The decision of the Supreme Court to redefine marriage was not a surprise to most of us. Some are celebrating the decision as a major step forward for civil rights – a step of progress toward a more inclusive future for humanity. Others are deeply troubled by the decision – seeing it as our culture’s deepening rejection of God’s good and beautiful design for marriage as one man, one woman, one flesh, one covenant, one lifetime.
If you’ve been at this church for a while you know what I believe and teach about this issue. I’ve always taught that there are many things in our society that are legal but aren’t right (My friend Bruce is a pastor in Carson City where prostitution is legal, but that doesn’t mean it’s right). Followers of Jesus don’t look at man-made laws to learn right from wrong – instead we look to Jesus – we look to God’s word to know right from wrong. And what God has for us in his word is infinitely better for the entire human race than any man-made ideas or systems or approaches to life. God’s way is always the best way for individuals, for families, for communities, and for nations. That’s been true from the very beginning and it is still true today. God’s design for marriage and human sexuality is so much better and beautiful than any vision for these areas of life that are put forward by our surrounding culture.
The very first Christians had beliefs and values and moral convictions that were at odds with the beliefs and values and moral convictions of the Roman Empire – and they were persecuted for being different – for being out-of-step with the customs of their culture. But they loved all people – they served the poor, the sick – particularly those afflicted with diseases – and took care of them even when their own families rejected them. They rescued babies who had been left to die of exposure and gave them homes. They proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed – that we are all sinners and we all need Jesus – and we can all be forgiven and walk with God in ways that honor God and in ways that bless the human family. Followers of Jesus for 2000 years have continued that legacy of love for all people – even those with whom we disagree, because that’s what Jesus taught us to do.
We need to keep doing that.
I don’t mean to minimize the decision of the Supreme Court. Marriage is a big issue. It’s a very big issue. I think the redefinition of marriage will lead to greater sexual and moral confusion and more rapid decline of the family in our culture. I think it creates more problems than it solves. I hope I’m wrong on this – I really do. But that’s how I see it.
But I’m not going to let myself get anxious or depressed about this. Even though marriage is a big issue – it’s not an ultimate issue. Jesus Christ is the ultimate issue. Our commitment to Christ – our commitment to God’s Word – our commitment to loving all people – particularly those who are our enemies in these culture wars – that doesn’t change.
So I want to encourage you – put Jesus first in all of this. Trust God – God is not surprised by this turn of events. In his sovereign plan he has put you and me here to serve him by loving others and loving what is good, true, noble, pure, and right (Philippians 4:8).
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” — Philippians 4:8 (NIV)