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Supreme Court Decision on Gay Marriage: How Should the Church Respond?
Today the Supreme Court of the United States of America decided in a 5-4 decision to legally recognize gay marriage in all 50 states. This decision is massive and has incredible implications for religions liberty, as well as how Christians who hold to a traditional/biblical perspective on marriage will be perceived. The great temptations will be to cave under the weight of pressure to conform to the new social norm, or to hide in the shadows; unwilling to let a dissenting view come to light. Still, the call remains to be salt and light to a world that thrives in the darkness. In light of this call, how should the church respond? Here are three helpful places to begin:
1. Stand Firm on the Word of God
The ultimate authority of a Christian has never been any earthly governing authority. The Supreme Court has never been the measure by which we determine holiness, nor the means by which we understand the will of God, nor the final authority on our salvation. Dr. Russell Moore, of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, summed it up well when he wrote, “The Supreme Court can do many things, but the Supreme Court cannot get Jesus back in that tomb.” Therefore, we can rest assured that our foundation has not been broken. In truth, our foundation has not even been slightly rattled. The Word of God stands firm and it will endure the fading ways of this world (Matthew 24:35).
Psalm 1 is a very needed reminder that the Christian is marked, not by his association with the world, but rather by his deep dependence on the Word of God. We are reminded in Psalm 1:3 that for the one who builds his life on the Word of God, “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
While the world screams at us to cave under its immense pressure, and while it is easier to cower in the corners of the world, our call is stand firm on the Word of God; to a be a light in the darkness. We cannot waiver. Society must never dictate the lives of Christians. The Word of God is enough. It will be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.
2. Model Biblical Marriage the promotes Gospel Truth
What the Supreme Court fails to see, and what the world is blind to, is the truth that gay marriage is ultimately a direct attack on the gospel of Jesus Christ. We read in Ephesians 5:22-33 that marriage is a gift given by God to reflect the gospel. Husbands represent Jesus Christ’s sacrificial love. Wives paint an incredible picture of the church’s submission to Jesus. Marriage is a gospel picture. Gay marriage is another assault on the gospel. Christians respond to this assault like we would any other assault; we model gospel truth.
The challenge for believers will be to live, model, and promote a view of marriage that paints the gospel picture God intended. This begins by understanding our own marriages to be a picture of the gospel, and promoting the sacrificial love of our Savior recognized by the unwavering submission of His Church.
We know what the world needs is the gospel. Even if the Supreme Court would have ruled differently, the world would still need the gospel. Our call to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1:27) begins in our homes and in our marriages. Walking in a worthy manner is much more than merely talking in a worthy manner. While our faith demands that we speak the truth in the midst of opposition, we must also visibly model gospel truth in all you do. We cannot say we value a biblical picture of marriage and then neglect our own marriages. Let your marriage be a gospel light while you speak the truth in love.
3. Prepare for Persecution
The Christian understanding of marriage is steadily declining in the face of a postmodern society. This reality will inevitably lead to hardship and persecution as Christians, more and more, stand in visible contrast to the world. We must be prepared when persecution comes, and it will come. Justice Alito rightly concluded, “This decision will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.” Justice Alito was not the first to call us to be aware of the persecution that is coming.
The apostle Peter writes to the saints in 1 Peter 4:12, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” At no point, from the early church to our modern-day, have Christians even been in a place where persecution was not expected. Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” As believers, we should expect persecution to the same degree we expect the law of gravity to remain constant. Godliness leads to persecution. Too often, when persecution comes, Christians are completely beat down and cave under its weight because they were not prepared for it. God has never been shy in communicating that following Him demands hardship, and it demands sacrifice. Too many Christians think God is joking.
Be prepared for the hardships that will come your way. Be ready to stand firm in the faith when your world seems to come crashing down. Trust that we serve a Creator who will never leave us, and never forsake us. Remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:28, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Brothers and sisters, we serve a God that sits sovereignly on His throne. He is not shocked by the decisions made today in our country. Our God is bigger than the Supreme Court, and He is bigger than gay marriage. Entrust your souls to a faithful creator, and fight for holiness in the midst of a dark world. God Bless!