Marriage Began Within the Heart of our Creator
Here’s the problem with gay marriage: there is no such thing. It doesn’t exist.
How could I say such a thing? I am by no means attempting to be inflammatory or sensational. My goal is to be simply truthful: marriage is not a man-made institution; thus man has no right to define, redefine, or transform what God has ordained and established in His sovereignty. Marriage is from God, belongs to God, and is a prophetic declaration that He wants to make to the human race about His relationship with us. Therefore, we need to tread carefully and fearfully around this subject. It is precious to Him.
Hear me now: I don’t want to talk about civil unions, and the rights that homosexuals can receive from our government related to cohabitation and life together. It’s an entirely different issue that merits healthy discussion, as it relates to the subject of what our government should, or should not, sanction and promote within American society. In that arena, a discussion on the issue of basic human “rights” and privileges granted by our society is proper to discuss and debate. These civil issues of American governance fall within our God-given “sphere” to work through together as a nation.
Marriage, however, falls outside of the boundaries of debate and human “rights”. No one has an intrinsic “right” to redraw boundaries that God Himself has drawn and defined. The subject of marriage, why it exists, and what it was originally intended to display is not something we get to speak into or shape; it is a part of a storyline that God Himself jealously guards. It is as immutable a truth as grace itself, or mercy, or love. We are not allowed to define any of those truths – we must encounter them by the power of the Holy Spirit and be instructed. In the same way, we must encounter the Bridegroom God to truly understand marriage and what it shouts to the nations of the earth.
How Can True Love Be Denied?
The secondary issue related to a gay man’s “right” to marry is the cry, “How can true love be denied?” Again, both the issue of “rights” and “true love” are beside the point. Outside of intimate relationship with Him, the Father has given men the freedom of choice and the freedom to walk in a way contrary to His will. However, calling that free expression of the heart “love” does not mean that God now approves, sanctions, or desires to fill the earth with homosexual relationships. His opinions do not evolve, and His boundaries for men and women are clear.
Therein, however, lies the heart of the matter. If this was truly only a fight for “civil rights” within a free society, then the issues at hand could be contained within a political, or legal, debate. If rights within a free society are being denied to men, then citizens must work together to see that all men and women are treated equitably, charitably, and honorably. However, it is not really about what is ethically, politically, or legally permissible. This debate is about – and has always been about – what is morally and spiritually permissible.
What lies at the core of the debate is not the right of men to live with other men and enjoy civil and political rights and privileges; it is about men being able to engage together in intimacy and have that union considered as holy and sacred as the union between a man and a woman in “holy matrimony.” In other words, the greatest desire in redefining marriage is the redefinition of morality itself, what is sin and what is not, and what is shameful – and what is not.
That is the greatest problem with the “gay marriage debate”. We conduct the discussion from within a man-centered arena as we look to present the most compassionate arguments for our “side”. Beloved, God is not on “our side” of the debate. The plumb line and final test – in the fear of the Lord – is whether we are on His side.
The Primary Issue: the Knowledge of God
“What do you think, Father?” This must be the primary question on our hearts and minds – we must work to align ourselves with His heart and not bolstering our wise-sounding opinions. We must not succumb to wisdom that is not from above – wisdom that is “earthly, sensual,” and, ultimately….”demonic” in nature. This kind of wisdom breeds confusion and “every evil thing”. This kind of wisdom destroys the very lives compassionate, well-meaning folks are trying to save, and help.
I know this – the church cannot be passive on this issue. We can be loving, we can express love, and we can treat men and women struggling with immorality (homosexual and heterosexual) with compassion, tenderness, and kindness. What we cannot do is redraw God’s boundaries in the name of compassion. That is not compassion. That is compromise. It is not loving. It is fearful.
This is not the hour to be fearful, but to be loving as God is loving and declare the wisdom of the boundaries He has drawn – in relationships, in marriage, and in love. To do this is the only true way to serve, love, and honor those who are hurting, broken, and trapped in the shame of immorality. To be faithful to declare the truth of God’s word, God’s heart, and God’s plan is to take part in His means to true freedom and joy for all who turn to Him.
How Do We Conduct This Conversation in a Secular Society?
For me, it’s a matter of “first things first.” In other words, my sphere doesn’t include other religions and their beliefs on the matter at hand. The only thing I can do is labor to serve the Bride of Christ as she stands as a faithful witness for God’s viewpoint on the matter. Our sphere isn’t really even a nation with a pluralistic viewpoint – it’s the church, from which there should be one viewpoint. If we can unify behind God’s heart on the matter with clarity, compassion, and authority, we end up serving as true “salt and light” that hinders moral decay and puts Jesus on display powerfully. I want to see God’s idea of marriage shine so brightly than any other version seems pale and powerless in empty vanity.
As such, this is not an article about how the church should address the government. This is also not about how we should talk with a non-Christian about these issues. These are my thoughts about how the church should address the church. I am writing this as a believer in Jesus Christ, to my fellow members of the family of God. My primary concern is that the believer’s zeal for marriage (God’s heart, will, and definition) exceeds their zeal to be compassionate. There is real intimidation surrounding this issue, which is only going to intensify in the days ahead. We need clarity, confidence, and compassion on this subject within the church – in unity with God and His word – first.
How I talk to a believer (and what we talk about) is different from how I address those who refuse the grace of God, or are ignorant of it. For example, I do not talk to a homosexual about morality – I talk to them about Jesus. To the church, I talk about morality. The New Testament scriptures are curiously missing any mention of how to discuss Rome, Roman government, and the social issues of the day. Paul was eager to meet Nero, Emperor of Rome. However, his zeal was about the privilege of sharing the gospel with him, not discussing Roman policy related to the poor of the empire.
Who Am I to Judge?
It is important to understand that I am not placing myself in the seat of judgment about anyone outside of the body of Christ who is struggling with areas of brokenness and sinful behavior. As I have written elsewhere on this site, judging matters of the heart is far beyond my ability to carry out. Evaluating the lifestyle and behavior of people outside of the body of Christ is also something that I have little interest in doing. Someone who does not know Jesus is going to act, unsurprisingly, like someone who does not know Jesus.
This may be a bit surprising, but I do not want anyone reading this to believe what I believe.
What I want is for everyone to know Jesus, and to believe the truth.
It is critical that all who love Jesus cling faithfully to what is true, and have the fear of the Lord about that point. Those who profess faith and love for Jesus Christ are within my sphere to “judge”, as it relates to doctrine, lifestyle, and fruit. In “judging” as a shepherd and leader in the body of Christ, I must do so with compassion, tenderness, and a heart that loves and enjoys mercy. We are all growing in the faith together, and all working towards loving Him well in agreement with His heart. I don’t want to “push my view on every American”. I want those who say that they love Jesus to actually love what He loves, the way that He loves it. We don’t get to vote on those matters, and God is not particularly interested in our opinions – He desires our loving obedience.
For those who do not know Jesus, their sexuality is not the priority – experiencing the loving-kindness of the One who made them is. Pressing someone who lives outside of the transforming grace of the love of Jesus to behave according the church’s standard positions the church to be judged by the world according to her behavior. We must never strive to draw the world to our morality. We must always seek to connect the world to our Jesus.