Much has been written about the Supreme Court ruling this past Friday, legalizing gay marriage in the United States. I’d like to say that I was surprised by this decision, but that’s far from the case. In all reality, I expected it.
Even though I’m saddened by this decision, and even though I’m saddened the reality that our nation is turning further away from the Lord, what saddens me most is the reaction of much of the church to this decision. I’m saddened most by the reaction of many who claim the name of Christ to this decision. Disregarding the clear teaching of Scripture on this issue, many in the church celebrated this decision.
I saw many in the church, some of them friends, who rejoiced in the legalization of gay marriage. They rejoiced in it, adding the phrase: Love Wins! They rejoiced in the fact that two people of the same gender, who love each other, are now able to get married like a man and a woman. They insisted that, by embracing gay marriage, our nation is no longer rejecting homosexuals by discriminating against them. But is this true? Has love truly won?
Love has not won, in this ruling. Sin has won. Again, the clear teaching of Scripture is that homosexuality is a sin (Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Leviticus 18:22, etc.). And, although God certainly loves homosexuals and desires their salvation, he does not accept their rebellion.
According to Romans 1:32, the acceptance of these behaviors is also sinful. It’s a sign of man’s rejection of God. After all, how can the heart that loves God accept those things that he’s deemed sinful?
The truth is that, by accepting homosexuality, by celebrating it, we are not loving them. Instead, we are leaving them to their sin. We’re leaving them to their condemnation. We are providing them with a false sense of comfort. We’re attempting to remove the conviction necessary that they might see their need for a Savior and be drawn to Jesus in faith.
In Romans 3, starting in verse 19, Paul writes: “Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”
Scripture teaches that all of us are sinful, both gay and straight. And the purpose of God’s Law is to hold us accountable. It doesn’t provide us with the way of salvation, because we’re unable to earn God’s blessings. However, with the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
When we’re confronted with the Law of God, we clearly see our sin. We see that we’re guilty in the eyes of God. And we’re confronted with the penalty we deserve. We come to the understanding that we’re lost and that we have no way to save ourselves. We find that we’re in need of a Savior.
This Savior, of course, is Jesus. It’s he who took the penalty of our sin, dying on the cross. It’s he who rose from the grave, defeating the power of death. And it’s by faith in him that we’re saved.
If we, then, try to remove conviction, we’re not benefitting the sinner. In fact, we’re bringing him to harm. We’re bringing him to a place where he isn’t confronted with his sin. We’re bringing him to a place where his sin is accepted and where he has no need of a Savior. And, without this, he will not look to Jesus in faith and receive forgiveness.
Much of the church, today, shies away from this truth. Even if they don’t go as far as accepting sin, they don’t want to say or do anything that might make people feel guilty. They reason that, if people are made to feel guilty, they won’t come to church and hear the gospel.
We often fail to realize that, by doing this, by trying to remove conviction from the equation, we’re denying people the message of the gospel. Even if they come to church every Sunday, they are not hearing it. They’re not hearing it because they don’t understand from what they’re being saved. They’re not hearing it because, apart from conviction, they have no need of salvation.
It may sound obvious but, if we’re being saved, there’s something from which we’re being saved. And Scripture is clear that Jesus came to save us from sin. He came to save us from the consequences of our sin. Unless we understand this, unless we understand the consequences we deserve, the gospel is meaningless.
This isn’t, of course, an excuse to beat up on gays. It isn’t an excuse for our portrayal of them as worse sinners than the rest of us. We are all sinful, and this is a penalty that we all deserve. Even if we don’t struggle with this particular sin, we need salvation as much as them, or anyone else for that matter. But, if we truly love homosexuals, we won’t accept their sin. We won’t try to make them comfortable in their sin. We’ll, instead, bring to them the truth of the gospel.