Monday, July 15, 2013

responding to scotus ruling

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court passed a pair of landmark decisions, declaring unconstitutional a law that blocked federal recognition of same-sex marriage and opening the way for same-sex marriage to resume in California. For many Christians who oppose same-sex marriage, the question is, how do I respond?

With the Supreme Court decision invalidating the federal Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex marriages will now be recognized nationally in the United States. For many Christians who believe that God defines marriage differently, it can be easy to react with shock, despair, and fear at yet another seeming legal defeat for biblical morality. But that reaction would be a mistake; we are called to a different response.

Yes, the legalization of homosexual unions will have major consequences for our society. The ruling has been called the “Roe v. Wade” of marriage, and with good reason. The government’s attempt at redefining marriage reflects the increasing blindness our culture already has toward biblical truth. True marriage, between one man and one woman, is described in Ephesians 5 as a “profound mystery” (Eph. 5:32) brought into existence by God to display the loving relationship between Christ (the Groom) and his church (the Bride). The changes in our society’s view of marriage continue to veil God’s intention for marriage, and ultimately, by masking God’s truth, we rob him of his glory.


The redefinition of marriage is something the church should be concerned about, but not to the point of fear or despair. Personally, when I heard about the ruling, I was immediately stressed considering how it would impact the future of our culture, the media, my future children, religious freedom, school curriculums, and the fate of millions of souls. I felt a sense of responsibility and anxiety at not knowing what to do. But as I thought further, I realized there are three ways we can respond:
  1. Find a soapbox, make a sign saying “America is going to hell,” and walk the city streets warning of impending doom for America’s sins.
  2. Be paralyzed in fear because the changes in our society are too big for us, leave the situation to God, and do nothing.
  3. Remember that God is sovereign, he has called us to love others and preach the gospel to all nations, and we are supposed to trust him to bring people to repentance and faith in Jesus.

I pick option three.

The redefinition of marriage is something the church should be concerned about, but not to the point of fear or despair.


Our sovereign Savior, Jesus Christ, has commanded us to preach the gospel to all nations (Matt. 28:19-20). Jesus, being God in the flesh, knew that nations would increase in wickedness (Matt. 24:12) and that societies and governments would lead many away from the true God, but with all that in mind, he promised to be with his church throughout it all (Matt. 28:20). Even more, Jesus promised that as his people preach the good news to the world, hewill build his church (Matt. 16:18). When Jesus is lifted up, he will draw people to himself (John 12:32). We are called to make disciples and trust God to change hearts and grow his church through the spread of the gospel.

Additionally, God calls us to love others, and being faithful to the Great Commission is ultimately loving toward our neighbor no matter what sins they are caught up in.

The first two options are extremes, born out a lack of faith in God’s sovereignty and his Word. Yes, we should preach to the lost, but condemning the world to hell without sharing the hope that is in the gospel will not change our society, and it is not loving. Judgment and wrath should be followed by the good news of hope and redemption that is in Jesus Christ. It is the gospel, through God’s Spirit, that changes people’s hearts­—after all, the gospel is Good News. If we love people, we will not stop at condemning sin but will follow through to redemption in Christ.

We are called to make disciples and trust God to change hearts and grow his church through the spread of the gospel.

The second option uses God’s sovereignty as an excuse for doing nothing. This attitude may seem nicer, but it is not ultimately loving toward people to ignore and condone sin. If we love people, we will be honest with them. Doing nothing also ignores our role in the Great Commission. The changes in our society are certainly bigger than any individual, but God is bigger. Putting our faith in God’s character means not only recognizing that he is sovereign and in full control, but also affirming that he desires to use us as his church to call people to himself (Matt. 5:13-16) through the preaching of the gospel in whatever context he has placed us. If Christians just sat and prayed but never acted on the Great Commission, no one would be saved because the gospel would never be heard (Rom. 10:14). Faith comes from hearing the word about what Jesus has done.

So yes, same-sex marriage is once again legal in California, along with 12 other states. This will change some things, but it doesn’t change Christians’ calling to love our neighbors and preach the gospel of Jesus. God knew this would happen before he began creating the Milky Way. So don’t stress. All you and every Christian need to do is be faithful to God and his Word and keep pointing people to Jesus.

Simply put: Love God, and love people.

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