Same sex marriage is a hotly debated and explosively controversial subject encompassing our present society. There are many different views about it, from the political arena, the churches to individual opinions. And there are widely differing views within these and many other groups.
Homosexuality has been accepted and embraced by many for years and with this view in mind, the not unreasonable claim has gone out to recognise these unions as legal by marriage between two consenting parties.
Emotive appeals present cases of love and acceptance, of rights and discrimination, of the denial of a loving union if legalised same sex marriage is banned.
And in many countries, this point of view is supported as gay people are citizens who have rights and freedom of choice, they are peaceful residents who wish to live their lives at their discretion.
Under government law, they are within their rights and their views are asked to be respected.
BUT, what does God, through His word the Bible actually say about homosexuality and marriage?
It is important to note here, that God created humans with freedom of choice, with their own free will. This is made clear in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. He has clearly instructed us as to His expectations and rules, but has left it to us to decide how to live our lives. This doesn’t mean we will escape punishment for our actions if contrary to His will.
God’s words are unequivocally set out in the Bible for us all to read and understand.
If one has no belief or acceptance of the Bible, then the following words will hold no relevance to their current viewpoints or arguments and the individual has the right under their own freedom of choice to walk away from the instructions of God.
It is however, the indisputable principles of God and no legislation or alternative viewpoints can change the clear teachings of the Bible, God’s message to us.
The Bible condemns homosexual practices in the Old Testament and the New Testament, and refers to them as something that is evil in the sight of God:
Leviticus 18:22 “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable”
Leviticus 20:13 “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination”
The issue of homosexuality also confronted the early New Testament Church. Paul the apostle while writing to the church in Corinth listed sinful actions that were offensive to God:
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 “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 who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God”.
All these activities, not only homosexual activity are violations of God’s instructions. These things are all sins, including pre-marital sex and adultery, and those who commit these sins must repent of them if they wish to participate in the future Kingdom of God.
Jesus coming on the earth brought with him teachings of love and forgiveness, of infinite compassion and hope of salvation.
And there is no doubt that he practiced all this. He liaised with socially unacceptable people – he showed compassion and loved them and offered them a way out of their corrupt lives to a new and better way of living.
However, even though Jesus’ very character is defined as love, as also is his Father, God in Heaven, he still very clearly defined actions which are sins and doesn’t condone them. And in the New Testament, the apostles, who were taught by Jesus himself, have set out God’s and Jesus’ rules regarding sexual conduct.
Paul, writing to the ecclesia in Rome stated:
Romans 1 : 18-27 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened ……..Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another……. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Jesus left no doubt about His mind on the subject of marriage when he quotes from the Old Testament with His statements in Matthew 19:4-6: “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
He very clearly states here that marriage is between a man and a woman.
The Bible clearly prohibits homosexual behaviour. Every human being has to make moral decisions throughout our lives. When we commit to following God’s instructions, we have to abide by His rules and His teachings. His word never changes and we can’t change these rules simply because we are naturally inclined to premarital sex, adultery, homosexuality or any other sin.
Human beings are naturally inclined to sin. That is, we all have temptations and a desire to counter God’s terms. And the Bible states that when we sin it is from our own volition.
James 1 : 13-15 “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
The Bible clearly instructs us to repent (be remorseful for) and to overcome our sins. A person is required to recognise their sin and to change their actions. This begins in the mind.
‘….bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ’ 2 Corinthians 10:5
However, this can be very hard to do, especially if one has a natural inclination for a particular behaviour as with all ungodly activities. It is however, imperative to control this if one desires to commit their life to God’s ways and follow Christ.
And there is confirmation that with God’s help this change can be made. In 1 Corinthians 6, after Paul has listed the many forms of behaviour that is unacceptable to God, he states:
“And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God”
Members of the church in Corinth were guilty of some or all of the sins listed—including homosexuality—but later converted and turned from their sins as is stated above. Obviously if this activity was accepted, there would be no imperative to ‘turn’ from their sin, but the above quote distinctly asserts that those who did change were washed clean and purified and made acceptable before God.
God is a God of love who has given all His children the freedom to choose and live their lives at their own will. He gave us our lives and this beautiful planet to enjoy, and when we as a human race brought our own mortality on ourselves, offered a way to salvation. But humans foolishly have a tendency to warp God’s love to justify their actions, and demand that He bend to their perceived rights and viewpoints. This in itself shows a very ignorant understanding of God’s diversity of character which ranges from surpassing love to burning righteous wrath.
The Bible is unmoving on His rules about homosexuality and sexual relations between men and women. He doesn’t change for our whims or our evolution of thoughts. To claim that ‘God loves everyone and therefore accepts us all no matter what our actions’, is false. Love and acceptance is not the same thing.
God’s love for us is unbounding and selfless if we love Him enough to follow His principles, but He will not accept sinful behaviour as He has outlined in His word.
We have strayed from Him, not He from us.
Popular opinion is that people determine their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and that no-one has an entitlement to question or challenge this. As Christians, we always hope to live our lives with love and compassion and we observe the freedom for human beings to choose their own paths in life. However, we live in a flawed world with flawed reasoning with laws that have strayed far from God’s laws, resulting in a population that is far from righteous in God’s eyes.
This article is not to impose our will on others freedom of choice, but to clearly point out the true stipulations of word of God on this matter. There are consequences of disobeying His principles and rules which we all have to ultimately wear if we disobey His word. The choice is up to us.