By now, you’ve heard of the landmark 5-4 ruling by the United States Supreme Court in favor of same-sex marriage.
As a Christian pastor, I’m deeply grieved at the Court’s decision to ignore biblical revelation and redefine God’s institution.
Indeed, marriage is God’s institution, and He has clearly defined it for us.
From Creation itself, God made marriage a sacred union between a man and a woman:
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.—Genesis 2:24
Jesus quoted from this passage, affirming that marriage between a man and a woman was God’s special institution “at the beginning”:
And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?—Matthew 19:4–5
To attempt to expand the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, is actually a redefinition of marriage that undermines the very core of what it is. And an honest assessment of what is taking place indicates that the redefinition will not stop with today’s decision.
So what does this decision mean for Christians? How should we respond to it?
Remain committed to Scripture. As already seen, the Bible not only affirms, but sets forth, that marriage is between one man and one woman. Additionally, Romans 1:21–28 defines homosexuality as a sinful lifestyle that rejects God’s design from creation. Although some entire denominations have caved on this point, we must remain true to God’s Word regardless of the culture surrounding us.
Being counter-cultural is not new to Christianity. New Testament Christians and churches remained true to Scripture in similar days as we are finding ourselves in now.
The gospel of Christ does not require the acceptance of the culture to thrive. It thrives when yielded Christians humbly proclaim it in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Love your neighbors. While the greatest commandment is to love God first and wholly (which includes remaining true to His Word), the second is to “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37–39).
Without compromising biblical beliefs, real Christianity is to love every person whom God has placed in our lives—including those ignoring scriptural teachings—and seek to share the liberating gospel of Christ with them.
Be ready to give an answer. In the days ahead, Christians will be both ridiculed and questioned concerning same-sex marriage. Not only must we know what we believe on these issues from the Bible, but we must be able to articulate these beliefs to others.
While some people have directly rejected these truths, some have been brought up in a culture that is so heavily influenced by a gay agenda that they have never heard a clear explanation of biblical truth in these areas.
First Peter 3:15 instructs us, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”
Be willing to suffer. I am not naïve enough to believe that this ruling by the Supreme Court will not result in government mandates for churches and Christian ministries that will put Christians in a position to decide between obeying the government or scriptural mandates—and that place a high price on choosing Scripture.
In one instance of what we would call “civil disobedience,” Peter and John affirmed, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). And so it is today. Like other Bible-believing pastors, I cannot support same-sex marriage, nor will I ever perform ceremonies for same-sex couples.
As a Christian American, I believe it is important to pray for our government officials (1 Timothy 2:1–2) and to respect their position and obey them (Romans 13:1–7).
In America, we have enjoyed a level of religious freedom that first-century Christians never even dreamed of. I pray that our government will protect our religious freedoms.
But in the end, we must be willing to suffer for Christ, even as Peter and John who “departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name” (Acts 5:41).
Continue to pray for spiritual awakening. Let the grief you feel in regards to this Court ruling motivate you to more fervently pray for a widespread spiritual revival in our country.
I know that humanly-speaking our chances for revival do not look promising. But I’m reminded that two of the greatest revivals in Judah’s history came after two of the most wicked times in their history. Both kings Hezekiah and Josiah saw God bring national revival on the heels of national apostasy. (See 2 Chronicles 29–31 and 34–35.)
Live in light of eternity. In the big picture, our immediate responsibilities and long-term perspective has not even been affected by the Supreme Court’s ruling. Our goal today—as every other day—is to glorify God. In other words, we simply continue doing what Bible-believing Christians have always done—love God, walk in the Spirit, obey His Word, proclaim the gospel, and watch for the return of Christ!