Martin Luther’s famous words as he stood before Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire – “Here I stand. I can do no other” – echo loudly for every Christian now that the US Supreme Court has ruled that homosexual marriage is a civil right. The Emperor expected…demanded…that Luther recant his belief that only the Word of God is the final authority for our lives. And now activists and our own government demand that we recant our belief that God’s Word supersedes the Supreme Court’s authority.
But just as Luther saw himself as a teacher of Scripture who must advocate the right of all Christians to live by the gospel, so we must advocate for that same right – a right that the US Constitution promises us. But we must do more than advocate for our freedom of religion and speech, we must stand firmly on the Word of God. We must ‘remain faithful to what we have been taught from the beginning’ just as the Apostle John says in 1 John 2:24-27 (NLT).
“So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning.
If you do, you will continue to live in fellowship with the Son and with the Father.” Verses 26 and 27 continue, “I have written these things to you because you need to be aware of those who want to lead you astray. But you have received the Holy Spirit….the Spirit teaches you all things, and what he teaches is true – it is not a lie. So continue in what he has taught you, and continue to live in Christ.”
But here’s the question – how do we do this? Do we march through the streets waving signs? Maybe. But here are the basic truths we encourage all of us as Christians to set our minds to hold on to.
1. We hold to the truth that the Bible is our authority and our guide.
It leads us in matters of right and wrong and determines our lifestyle.
The Bible plainly states in Romans 1:21 – 32 (ESV): “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error….Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”
Another passage where the Bible is absolutely clear on this matter is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (ESV): “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men [people] who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
This is what God’s Word says. It is our final authority despite what any court says.
2. We hold to the truth that all sexual sin, both heterosexual and homosexual, is destructive and just plain wrong in the sight of God.
That was clear in 1 Corinthians 6, wasn’t it? Immorality is immorality, whether practiced by heterosexuals or homosexuals. Sex outside of marriage – God’s definition of marriage (Genesis 2:24) – is sin, plain and simple. We don’t excuse heterosexuals of immorality, and we don’t excuse homosexuals of immorality.
3. We hold to the truth that we must stand for God’s definition of marriage – and stand against the new definition instituted by five mere humans in black robes.
The law that says homosexual marriage is a civil right and is equivalent to heterosexual marriage is a dangerous law. It is dangerous because laws shape our thinking and mold our perceptions of right and wrong. For instance – when the law of the land permitted slavery, most people simply accepted slavery as OK. But when the law changed and made slavery illegal, most people eventually began to see it as wrong. Their perception of slavery changed.
So we must be diligent to continue to teach our children, grandchildren, our friends, the people at church, the people we meet who haven’t made up their minds, and even the people who have made up their minds…that God’s Word is very plain about the sin of homosexuality. If we don’t, it will simply become accepted as “right.” And with the approval of homosexuality, will come the complete lack of recognition of the need to repent from it. After all, if it is not a sin, then why should anyone need to repent of it?
4. We hold to the truth even if the Supreme Court ruling means persecution.
Canada is a few years ahead of the US in declaring homosexual marriage legal. It didn’t take too long for any negative talk about homosexuality to become a felony. It is considered hate-speech to proclaim what the Bible says about homosexuality and is punishable by fines and even prison. Do you understand that within a few years it is possible for you to be arrested for reading Romans 1 or 1 Corinthians 6 in public?
At the very least, Churches, religious institutions and Christian non-profits like GTO Marriage Ministries can lose all protection of religious liberty. That not only means that we could lose our non-profit status, it could also mean we would not be allowed to refuse to marry a homosexual couple. It could mean that a Christian adoption agency would be forced to allow a homosexual couple to adopt any child. It could even mean, your church might have to hire a pastor or staff person who is homosexual whether you want to or not.
Samuel Alito, one of the dissenting justices, said it best. He wrote that this ruling would become a club to “vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.” Make no mistake. You will be vilified if you dare express an opinion that reflects God’s opinion of homosexuality.
Finally, if marriage does not mean the union of one man and one woman, then it can mean anything. And if marriage is a “civil right,” then anyone must have the right to marry, claiming “equal protection under the law.” So that means two men and one woman, or three women and 1 man, or a father and daughter and/or son, or a pedophile and any number of young boys…you name it. Pandora’s Box has been opened. We will reap the whirlwind.
5. We hold to the truth that we must respond biblically.
God commands us in 1 Timothy 2:2 to pray for our government leaders – for “all who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness.” So the first way we must respond biblically is by praying for our president and Congress, as well as for all who hold authority over us. Pray that they would humble themselves and seek God and the truth of His word. Pray that God will give them wisdom and courage to make right decisions for our country.
Pray for our nation…for revival. Pray that we as a people would ‘seek His face and turn from our wicked way’ (2 Chronicles 7:14). As a nation, we deserve nothing but God’s judgment. Revival is our only hope.
In order to respond biblically, we must also continue to love and give grace to all people…to those who agree with us and to those who vehemently disagree with us…to heterosexual people and to homosexual people. It’s an old adage, but it’s still true – we really can love the sinner while hating his sin. After all, that’s how God loves and extends His grace to us. He hates our sin, but He sure does love us!
Even when we engage in discussions with those who want to have a fiery interchange, we must not give in to the temptation of creating more heat than light. Remember what God commands every Christian in 2 Timothy 2:24-26 (ESV): “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
That wouldn’t give the other guy much of a fight, would it? If we refuse to quarrel, but instead are kind and gentle and patient even to the point of enduring the other person’s accusations and vitriol…that certainly wouldn’t give them the ballistic battle they were looking for! And maybe…just maybe…they might come to their senses, understand the truth and repent. But those who oppose us will never do this unless they realize they are loved and given grace…only then can they lay down their defenses.
These then are the five truths we must hold on to…because we ‘can do no other.’ Martin Luther stood on the authority of the Word of God…and it is now our turn to do the same. We have decided that as a ministry, we will hold on to these truths…we will ‘remain faithful to what we have been taught from the beginning and so continue to live in fellowship with the Son and with the Father.’(1 John 2:24) Will you choose to stand with us?