falling under the category of individual choice. "If that's what they want to do, why should it concern me?" seems to be the attitude. The above consideration demonstrates that "gay marriage" is a demonstration of rebellion against God's sovereign will.

Many people reading this post will say to themselves, "Well, this doesn't apply to me, I'm not gay." But the truth is, we have all rebelled against our Sovereign Creator in different ways. Again, take marriage as an example; Jesus taught,

27 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. [Matthew 5:27-28 NIV]

Any time that we have looked with sinful desire at a person who is not our spouse, we have committed spiritual adultery and have dishonored God in our hearts.

Marriage is designed by God to be a picture of Christ's relationship to His Church:

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church-- 30 for we are members of his body. 31 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 32 This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. [Ephesians 5:21-33 NIV]

Notice particularly the teaching, "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." Christ "gave himself up" for sinners- whereas we rebelled against God's will and deserved God's wrath, Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Man who lived a perfect life before God, died on the Cross taking all of God's wrath on behalf of those who will follow Him. Jesus was buried, rose from the grave on the third day, and now sits at the right hand of God, offering eternal life to sinners. If you trust in Jesus' work on the Cross and turn away from your rebellion- in whatever form it may take- turning to Jesus for forgiveness, He will certainly forgive you and grant you eternal life: A life of joy in God forever.

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